ICE Forum report
20 March 2018
Wolfson 1, IHR
Introduction and apologies
Present representing University management:
Mark Newton, MD of CoSector
Mark Harrison, head of inclusion
Ghaz Alwani-Starr, director of Properties and Facilities Management (P&FM)
Reps’ Apologies: Marty (SAS), Lewis (HEE) and Angela (Finance)
(Jelony dialled in on phone)
Minutes from last meeting
No comments on the minutes.
- Dignity at Work: in November 2017 policy was undertaken to be revised by April 2018, the working group was composed of MH, HR, UCU and Unison reps
- All new policy regarding harassment
- New policy regarding discipline
- New policy on student policy with regard to harassment
- A new relationship code of conduct for staff
Feedback (mostly positive, changed pronouns, extended it to HEE and CoSector) from individuals, UCU and Unison, SAS student reps and the committee fed in and policy was updated, so now awaiting final approval
student guidance will take longer for approval
DM: raised question of outsourced staff, asking if contractors will have to comply
GA-S: Yes, contractors have to adhere to the policies
TH: People need to understand that the University is going to apply this policy to past/historic situations and that needs to be communicated.
MH: Once the policies are signed off, that will be included
DM: raised question of how Stop messages work, pointing out the ambiguity in the policy and that messages can cause more difficulty in place of going straight to HR
MH: the policy is an informal route than can be taken by anyone, does not rely on Stop messages being done first; senior managers can be volunteered as dignity and respect representatives (as well as other levels), creating a number of routes for staff to decide
Joseph: Can it be shared with non-UoL employers who manage UoL staff?
DM: raised issue of grades and holiday leave as based on the HR-provided figures showing that gender and ethnicity are factors
MH: gaps have been identified and are indicative of this, just as with the Gender pay Gap; University recognises it is unacceptable and actions are being taken, see the Annual Report on the intranet. (It is monitored by senior management and an oversight committee)
TH: This is a historic request from unions: where can historic requests from unions be taken?
CM: staff do find it unjust and it is important issue to raise.
Thirteen complaints have been received, mostly from staff outside of the UK
The main worry was about the use of personal devices
Emergency overrides can be requested
Phones are available for use by those not wanting to use their own devices or who do not have their phones – available through the Service Desk
EW: The University’s handling of the launch was not great
CR: Vacancies will remain open but HR will accept expressions of interest
TH: These vacancies need to be explained more on the Intranet to make them known
EW: there has been an expression of interest from one person in VC/HR area
CR: this is not something the University has control over
Joseph: Asked about switching contracts when employees are promoted (from UoL onto agenda for change)
EW: read from her email sent 26 January 2018, asking not to use union tags, saying that ICE reps are individuals not union reps; these are not campaigning roles and are representing roles; representatives cannot carry out their role as they see fit; the University is not trying to limit ICE reps’ roles and are allowed to disagree when they see too much mention of unions
DM: disagrees, refers to his own email; the main issues concern what ICE representatives can do, also that staff cannot be intimidated; asked if senior managers can be advised of that. Also asked if the HR-provided mailing lists can be used by reps
CM: Questions how reps can’t carry out their roles as they see fit: there is nothing on this in the Regulations; the issue of confidentiality is only applied in certain cases. Important that staff know who to give feedback to and for staff to be kept informed; email restrictions can limit one’s role
EW: There is no preventing communicating
EM: disagree, inability to use HR-provided mailing list in all departments
TH: These are big issues, as he would like to share UCU links on pensions, as UCU has done so much work on the subject, so he is limited
MM: There was an opportunity to apply these restrictions when ICE was being formed and the University chose not to do so, so now that the restrictions are being attempted, they cannot be enforced as the time is past when they would have been agreed
JL: Agree with TH, can an accessible location for information be made?
CM: How can this be resolved? Senior managers should bring these issues up to the University for discussion in the forum not directly to representatives.
DM: There has been an example of a senior manager taking issue directly with ICE representatives.
CR: That should not be discussed here.
EW: She will talk to Simon Cain.
TH: What are the distribution lists for? Can they be used?
NO ANSWER AT THIS TIME
GA-S: the finished staff surveys narrowed down to two options, decision postponed until May so Board of Trustees can ‘see full picture’ (postponed form March)
DM: This was a missed opportunity for the University; all workers should be brought In house for reputational reasons and there will now be more strikes in April
EW: these are huge issues, FM Steering group needs time
GA-S: the steer from the Board of Trustees meant things were limited by the bottom line
TH: He was surprised the meeting was deferred due to ‘industrial action’, restated that UCU wants everyone back in house
MM: Urgency felt now is based on the issue not being engaged with for more than a year, i.e. the University didn’t prioritise it and deferring the meeting gives the impression the University still doesn’t prioritise it
GA-S: She dealt with it as soon as she could, University doing its best, ‘we’ll continue to do the work’. Also stated that the Board of Trustees has insisted that any changes made to contracts must have no impact on the University’s bottom line.
EW: work being done now, University is committed to carrying out the work
DM: It must be resolved soon because contracts are falling apart
GA-S: process is ongoing, report being distributed
DM: employees are being diagnosed with asbestos-related damage
CR: contact HR with any concerns for testing
Mark Newton: staff meetings have resumed every 6 to 7 weeks, the newsletter has been changed, feedback has been positive; CoSector has ‘turned the corner’ financially, ‘good performance’, reduce deficit to £340k and Q1 2018 will show a small surplus, making CoSector a net contributor; this has been done by increasing prices and making some reductions
Colin: internal staff inductions and communicating role changes needs to improve; more information about people needs to circulate
UOLIA Review of QSG
Craig O’Callaghan: recommendation were accepted by staff (of reviewed teams); all changes are complete; a review of job descriptions is the next task; investment in global engagement will be reviewed after two years; the review of marketing was considered but deemed unnecessary, so no staff changes but more participation from senior staff
RD: As part of former QSG, the review was very stressful and communication was poor during the review; there was no staff support (which needs to be considered in future reviews); detrimental impact on staff attitudes toward the University
CO: the process agreed with HR was based on one individual and led to a hiatus in communicating with staff; engagement of staff was exemplary, strengthened UOLIA going forward; he was impressed by engagement
TH: now that the review is finished, it’s okay but during the review, it was stressful, lessons have been learned but it should have been handled better
RD: once in consultation, it improved but communications would have made the whole process better
- Pensions: Elaine said it was a dispute between UUK and UCU, enough said
- TH: it’s about knowing where boundaries are, USS sent an email out yesterday via HR and messages on the intranet represented UUK and USS but there needs to be a balanced view (HR has the power to send to the whole university, Tim is more limited)
BK: 20 February intranet post on actions short of strike were misleading and intimidating
TH: asked HR about it
HR: could not change
CM: HR needed to do better with regard to the strike. UCL for example was clear on policy for staff not crossing picket lines. When staff here asked for clarification, UoL HR director refused to clarify. This is disrespectful of staff and unnecessary.
- CoSector pensions: the details are all unclear but Tara will deal with the changing plans
- Business World:
Lindsay: there has been a misconnect and no communications
CR: read latest from HR that it is still not ready
Elaine: due to staffing issues and underestimation of complexity
Next meeting is Wednesday 25 July at 2pm and may be scheduled for 2 hours.