20 October 2021

ULA Bulletin

Dear Member

Now that we have started the new academic year, I wanted to write to you to update you on what is going on in the sector in key areas that affect you and to let you know about the consultative ballot on pay which will open tomorrow (Thursday 21st September) and run to the 3rd November, for all of our members in Institutions covered by New JNCHES (i.e. all except SRUC, UHI and RCS).

Covid-19

Covid-19 remains a major concern. Numbers in society at large are high, and that is reflected in the university population.

All members are recommended to take regular Lateral Flow Tests and to self-isolate if you (or a member of your household) have symptoms, then book a PCR test. You can find out how to do this here.

The latest Scottish Government guidance for HE can be found here.

Ventilation remains a key means of mitigation for this aerosol spreading virus. It is your employer’s duty to provide a safe and ventilated working/teaching/research space. Please check and ask for a CO2monitor readings if the space is not mechanically ventilated.

If you have wider concerns, then you should request in writing for a full risk assessment of your individual workspaces. We know some buildings and spaces are particularly hard to ventilate, especially in some older campus buildings.

We have been in regular consultation with the Scottish Government to try to improve ventilation. You can find the latest on ventilation guidelines here.

Guidance for Libraries and Labs are here.

The rule of thumb is, if in doubt, contact the union. You can talk to your local branch, or send your concerns direct to me dshepherd@eis.org.uk  and we’ll do our best to help you.

2021-22 Pay Offer & Forthcoming Consultative Ballot

The ULA Executive has engaged in the dispute resolution process within the New JNCHES bargaining framework, following our consultative ballot on rejection of the original 21/22 offer. Unfortunately, there has been no movement from the Employers (as represented by UCEA) side, and the pay offer remains the same as it was at the start of the dispute process.

Negotiators’ pleas for pay to keep up with inflation, and for the Scottish sub-committee of New JNCHES to be formed have, once again, been rejected by the Employers.

As a result, the ULA is seeking your view through a consultative ballot as to whether the EIS should initiate a statutory ballot for industrial action both in the form of strike action and action short of a strike in pursuit of an improved pay offer. 

The EIS-ULA Executive Committee is recommending that you vote "Yes" to both types of action in pursuit of an improved pay offer. You should receive your electronic ballot paper today. If you do not receive our ballot, please email ballot@eis.org.uk

The EIS is disappointed to once again be in dispute with the Employers and it will use all resources to seek a resolution to the dispute as soon as possible. We need your votes to do so, a high turnout in our ballot sends a clear message to the Employers.

Voting Yes to Strike Action and Action Short of Strike will put pressure on UCEA to come back to the table with a better offer. We need you to talk to your colleagues about the dispute and to make your views on the offer known by voting Yes to Strike Action and Yes to Action Short of Strike Action.

You can access the pay offer here.

Keep your eye on the EIS website in the coming days, for downloadable materials related to the ballot.

Also, look out for an email asking you to confirm and update your contact details. This is important so we have up to date information for balloting purposes. You can log in to the website to do this, and it takes just a couple of minutes.

SRUC Dispute

Your colleagues at SRUC have been engaged in industrial action over recent weeks in a dispute on ‘Pay & Grading’ that seeks to align SRUC Pay and Job Families with the rest of the HE sector. Strike action commenced on 30th September and continuous Industrial Action Short of a Strike (ASOS) is also being undertaken.

SRUC has the lowest paid academics in Scotland and they’re fighting for university sector norm pay as well as a new grading structure.

You can help by sharing information about the dispute on social media and by letting your colleagues know what is happening. You can find all the details about the SRUC Dispute here.

Colleagues at SRUC need your support and to see that the wider academic world supports their cause.  Use the hashtag, share the content, take action to support them!

Eileen Cook

Eileen Cook, a long serving EIS-ULA Representative, based at SRUC has passed away. Eileen worked tirelessly for members in the sector, right to the end of her life and despite her illness, helping countless colleagues and championing equality.

The EIS is grateful for her years of service, as are SRUC members and we offer our condolences to her family, friends and colleagues at this sad time. She leaves a legacy of having stood up to make a difference to the lives of others, and for that she will be remembered.

Finally, if you have any questions or issues, please contact your local branch or email me at dshepherd@eis.org.uk

Deborah Shepherd
National Officer for Higher Education





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