Local Hardship Fund

Newcastle UCU Local Hardship Fund: Policies and Procedures

For the upcoming USS dispute, the Newcastle University UCU branch has created a local hardship fund specifically aimed at assisting hourly paid / casual staff losing income due to strike action.

This document sets out the policies and procedures that will be implemented for claiming money from the hardship fund.

  1. Anyone claiming assistance through the hardship fund must be a member of the UCU.
  2. Anyone claiming assistance through the hardship fund must have taken strike action.
  3. Anyone claiming assistance through the hardship fund must not have claimed from the national fund for the same period (i.e. ‘double claiming’ for the lost of earnings).
  4. All payments will be made by cheque or BACS. This is a condition of our bank and cannot be changed by the branch – Cash cannot be issued.
  5. All claims will be assessed by a hardship fund committee to ensure compliance with national guidelines.

We recognise that members will require monies paid into their accounts as close as possible to regular pay dates in order to prevent financial distress. Therefore, the following procedures have been implemented to make this as easy as possible:

  1. Evidence of loss of earnings

We cannot expect hourly paid staff to wait until their payslips show a deduction of earnings, as this will delay payment unnecessarily. Therefore, we propose the following:

  • A day will be organised in advance of the regular payment date in March (30/03) during which non-permanent staff can attend the UCU office and submit their claims to the hardship fund committee. If approved, a cheque will be issued on this day.
  • This will then be implemented for the payment date in April.
  • Evidence can include: A signed letter by a UCU Rep in your School, Department, or Faculty confirming that you did not work on the strike day; A copy of your contract, timetable or letter of appointment.
  1. Loss of all earnings in one day

As hourly-paid staff, it is common that an entire teaching load – _and therefore all earnings – _occur in a single day. The hardship fund states that claims can be made for up to £50 per day of strike action, to a maximum of £500 across the strike.

£50 per day will not represent only the days that you teach, but the days in which the strike occurs.

Therefore, if you lose £150 for all classes taught on a Friday, and this represents 100% of your anticipated income, this will be disaggregated over 3 days of strike action based on the hardship being claimed.

 3.  Variations in contract type

A clear problem that has arisen throughout our anti-casualisation campaign is that there are multiple types of contract being utilised across the university. If you feel that your contract is not covered in the policies and procedures outlined above, please email nuanticas@gmail.com with your query.

  1. National Fund

If your loss of earnings will not lead to personal hardship (e.g. you have savings, other earnings, a partner in work, etc), please utilise the national UCU strike pay facility (see https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/9164/USS-dispute-Support-for-members-taking-industrial-action/pdf/ucu_ussdispute_fightingfund1.pdf). This will allow the local hardship fund to prioritise those with most need for urgent payment.

The branch might ask (retrospectively and only if necessary) for documents that enable the hardship committee to properly quantify the losses incurred by staff. This will be communicated in writing at a date following the conclusion of action.

Newcastle UCU will seek to recoup hardship money if it is discovered to have been claimed untruthfully.

To join our anti-casualisation mailing list and campaign, please email nuanticas@gmail.com