Issues of equality are a key part of UCU work and agendas and there are trained Equalities reps across UAL UCU college branches.

CSM: Race Equalities Rep, Rahul Patel rahul.patel@arts.c.uk
CCW: Equalities Rep: Fernando Rihl, f.rihl@chelsea.arts.ac.uk
LCC: Equalities Rep, Tony Snow a.snow@lcc.arts.ac.uk
LCF: vacancy

Stop the Attack on Modern Languages at UAL!

Modified graffiti image, 'we speak english' and several other languages
UAL Senior Management has decided to axe the university’s Modern Languages teaching. This proposal will result in 11 redundancies and deprive both staff and students of an essential resource. Furthermore the staff are one of the few ethnically diverse teaching departments at UAL. Selecting migrant and ‘BAME’ academics for redundancy in a sea of whiteness directly contradicts UAL’s much questioned racial justice and decolonising commitments. Many of those now threatened with redundancy discovered their fate by recorded announcement, and all were denied Trade Union representation in the early stages of the so called ‘consultation’. (A prime example of how HR at UAL ‘refresh’ policies to exclude trade unions, i.e. support for staff affected by those policies).

The reasons cited by senior management for the closure of Modern Languages are not cost— the department in fact generates a surplus— but that it is not ‘ scalable’. In other words it doesn’t and can’t make enough profit to be worthwhile. By some bizarre logic, senior management argue that their decision fits with the university ‘new’ social purpose strategy. We argue that multilingual education is fundamental to the struggle for equality: ignorance of and around language is used as a weapon for sowing division, from everyday racism to geopolitical conflict. Even the university’s own Internationalisation at Home working group were recently advised that UAL needed MORE Modern Languages provision not less.

Join us in calling on UAL’s Executive Board to reverse this act of social and cultural vandalism, here.

IWD 2022: UCU-UAL launch Maternity Leave and Pay Policy Open Letter! Sign here!

Poster credit: See Red Women’s Workshop

We are launching this Open Letter on International Women’s Day 2022, a day intended to celebrate women’s* achievements, and to coincide with the period of the UCU #FourFights strike action by 63 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) including University of the Arts London, UAL. However, we are using this occasion to highlight how women and pregnant people employed by one of the most prestigious arts universities in the world – UAL – are suffering from a Maternity Leave/Pay policy** which is objectively one of the worst in the Higher Education (HE) Sector.

UAL boasts that its gender pay gap is one of the lowest in the HE sector. According to 2020 figures, UAL’s median gender pay gap was 7.0% compared to the HE Sector’s median gender pay gap of 13.0%. UAL is proud to have a majority women workforce with 59.8% of UAL’s staff identifying as female. Yet despite these proud declarations, UAL’s parental leave & pay policies are significantly worse than many London and UK HEIs.

UAL UCU alongside sister unions GMB and Unison, have raised this issue many times with the university. A joint TU letter from March 2020 highlighted how drastically short UAL falls in comparison to other UK and London HEIs (see table below). Whilst comparable universities such as RCA (Royal College of Art) and London Met offer 26 weeks full pay, London Southbank University offers 20 weeks full pay, University of East London offers 18 weeks full pay – UAL offers only 4 weeks full-pay to its salaried staff as maternity pay, followed by 2 weeks at 90%, 12 weeks at half-pay. Where the same universities (apart from London Southbank University) offer either 4 or 2 weeks full pay as Paternity or Partner Leave, UAL offers just 1 week Paternity/Partner Leave. Despite this letter and many requests for the policy to be urgently reviewed since, UAL have refused to consider reviewing and improving its parental policies. With UAL achieving financial growth and stability despite the challenges of Covid-19 (income of £344.8 million, operating surplus of £10.5 million in 2021), this shocking provision compared to similar universities is confounding: it must change!

Furthermore, UAL UCU has become aware of further alarming details regarding the policy and practice of parental pay and leave for Hourly-Paid Lecturers. UAL relies heavily on hourly-paid lecturers, with over 3000 Associate Lecturers employed by the university according to the 2021 Annual Report. Casualisation is one of the #FourFights which UAL UCU members recently voted to a large majority to take strike action over. Part-time staff as well as fixed-term staff, often working under extremely precarious conditions for many years, unable to rely on job security from one year or term to the next, should be protected by law under the The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 & The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002. This means that part-time and/or fixed-term workers are protected in law from being treated less favourably than equivalent full-time and/or permanent workers. However, UAL UCU have uncovered that there are a number of discrepancies in the policies (a direct comparison between “Maternity Leave & Pay Policy – salaried staff” and “Maternity Leave Policy (Hourly-paid Academic Staff)”).

Read more and sign the letter here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/int-womens-day-2022-open-letter-to-ual-on-maternity-leavepay-policy/