CUCU branch motion on COVID-19

This motion was passed at our branch meeting on Monday 9 March, we’ll be contacting members via a branch email in the next few days to gather feedback on your specific concerns about issues you or colleagues are facing in relation to University policy and practice on this question.

Motion on COVID-19

This branch notes:

  1.     In response to coronavirus COVID-19, the University of Cambridge has issued the following guidance to staff who are self-isolating:
    • If you have developed symptoms of the virus, your absence will be treated as sick leave and the University’s standard sickness absence reporting procedure will apply. Please see the University’s Sickness Absence Policy for further details. 
    • Where you are in self-isolation but have not developed symptoms of the virus, you should speak with your line manager to see if it is practicable for you to work from home during this period. Please see the University’s guidance on Working from Home for further details. Given the temporary nature of the home-working arrangements, you will not be required to make a formal flexible working request via the FLEXAF form. However, you should complete the Working from Home (‘teleworking’) Form PD/WFH and risk assessment. This may be done remotely in the circumstances. 
    •  If your line manager agrees that it is not practicable for you to work from home then your absence will be treated as paid leave by reason of self-isolation for coronavirus.
  2.  The University also issues guidance to staff who are required to care for a dependant who has contracted the virus.
  3.   That people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) are more likely to become severely ill with the virus.
  4.   The current strike action has highlighted the extent of casualisation within the University, and the University’s failure to stand up for its migrant staff and students in the face of the Home Office’s hostile environment policies.
  5.   There has been an alarming rise in racist abuse and attacks on East Asian people, including university students and staff, since the outbreak of COVID-19, including in Cambridge

This branch believes:

  1. Unless employers ensure that there is no detriment for all members of staff, regardless of contract type or visa conditions, those who are less financially secure will be discouraged from self-reporting or self-isolating.
  2.     A public health emergency such as this further exposes the scandal of casualisation.
  3.     With our strike action, we do not seek to achieve only fair pension, pay and conditions. We also seek to create a university where staff and students are given equal opportunities and treated equally, and contribute to a society in which racism is stamped out forever. 

This branch resolves:

  1.   To demand that the University of Cambridge and the colleges ensure that there is no detriment, e.g. in terms of lost pay, to any member of staff as a result of virus-related closures, cancellations, or isolation.
  2.   To demand that this applies to all staff, regardless of contract type or visa status.
  3.   To demand that staff who are at especially high-risk of contracting the virus (for example because of underlying health conditions) suffer no detriment for taking extra precautions.
  4.   To condemn in the strongest possible terms the ways in which COVID-19 pandemic is being used to victimise the Asian community in this country and to stand in solidarity with all staff and academics facing escalating racial discrimination.