Dispute between UCU and MMU – Say No to Unsafe Working and Workload Intensification

The Covid19 pandemic has exposed the long-term problems in MMU management’s approach to the well-being and safety of its staff.  The same strategy underpins the senior management team’s refusal to negotiate with UCU to control the risks to staff of face to face teaching, and the University’s persistent refusal to agree a fair and consistent workload model which respects the professional expertise of its academic workforce.  Instead we are confronted with the risks on-campus of a potentially fatal disease, with inadequate safety systems, and with arbitrary and sudden intensification of workloads, which are driving many staff to the point of exhaustion.

Two years’ worth of negotiations on workloads were dropped by senior managers when the pandemic began, and those rights to consultation that UCU does have were simply ignored. Senior managers communicate decisions but do not engage in meaningful consultations to build a collaborative approach to change. Instead they have unilaterally imposed a wholesale revision of curriculum delivery to introduce ‘block teaching’, cuts in research time and support for staff PhD study, and a revision of PhD supervision which increases workloads, alongside a massive intensification of teaching and marking allocations.  We are expected to respond rapidly to these impositions but everything from timetables and workloads to risk assessments are delivered to us late, if at all, with particularly severe consequences for disabled staff, parents and those with caring responsibilities.  We have no guarantee that these changes will not be permanently imposed.

A branch general meeting voted strongly in favour of moving to a dispute should our clear and reasonable demands on workloads and face to face teaching not be met.  UCU negotiators have met with management and have engaged in two ACAS meetings. We have left management in no doubt about members’ anger, anxiety and distress.  We have reported the devastating effects on staff health and safety of workload stress as well as failures in the control of risks.  The branch has repeatedly proposed ways in which we could work together to resolve these issues, but so far, the University has rejected all compromise.

The MMU UCU Branch Committee has begun a consultative ballot to gather members’ views and is calling on all members to vote YES for strike action and YES for action short of a strike.
The ballot closes at 5pm on Thursday 3rd December.  

Contact details for branch officers 2020-21

Role Contact Department
Chair Lucy Burke l.burke@mmu.ac.uk/
Secretary Julie Wilkinson j.wilkinson@mmu.ac.uk/
English/Creative Writing
Vice Chair John Deeney j.deeney@mmu.ac.uk/
Art and Performance
Health and Safety Cathy Urquhart c.urquhart@mmu.ac.uk Business School
Casework Co-ordinator Helen List h.list@mmu.ac.uk English/Film
Treasurer Keith Crome k.crome@mmu.ac.uk Philosophy
Membership Secretary Olly Bones o.bones@mmu.ac.uk Psychology
Equalities Officer Linnie Blake l.blake@mmu.ac.uk English/Film
Environmental Officer Hannah Matthews h.matthews@mmu.ac.uk Environmental Science
Convenor Righton/Cav Kathryn Brownbridge k.brownbridge@mmu.ac.uk MFI
Convenor HPSC Margaret Struthers m.struthers@mmu.ac.uk HPSC Social Work
Convenor Education Pura Ariza p.ariza@mmu.ac.uk Education
Convenor Geoffrey M Michael Gorman & Huw Jones m.gorman@mmu.ac.uk & h.r.jones@mmu.ac.uk Art/English
Convenor Business Matthew Gobey & Kevin Albertson m.gobey@mmu.ac.uk & k.albertson@mmu.ac.uk Business
Convenor John Dalton Jon Borresen j.borresen@mmu.ac.uk Maths
Convenor New Arts Bldg John Deeney j.deeney@mmu.ac.uk
Convenor Law Maria Bryan m.bryan@mmu.ac.uk Law
Ordinary Member Daniel Joseph drdanieljoseph@gmail.com Sociiology
Convenor Art Simon Faulkner s.faulkner@mmu.ac.uk Art
Ordinary Member Brigitte Graf b.graf@mmu.ac.uk Health & Nutrition
REC SAT rep Patrick Williams p.williams@mmu.ac.uk Criminology

Branch meetings Academic Year 2019-20

MMU UCU Branch and Committee meetings 2019-2020: rooms from October tbc.  Branch meeting venues from October may change.  Look out for all-member emails advertising meeting venues and for any emergency additional meetings.

