Memorandum of Understanding

University of Edinburgh Joint Unions Liaison Committee

October 2008

1. Purpose

The overall purpose of the University’s Joint Unions Liaison Committee (JULC) is to facilitate joint working by the recognised Unions and to take forward partnership working between the recognised Unions and the University.

The JULC came into being in its current form in January 2005 principally to coordinate the work of the University’s recognised unions on implementation of the 2004 national agreement on the modernisation of pay structures (the “Framework Agreement” on “Pay Modernisation”).

It has subsequently taken a lead role on the Pensions Taskforce and in the new Standing Consultative Committee for Redundancy Avoidance (SCCRA) and, in accordance with the TUC Partnership Principles (annexe a), helped secure an ongoing commitment from both the University and the recognised unions to partnership working.

2. Composition

JULC draws its membership from the executives of the local branches of the recognised unions (currently UCU, UNISON and UNITE plus, for employees covered by the TUPE arrangement on the incorporation of the Roslin Institute into the University on 1 May 2008, PROSPECT). UCU, UNISON and UNITE each have three seats on JULC and PROSPECT two. In addition, membership of JULC includes a Convener and Secretary, both either elected from the representatives of the recognised unions or appointed by them from the wider membership of the unions.

The Convener and Secretary are accountable to the representatives of the recognised unions and through them to their local members. It is preferred that the Convenor and Secretary shall be members of different unions, though by unanimous decision of JULC they may be members of the same union. The terms of office for both Convenor and Secretary shall be one year from 1 August, subject to renewal for a period not exceeding five years except by agreement.

The roles of the Convenor and Secretary are as follows:

2.1. The Convenor Role

2.1.1 to convene a weekly meeting of JULC

2.1.2 to co-convene the Combined Joint Consultative and Negotiating Committee (CJCNC) and other committees and working groups as appropriate

2.1.3 to represent the views of JULC to the University and further afield as necessary

2.1.4 to elicit and receive information on matters of interest and/or concern to the joint unions and to report on them timeously to JULC

2.2. The Secretary Role

2.2.1 to co-convene JULC and substitute for the Convenor as required

2.2.2 to carry out specific tasks in relation to 2.1.2-3 above as agreed

2.2.3 to manage JULC’s financial resources and to account for these quarterly and annually

2.2.4 to be responsible for keeping such documentary records as required by JULC and to be the official correspondent

These roles are recognised by the University inter alia through a facility time agreement allowing, in 2008-2009, the Convenor one day per week and the Secretary half a day per week to carry out the roles.

3. Business

JULC will be represented as necessary by its Convenor and/or Secretary or such named leads on specific issues as may be agreed from time to time (e.g. Pensions, Equality & Diversity) as mandated or instructed by its membership.

3.1. Accountability

The Convenor, Secretary and named leads on specific issues are to attend and report to the committee and general meetings of the recognised unions by invitation and as required.

3.2. Conflict of Interest

JULC members and nominated representatives of JULC will avoid any conflict of interest, taking a strict interpretation of the University’s policy at www.humanresources.ed.ac.uk/policies/sams/Sam310.htm. For example, in practice this means avoiding acting as a representative on any panel handling an individual who is in one’s working area, or whom one has advised as an officer or caseworker.

3.3. Quorum

A quorate JULC for decisions requires one representative from each of the principal recognised unions and either the Convenor or Secretary.

3.4. Frequency of meetings

Pro tem, the committee shall meet weekly.

3.5. Resources

Hotdesk facilities shall be available in Union Offices to the Convenor and Secretary, as will meeting room provision. A restricted income and expenditure code shall be established to enable JULC to receive funds and meet expenses as necessary. All transactions shall be as approved by JULC and subject to the co-signatures of Convenor and Secretary. Quarterly statements of accounts and an annual report shall be provided by the Secretary.

3.6. Revision of this MoU

This MoU is subject to revision at any point at the request of any one of the recognised unions and will be reviewed by JULC biennially (review date is September 2011).

Annex A

Partnership means a grown-up relationship between bosses and workers 1

The TUC has six key principles that make up a meaningful partnership agreement:

  • First, a joint commitment to success of the enterprise.
  • Second, unions and employers recognising each other’s legitimate interests and resolving difference in an atmosphere of trust.
  • Third, a commitment to employment security.
  • Fourth, a focus on the quality of working life.
  • Fifth, transparency and sharing information.
  • Sixth, mutual gains for unions and employers, delivering concrete improvements to business performance, terms and conditions, and employee involvement.

[1] TUC http://www.tuc.org.uk/partnership/tuc-4130-f0.cfm

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Edinburgh University Joint Unions Liaison Committee

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