Local dispute (2): the VC’s letter to all staff
Leeds UCU notes that the VC has chosen to respond to the UCU’s unpublished letters via the university website , without providing the union with an opportunity to respond in the spirit of dialogue and engagement.
We are concerned that managerialism at the University of Leeds is running out of control. Seventeen reviews, embracing half of all university staff, are taking place or have taken place, without any regulation through the collegial processes which were agreed in March 2010, but which the university have failed fully to implement. That simple fact has to be a concern to all members of the university community.
School constitutions need to define who is to be consulted over change, how they are consulted and how that consultation is reported to Senate. The consultation needs to be collegial and democratic. Aspects of change that affect the jobs, terms and conditions of service of all staff members need to involve all-staff meetings in Schools/Units. Decisions and discussion in the meetings must be recorded and put to a subsequent meeting for agreement, prior to reporting to Senate. Changes in academic programmes and research directions need to involve all members of Faculty in Schools/Units, with meetings minuted and the minutes agreed. The Vice Chancellor cannot claim that “The University has been scrupulous in honouring the requirements of the organisational change policy” when the School/Unit Constitutions which underpin the key legal requirement of ‘meaningful consultation’, have not been put in place.
Currently, Schools and Units under review are presented with a set of options determined by the Vice Chancellors Executive Group (VCEG) in consultation with the review group. Discussion cannot go outside the parameters set by the VCEG. With the introduction of Academic Activity Profiles, we can forsee the triumph of a narrow financial managerialism over Academic Priorities, collegiality and academic freedom. This will stifle creativity and ultimately destroy the organisation as a World Class institution. Currently, VCEG exaggerates costs in Schools and Units and underestimates income, the result is a huge cash surplus; what more evidence is needed for the triumph of accountancy over academic leadership?
On the other hand, the decision to go into dispute with the university was taken nem con at UCU General Meetings, the UCU is a democratic and member-led organisation. We want to see ACADEMIC leadership restored at the University of Leeds.
There will be an Emergency General Meeting of the UCU today at 12 noon in Roger Stevens Lecture Theatre 7. All members are encouraged to come and have their say