The ICE negotiations didn’t go quite the way we’d hoped…

We’re posting this to update you on what’s been happening in the ICE negotiations, which have now ended, and to ask for your support in the next step!

Nearly two years ago the IWGB submitted a request to the University of London for an Information and Consultation (ICE) Forum, based on the ICE Regulations 2004.  We did this because many people were dissatisfied with the current arrangements, in which only UCU and UNISON are formally consulted on behalf of all staff.

The University responded by agreeing with UNISON and UCU that only their reps would have a hand in designing the new forum.  The IWGB argued that deal was unlawful.  We won the argument in court, twice.

Following the tribunal decision, the University held proper elections.  Grades 1-6 elected two IWGB reps.  Grades 7-10 elected two UCU reps and one UNISON rep.  The reps’ role was to negotiate an agreement whereby the University would inform and consult staff in compliance with the legislation.

Rebecca and I negotiated in good faith.  To seek common ground, we suggested that a reformed union recognition agreement, in which all three unions would be represented, could work.  We all made a number of positive suggestions for how it might function.

As UNISON, UCU and the UoL weren’t keen on IWGB recognition, we made a second proposal: to create a new ICE Forum constituted on the employee side entirely by elected staff reps.

However, at the final meeting last week we were asked to vote on a joint UNISON/UCU/UoL proposal, written up by Kim Frost.  The proposal was to reform the recognition agreement along the lines of our suggestions BUT to exclude the IWGB entirely.  Because UNISON/UCU have 3 reps and IWGB only have 2, the proposal passed by a 3-2 majority.

We believe that a proposal that excludes level 1-6 staff’s chosen union is divisive, unjust and counterproductive to good workplace relations.  The good news is that the proposal was not passed unanimously, so you now have the power to overturn it.

We are therefore asking for your support for a NO vote in the coming referendum (which opens 17 October and closes 28 October), which will enable us to return to the negotiating table and work out a solution that is fair to ALL staff at the University of London.

Please do let us know any thoughts or feedback you may have (uol@iwgb.org.uk)

Mark Murphy and Rebecca Dooley (Levels 1-6 Negotiating Reps)