WKC UCU represents the individual and collective interests of all members across the college’s sites. We agree all branch policies through branch meetings, which are open to respective branch members, and we then negotiate collectively on local issues with management though monthly JCNC meetings, or determine London-wide policies through Regional meetings attended by branch reps. In addition, we vote on and pursue industrial action when required, and engage in solidarity campaigning in support of national and international causes that reflect branch policy and the democratic wishes of the membership. As a union we act collectively on a national level where we can, but we also act locally when an individual college dispute cannot be remedied through consultative channels. Broadly speaking, our main activities and concerns as a union fall under the following categories:
In England the vast majority of colleges (including WKC) are members of the Association of Colleges (AoC), an employers’ organisation which negotiates with UCU and other recognised trade unions (UNISON, NEU, UNITE and GMB) in the National Joint Forum (NJF) to produce recommendations on pay and conditions for individual colleges to adopt.The current WKC pay scales (pending settlement of current ongoing claims) can be found at the following link: https://westkingucu.com/salary-scales/
Many key employment policies, such as those around disciplinary and grievance procedures, lesson observation and workload, are determined or implemented locally following consultations between WKC UCU negotiators and WKC management..
Conditions of Employment
Agreements and recommendations about the employment of staff are negotiated by UCU and employer bodies as part of national negotiations. These agreements are then monitored closely by WKC union reps to ensure they are being applied fully at the college. The WKC Lecturers’ Schedule outlines the working terms and conditions that are attached to our contracts of employment, and this can be found at the following link: https://westkingucu.com/lecturers-schedule/(opens in a new tab)
UCU puts equality at the heart of its activities on behalf of its members. At WKC we have a UCU Equality Officer, Farzana Zaman, who can assist you if you have any concerns on an equality-related issue. Farzana also sits as the UCU rep on the college’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and she can be approached to raise suggestions and issues of concern brought to her by individuals or by the branch.
All education institutions have a legal responsibility for the health, welfare and safety of their staff. The local UCU safety representative on your site should be your first port of call for any health or safety query or problem. Elected by the union locally, they have the knowledge, are able to access training with paid leave, get paid facility time and have direct access to the union’s officials and health and safety advice line. They are part of the local procedures agreed with your management, with statutory rights to deal with health and safety. The UCU Health & Safety Officer for Kings Cross is Baber Hafiz.
UCU believes that high quality education and fair working conditions depend on contracts that give staff stability and continuity of employment. Casualisation is bad for staff and bad for education, yet it’s been historically endemic at WKC. As a result of our successful pay and conditions strike of 2017/18, we won an important commitment that all HPLs with 3 years continuous service (with an average of 432 hrs per annum) would be fractionalised permanently. We continue to fight for this right to be extended to all casualised staff across the college.
We undertake individual casework when members require personal representation in cases that cannot be resolved through the normal collective bargaining channels. These cases may typically involve, among other things: grievances against managers over workplace bullying; a failure to follow agreed probationary or observation procedures; disputes over pay, working conditions and timetabling; disciplinary cases; redundancy consultations. If a member require casework support, they should approach a branch officer once they have attempted and failed to secure a remedy themselves. There is a casework email address that can be found on the Contact page of this site.
Covid-19 Safety for Staff & Students at WKC
UCU reps have been very active on The Covid-19 working group, which has taken on board many concerns raised by staff unions across the group. To emphasise our insistence on safe desk spacing, 300 UCU members attended branch meetings at WKC, CONEL and CIC and voted unanimously to withdraw from teaching face to face unless proper social distancing is maintained in the classrooms.
The CEO’s guidelines outline the need for a 1m+ mitigation model, ‘This will not be based on normal pre-Covid-19 class size. Each teaching space should be laid out based on a 1m+ mitigation model.’
UCU involvement has also lead to significant improvement in plans for the use of PPE, cleaning and the wearing of face coverings. The college has now agreed to adopt a much more pro-active stance in promoting the use of face coverings for all staff and students.
UCU is proud to be involved in the work of the Black Lives Matter group in the college. We urge all members to support the initiatives and activities of the BLM movement, both locally and nationally. The two BLM reps in the college are Wendy Yarde and Lorraine Neil. Please contact them for further information of forthcoming events and meetings