Representing members

UNISON represents our members at the University of Kent in a variety of ways. These include, but are not limited to:

Joint Staff Negotiating and Consultation Committee (JSNCC)

We have two reps from our Branch Committee attending these important meetings, ordinarily held at least once per term. In 2020 the JSNCC merged with the Staff Policy Committee and the frequency of meetings was stepped up considerably. Among the reasons for this have been the many demands presented by Organising for Success and Covid-19.

JSNCC is chaired alternately by the Director of HR and a trade union rep, currently Dr Owen Lyne of UCU. A variety of staff groups are represented and there are four non-union reps (who may or may not be members of a trade union).

The JSNCC is the main forum for consultation and negotiation between the University and its staff and its terms of reference include things like:

  • Current and future business plans and proposals
  • Proposed restructuring plans and any possible redundancy issues that arise from these
  • Proposed changes to policies and procedures which impact upon staff
    Proposed changes to local terms and conditions of employment
  • Hours of working and working patterns for groups of staff
  • Other matters of mutual interest

    More about JSNCC

Group consultations

Where groups of staff may be affected by, for example, a business plan, a restructure, or some other significant change it is usually the case that a group consultation is held. This may involve managers from one or more departments, HR, Estates, etc – depending on the type of issues involved. UNISON reps may attend meetings and any other events associated with the group consultation. Submitting written evidence on behalf of members, if for example they claim they will be adversely affected by a plan, falls within the scope of this too.

Representing individuals

It is sometimes the case that disciplinary issues arise in the workplace and where that is the case members are entitled to be accompanied, supported, and advised by a UNISON rep. The extent to which the rep becomes involved will depend on the needs of the member as well as other circumstances (not least availability of reps, who are expected to prioritise their ‘day jobs’).

If nothing else, the rep will ensure that the correct procedures are followed and that the member is treated fairly and with dignity throughout the process.

Reps sometimes become involved in the evidence-gathering process, will have sight of the documents prepared during any investigation, and may help the member to draft written report(s) of his or her own.

Regional/National representation

The Branch regularly sends reps to regional and/or national decision-making meetings, we also take part in ballots and other consultations from time to time. UNISON is one of the staff-side representatives on the body that jointly negotiates the pay scales adopted by the University.

Find out more: New JNCHES