Tuesday 3 September 1-3pm G.07 SBB Local reps and committee meeting GTVO
Wednesday 11 September 1-2.30pm G.07 SBB Committee meeting
Wednesday 18 September 1 – 3pm 407B Business School North Atrium Branch meeting
Wed 16th Oct 1 – 2.30pm Committee meeting
Thursday 17th Oct 10am DEOC Meeting
Wed 27th Nov 1 – 3pm Birley Branch meeting
Wed 11 Dec 1 – 2.30pm Committee meeting
Wed 22ndJan 1 – 2.30pm Committee meeting
Wed 29thJan 1 – 3pm. Geoffrey Manton Branch meeting
12th Feb 2pm venue tbc DEOC meeting
Wed 26thFeb 1 –  2.30pm Committee meeting
Wed 11thMarch. 1 – 3pm Benzie Branch meeting
Wed 1stApril 1 – 2.30pm Committee meeting
AGM Wed 6th May 1 – 3pm John Dalton
Wed 13thMay 10am venue tbc DEOC meeting
Wed 20thMay First meeting of newly elected branch committee: date tbc
Wed 10thJune 1 – 3pm tbc Branch meeting

UCU MMU branch committee speaks out on Capita’s sponsorship of ‘Social Worker of the Year’ awards.

UCU MMU congratulates those finalists for the Social Worker of the Year Awards, including those shortlisted for the Social Work Student of the Year Award. However, we support the ethical position taken by Social Workers Without Borders, one of the judges Nick Berbiers, and others, to withdraw from the awards due to Capita’s involvement as a sponsor.
Capita has been criticised for their gruelling and distressing medical assessments for disability benefits, for their practices in carrying out deportations, including deporting Windrush citizens, and for using “excessive restraint” on detainees flown out of the country.
UCU MMU notes reports critical of Capita’s use of cruel and unethical methods in implementing deportations, including of members of the Windrush generation, and in their administration of social care. We call on Social Worker of the Year Awards to end their relationship with Capita and to implement an ethical framework for sponsorship in future years.

MMU UCU Branch Committee: 23/10/18


UCU’s national pay and equality ballot opened on 30 August 2018.  The ballot runs until 19 October.

Manchester Metropolitan UCU Branch Committee recommends that you vote YES to strike action and YES to action short of a strike (ASOS). Employers must meaningfully address the key elements of the dispute, including:

  • loss in the value of your pay,
  • shameful pay inequality,
  • the scandal of casualisation,
  • workload and stress.

If you have not received a ballot paper by Monday 10 September, please email your full details to our office immediately at ucu@mmu.ac.uk and we will do everything possible to ensure that you get a replacement paper.

Our ‘get the vote out’ campaign will be in touch via email, in person, on the phone, via email and social media and at your branch meetings (10 October Manchester and 11 October Crewe).  If you would like to volunteer to help please contact Branch Chair or Secretary at ucu@mmu.ac.uk.

Pay and equality matters – vote YES to strike action and vote YES to action short of a strike.

MMU UCU meeting dates 2018-19


Manchester Metropolitan University Branch:

Dates of meetings 2018-19 Venues tbc


Branch Meetings
Manchester Wed 10th Oct

2 – 3.30pm

Crewe Thurs. 11th Oct.

10 – 11.30am

Manchester Wed 5th Dec

2 – 3.30pm

Crewe Thurs. 6th Dec

10 – 11.30am

Manchester Wed 20th Feb

2 – 3.30pm

Crewe Thurs. 21st Feb

10 – 11.30am

Manchester Wed 1st May

2 – 3.30pm.

Crewe Thurs 2nd May

10 – 11.30am

Manchester AGM Wed 12th June

1 – 3pm

Crewe AGM Thurs 13th


10 – 12am


Branch Committee meetings
Wed Sept 12th 2pm – 4pm
Wed Nov 7th 2pm – 4pm
Wed Jan 23rd 2pm – 4pm
Wed March 13th 2pm – 4pm
Wed May 8th  2pm – 4pm
Wed June 19th 2pm – 4pm




Pensions dispute in pre-92 Universities

MMU UCU sends our support and solidarity to our colleagues on strike over threats to the USS pension scheme. Lots of our members also have USS pensions, although we are not striking because our employers operate the Teacher’s Pension Scheme instead. We urge Universities UK to negotiate to protect the value and security of pensions for all academic staff.

Picture:  Thursday February 22nd 2018:  UCU Vice President elect Vicky Knight visits University of Manchester picket lines.