Preparing for strike action
UCU members have been expressing a sense of vindication following last week’s announcements that the University will return to the ACAS table (today), and that Lord Mandelson has asked the University to put its review processes on hold.
We need to maintain a cautious reserve, and a determined preparation for strike action, for the following reasons.
The University referred to the petition to the visitor by a member of staff in FBS (pursuing a perfectly legitimate appeals process) as ‘wholly misconceived‘, and responding publicly upon receipt of the request from the visitor by stating (here) that “the economies exercise is still at a very early stage and we are some months away from formulating any ‘proposals’ which might be implemented”. This would indicate that the University may believe it acceptable to reserve the right to continue with all review processes.
Certainly, the VC made it plain that he would return to the ACAS table, but that “Implementation of the academic plan [in FBS] will […] be happening in parallel with resumed talks” (see this letter).
Members should be aware, then, that the University is still pressing ahead with a process that we argue breaches not only section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (consolidation) Act, but also we believe, may breach unfair dismissal law and certainly the university’s own statutes. The UCU obviously oppose compulsory redundancies and will continue to take action to defend members’ jobs, and understand that sister unions Unison and UNITE have said they will call a dispute if there are compulsory redundancies.