UNISON HE Conference: Branch report

UNISON HE Conference – 02 February 2023

This year’s Higher Education Conference took place in the Crowne Plaza in Newcastle, so thankfully our delegation didn’t have to worry about travel.

The agenda was packed quite tight with 12 motions and lunch time meetings packed into just one day. Thankfully, only Motion 3 has generated a heated debate, with speakers against it having to wait in a line. Motion 3 was rejected and Motion 4 fell due to lack of a presenting delegate. The rest was carried, including our Branch’s one asking UNISON to give more attention to our industry group, presented by the Branch Secretary, Kris Whitehead.

The list of motions is listed below – if you’d like more details, please contact our branch. Follow us on Twitter for live tweets from future conferences and events.

During lunch time, Kris and the Branch Chair, Joanna Hebda, met with Matt Western MP, the Labour Shadow Minister for Education to discuss our members’ struggles and concerns regarding pay, increasing workloads, staff turnover rates, etc. Mr Western has also given a speech at the conference, details of which you can find here.

Overall, it was an action-packed event and a busy day full of productive and interesting discussions around the current state of Higher Education. In the conclusion of the event, we have shown solidarity with University of East Anglia, which is facing redundancies.

Conference motions:

  1. One-off Payment for University Staff
  2. National Freedom of Information Requests to Strengthen Our Campaigns
  3. Aggregate the Ballot (rejected)
  4. Higher Education, work/life balance, and the Right to Disconnect (fell)
  5. Securing the legacy of the year of disabled workers in Higher Education workplaces
  6. Make the Real Living Wage the Minimum for Requirements for Pay Agreements
  7. Higher Education Pay 2023-4
  8. Higher Education Role Analysis (HERA)
  9. Promote UNISON as the union for Higher Education Professional Support Staff
  10. Conversion therapy – spread the word
  11. Trial the 4-day work week
  12. Campaigning for Proper Funding for Higher Education as a Public Service

Joanna Hebda, Branch Chair and LGBT+ Officer