Queens University pursuing compulsory redundancies

Queens University Belfast

Queens University in Belfast is for the first time ever attempting to make staff compulsorily redundant. Following a meeting with UCU, these plans were dropped from the proposal to be tabled at a later date.

For the first time ever, Queens University is attempting to introduce compulsory redundancies for staff. Normally, voluntary means are used to resolve staffing issues, but Queens senior-management were attempting to rush-through the compulsory redundancy plan tomorrow at Standing Committee meeting. Currently, three members of Information Systems staff at the university are known to be directly affected by the planned introduction of the compulsory redundancies.

The University and College Union (UCU), which represents academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff working at Queens had scheduled a protest at the proposed measures for tomorrow morning (Thursday 5th June), and stated:

"Queen's UCU believe this is the thin end of the wedge and, if successful, will be used for compulsory redundancies across the University. Therefore, nobody, including YOU, will be safe! Come and support your three colleagues from Information Systems whom the University is trying to dismiss!"

However, the scheduled protest was called-off following a meeting with UCU representatives yesterday, when university senior management dropped the redundancy proposal from tomorrow's meeting, and will table it for next month's meeting of the standing committee. In a communication with UCU members today, the union said:

"The issue will be put before a special meeting of Standing Committee later in the month. Meanwhile, further discussions will take place with management. Tomorrow's demonstration is thus postponed but we will be staging a demonstration outside any rescheduled meeting. We will notify you in due course."

Posted By

Choccy
Jun 4 2008 15:53

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Demogorgon303
Jun 5 2008 07:38

Plymouth University is also in dire straits, running a deficit of £3 million a year. It's planning to cut its pay bill by 10% in the next year which can only mean redundancies. According to this Times Higher article, from 20 to 30 institutions are trying to delay the implementation of the pay rises that were part of the Framework Agreement.

After a few years of actually being given more money (although nothing like what was needed to deal with the new influx of students and obviously tied to onerous targets), Higher Education is now facing a new squeeze as the financial position of the Government begins to deteriorate. There have been worries for some time that weaker institutions may be facing collapse.

We should expect more of the same.

Mike Harman
Jun 5 2008 10:04

Similar situation at Keele. UCU has 'greylisted' Keele University because they won't negotiate with the union, greylisting is apparently an unofficial academic boycott.

This is apparently the highest sanction UCU members have against an employer. /me wonders what happened to strikes.

https://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=3015

Choccy
Jun 6 2008 11:43

UCU just sent a communication to members re: Keele today:

*text reads*

Many of you will by now be aware of the escalating situation at Keele
University. You may have received my message yesterday via your branch officers
or the activist list so apologies if you have already received this. However,
given the gravity of the situation I am taking the seldom used action of
emailing the whole UCU membership in order that all are aware of the situation
and are able to support our colleagues at Keele. Many thanks for taking the
time to read this and for your patience if you have already received.

** Greylisting of Keele to begin Friday 13 June **

Greylisting is the ultimate sanction available to UCU members and is only ever
used where a university or college refuses to engage in meaningful negotiations
with a branch or local association.

We are now asking colleagues in UCU, other trade unions, labour movement
organisations and the international academic community to support our members
in any way possible to bring management back to the table.

The term greylisting specifically means a voluntary boycott of academic and
other university activities where appropriate at Keele.

Arising from the university's attempts to make 38 academic staff compulsorily
redundant without meaningful negotiations, and now management's threats to
deduct 25% of salaries a day from those taking part in ongoing lawful
industrial action, Keele members are seeking the following from management:

· engage in meaningful negotiations with the branch and regional
officials
· remove the threat of pay deductions relating to the ongoing action
short of a strike (ASOS)
· commence the engagement of academic managers with teaching groups in
discussion about future teaching programmes
· agree an acceptable process for voluntary severance - including an
extension to the time period of the current scheme.

Colleagues are asked to show their support for Keele UCU in particular in the
following ways with effect from Friday 13 June, 2008:

· do not attend, speak at or organise academic or other conferences at
Keele
· do not apply for jobs at Keele
· do not give lectures at Keele
· do not accept positions as visiting professors or researchers at
Keele
· do not write for any academic journal which is edited from Keele
· do not take up new contracts as external examiners for taught
courses.

When you decide to support Keele UCU as above, make sure you tell management
that you are participating in the greylisting and notify
mailto:campaigns@ucu.org.uk

If you are currently or soon to be involved in any activity as above on or
after 13 June please contact UCU campaigns team at mailto:campaigns@ucu.org.uk
and we will provide guidance on how to support colleagues.

We need your help, urgently, to mobilise members and others to support the
boycott if the university refuses to budge. Please forward this email to all
members within your local association/branch, and encourage them to forward to
others both in and outside the university. Every member is affected, every
member must take part. Our ability to defend and advance our pay and conditions
across higher and further education is dependent on our willingness to defend
our colleagues.

Here are some things you can do right now to get the campaign off to a flying
start:

** sign the petition calling on managers to stop the cuts and negotiate:
http://www.ucu.org.uk/keelepetition

** write to Times Higher Education (THE) - mailto:letters@tsleducation.com -
and The Guardian - mailto:letters@guardian.co.uk - outlining your support for
the academic boycott at Keele and calling on management to negotiate with the
local association officers.

** show solidarity now - send an individual message of support to UCU members
at Keele by emailing them to mailto:campaigns@ucu.org.uk

** go straight to the top - email Professor Janet Finch, the vice-chancellor
at Keele, to tell her that you will be supporting the academic boycott and
asking her to begin negotiations immediately. E-mails should be polite, and to
the point and should be sent to: mailto:j.v.finch@vco.keele.ac.uk and copied to
Justine Stephens at mailto:jstephens@ucu.org.uk. Please also forward any
replies to Justine.

** raise awareness - pass this email on to all your members, write an article
for your university newsletter, raise the issue at your local union branch and
get your branch or LA to write to the vice-chancellor, outlining your support
for the boycott. If you would like a speaker on the dispute for a meeting,
email Justine Stephens at mailto:jstephens@ucu.org.uk

Yours fraternally

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary
*text ends*

Choccy
Jun 14 2008 10:28

Keele greylisting off apparently - Guardian

Choccy
Jun 16 2008 15:43

Looks like the planned complusory redundancies at Queens have been scrapped, for now at least.

"After prolonged negotiations with QUB management an agreement on voluntary severance for members of staff in Management Information Systems was concluded early this afternoon. The Standing Committee will not now meet and the demonstration at 11.30 on Wednesday at the Whitla Hall has been called off.
The Officers, Queen’s UCU"