May Branch News: Support for international colleagues, lecture capture and more

Come to our AGM, Thursday 8 June, 1pm (Council Room, Firth Court) and keep an eye out for our printed bulletin, to appear soon.

May Branch News

Our Deputy Vice Chancellor departs, we focus on the difficulties facing international staff, and lecture capture is prominent in members’ concerns.

With the deputy Vice Chancellor, Shearer West, having announced her departure, we asked the university what this means for the Strategy Delivery Group and the reviews for which she had oversight. We are told that a direct replacement is being sought, and that temporary arrangements for covering any gap are being discussed. In particular, there isn’t expected to be any change to the scope or schedule of the SDG’s activity. The first of the reviews springing from the SDG are starting to bite, and we will do our best to ensure that the procedures that we negotiated will be followed and that staff get properly supported.

The university recently announced that it will reimburse the cost of residency cards backdated to 23 June last year and will offer legal support on immigration matters for EU staff. While we are pleased of the help for those who find themselves in an uncertain position due to last year’s referendum, we think there is more that can be done, especially in light of rocketing charges for initial visas (including the new hard-to-defend ‘NHS surcharge’ and its proposed hike), as well as for the Indefinite Leave to Remain for non-EU international staff. Here ( is a short version of our discussion document outlining what we’d consider to be gold-standard help for international staff, both EU and non-EU. We hope that the university will support our suggestions which we think align perfectly with its welcome #weareinternational campaign. In addition, if you are a member of our international staff, please remember that UCU offer free legal advice for immigration matters (see below).

We have continued to discuss lecture capture with the university, who are set to roll the system out on an ‘opt-out’ basis in September. While our members have brought up a number of concerns, we were reassured to see guidance which stated that staff will retain all performance rights for their recordings, and that recordings cannot be used for performance management reasons without the lecturer’s permission. We will endeavour to keep all members informed as this guidance firms up.
Thanks to all who took part in our consultation on the recent pay offer. We have fed all feedback in to Head Office, and the relevant national committees will be making decisions on the next steps soon. It seemed clear that our members viewed the recent award as dismal, and were supportive of a formal ballot in the autumn. After years of below inflation pay increases, it is hard to see how this year’s award can be thought of as fair or acceptable.Finally, we sent four delegates to UCU’s annual congress to vote on behalf of Sheffield members on a range of motions. A report will follow in due course, but for now you can see what happened on our Twitter account (

Sheffield UCU Committee

Legal Advice for International Staff 

Our union has partnered with Bindmans immigration law experts to provide advice to both EEA and non-EEA nationals, including partners and dependents of members. The union has also waived the three months waiting period for new members in gaining advice for the legal scheme. The FAQs on UCU’s website contains information on how members can get personalised advice. ( &

Interesting Reading

Dates for the diary

AGM Thurs 8th June 1-2, Council Room, Firth Court.

Action Group Wed 21 June 1-2 (theme tbc)