Thank you so much to all of you who responded to our request for further information to help us with the negotiations to get ‘sessionals’ and other mostly hourly paid teaching staff incorporated in the new framework. This message is about our pay claim for hourly paid lecturers and about the payment of expenses and payment for marking.
Since we last reported to you over the summer, the pace of negotiations has picked up considerably, with a series of fortnightly meetings between College management and Birkbeck UCU that have made progress towards a settlement. Though there remain significant hurdles we are able to report the following developments:
Most staff are in the process of being mapped to national and locally agreed grade structures. The Matching Letters are in the process of being sent out by HR, notifying you of where you have been mapped onto the grade in comparison to full time colleagues.
If you have not heard by the end of October, please tell us. You have the right to appeal if you feel that you have not been mapped to the appropriate grade and we encourage you to exercise your right of appeal in this case. Tell us if you would like support for an appeal.
The thorny issue of multipliers (the calculation of how many hours preparation you put in in addition to contact hours) is still under negotiation. Birkbeck UCU and the College have agreed to set up focus group panels with full time and sessional colleagues in each school who will meet to come up with realistic assessments of the time spent on preparation and other related tasks.
It is hoped that this will be done by the end of October. You may be approached to sit on such a panel. We would strongly recommend that you agree to do this as your input should help to achieve a significant improvement in wages, terms and conditions. Though the panels’ conclusions will be non-binding on both sides they will hopefully form the basis of a settlement of one of the biggest obstacles we have faced thus far.
Since the summer there has been a change in our negotiating team. We have lost the services of James Brown, who has left the college. James has been an unstinting part of the negotiations since they started and we shall greatly miss his negotiating skills. We have been joined by three new colleagues, Simon Berhman, Clem Marques Cardoso and Simon Hewitt.
As you know, Birkbeck UCU has been pressing hard on a claim for an interim pay increase for sessional staff. Significant progress includes interim pay increases for low paid staff:
• a 5% total increase to those Role B staff on rates under £38.21 per hour to include new staff and those teaching non-credit bearing modules
• a 1.4% rate increase for those on £39.57 ph (to bring them in line with those on £38.21 per hour getting the 5% increase) and
• a £75 gross one-off payment to all Teaching Assistants on rates under £38.21 ph.
These will be paid immediately, whilst negotiations on other elements arising from the assimilation process continue.
There remains much to be achieved and though there are reasons to be hopeful, there are still big problems to be overcome. We need the support of all sessional lecturers for this and we would urge all colleagues who have not already done so, to join UCU now.
We will need to continue to put pressure on the college to honour its commitment to a better future for part time teaching staff. We need you to continue to tell us directly if you notice any deterioration in your contracts, terms and conditions in the interim between now and the final settlement.
If you would like to notify us of changes in conditions, or if you have query or comment on the negotiations, please do not hesitate to contact us directly at: www.bbk.ac.uk/ucu/campaigns/SLHP
Please check the Hourly Paid/ Sessional Lecturer pages of the UCU website for more information on UCU's progress on the Framework Negotiations - see www.bbk.ac.uk/ucu/campaigns/SLHP
UCU FNG team
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