What we asked for
In our blog on Friday (go here to read it again) we pointed out the four substantive areas we sought progress on from the ACAS talks. Below are the fourteen points that were presented to the University’s management at talks on Thursday 4 February. These were considered for five minutes by the University management before being rejected. This ‘impasse’ was then represented to all staff that evening in a letter from the VC using words that appeared nowhere in these fourteen points.
Below is a copy of the position we put to the university at ACAS. It is both clear and reasonable and clearly does not ask, as has since been suggested, for a guarantee that they will never ever make a compulsory redundancy. It does propose that we work together to avoid them.
Proposal to University side at Acas talks on 4th February 2010
Without prejudice, under the heading of the Acas talks
The following require immediate resolution.
1. Faculty of Biological Sciences (FBS) Job Descriptions (JDs) and Job Matching process is unacceptable.
2. UCU are not convinced that the FBS academic plan is sound or achievable as written.
3. UCU are not convinced that the JDs as presented are acceptable to our members in FBS and should not stand. The current JDs should not be used.
4. UCU are not convinced that the teaching needs within the faculty can be achieved with the current plan.
5. Student:Staff Ratio (SSR) within the FBS plan is unacceptably high, being above that of the highest average SSR in any Russell Group University.
6. UCU does not accept compulsory redundancies on the basis of the above and in particular the loss of 20.3 equivalent Full Time Equivalent (FTE) equivalents.
7. We still do not have clarity about the financial plan which is used to justify the job cuts required by the FBS plan.
8. In order for agreement to be reached, (a) we need progress on points 1 to 7 and (b) the university needs to provide interim funding arrangements to finance e.g. Increase the number of roles within FBS, in particular to address teaching needs; redeploy within the Faculty or University those displaced staff who have genuinely been unable to secure a role through a fair, equitable and transparent process, also offer a further Enhanced MIS/PRT (Mobility Incentive/Premature Retirement) scheme up to the maximum allowable under USS.
The following require resolution this term
9. Establishment of the Employment Security Review Group (ESRG) including its terms of reference and dispute resolution procedure and organisational change policy (as it applies to the university and Faculties, as opposed to Schools and smaller units.)
10. A review of all current reviews to be carried out under the auspices of ESRG
11. ESRG to ensure that all statutory obligations of the university under employment law are consistent with proposals to be made to senate and council (Equality Impact Assessment, Consultation, mitigation of redundancy, Voluntary Severance Scheme)
12 All outcomes of the Economies Exercise to go to ESRG, prior to Senate and then Council.
13. Agreement on communications – to agree a strategy on joint communications throughout the university.
14. A modus operandi on issues of governance, collegiality and academic freedom.