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Points of friction, points of dispute Presentation at Leeds University UCU GM November 9 th 2010 Malcolm Povey.

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Presentation on theme: "Points of friction, points of dispute Presentation at Leeds University UCU GM November 9 th 2010 Malcolm Povey."— Presentation transcript:

1 Points of friction, points of dispute Presentation at Leeds University UCU GM November 9 th 2010 Malcolm Povey

2 The Browne Report and the CSR £9000 fees, unemployment, unaffordable rents, increasing food prices, falling wages and pensions. Who will be able to afford a university course?

3 ‘I welcome the Browne Report’ That’s a misquote, isn’t it? It was in the context of talking about the chronic underfunding of higher education and the draconian cuts – I even used the word, draconian – that were about to be visited on us and I put some inflection in my voice. I said, ‘I have to welcome the Browne Review….’and I think people missed that inflection. Let’s think about one really important issue and I’m very worried about this. The more we tell people from those low income families that they can’t afford it, and this is not the place for them and that they’re going to come out with big debt, the more they’re going to believe it and the more difficult the decision is going to be for them. Can we think about not scaring people? Can we think about giving them accurate information? That’s all I’m asking. I’m not asking for anyone to dress this up. Can we give them accurate information about the real features of Browne and then let’s try and persuade them to come to universities like this, to study the subject that they dearly want to study? (http://www.leeds.ac.uk/comms/fees/webcast/webcast_transcript.pd f)

4 Breakdown of consultation The University has stopped consulting with the UCU over a whole number of issues. Most agenda items on the Joint Committee Agenda are now placed there by the UCU

5 UCU Dispute with the university Currently a procedural dispute, arising from the failure of the university to meaningfully consult with the UCU over organisational change. The process in the ESRG is a sham consultation.

6 Breakdown of management ‘Top down’ management in the university is not working. Too much micromanagement. Too little delegation to Schools and Units. Too little real involvement by staff in organisational changes. This is illustrated by the unsatisfactory university review process.

7 University reviews The scale and rate of change – 15 reviews embracing half the university staff including ALL the basic sciences. Will our institution be recognisable after a couple more years? Failure to meaningfully consult over fundamental issues to do with our jobs, terms and conditions of service. A challenge to academic freedom.

8 Other reviews FBS – Stage 4 – post restructuring Joint Honours – staff to be deployed to Faculties where the teaching has relocated. Our members are being lined up for redundancy.

9 Preservation of existing procedure agreement “The agreement does not replace the existing procedure agreement and preserves current protections for staff” Framework agreement broken on contribution pay. Complete freeze in FBS, “very exceptional performance” required elsewhere. Vice-Chancellor, first of all, the University’s been through a very tough time. We’ve had £35m of efficiency savings, and after the Comprehensive Spending Review, people are wondering whether their jobs are safe, whether there’s more to come. I think I can reassure them completely on that issue. We did a lot of hard work last year, trying to go through the economies exercise, because we knew that something serious was going to happen this year. What’s happened in recent days of course, is that it’s landed, but we were expecting it and it’s of about the size that we were anticipating. The distribution of it is rather different to what we thought, but the overall size of it is about the same. At this point, I’ve not seen anything that’s frightening me that means we need to extend the economies exercise. I think it was about right. Now, of course, I need to be slightly cautious because there’s a lot still left up in the air, but as far as I can see, I’m really quite pleased that we aimed for that high target last year, because it looks as though it’s going to be about right. (http://www.leeds.ac.uk/comms/fees/webcast/webcast_transcript.pdf)

10 The University and Employment Law The UCU has applied for two protective awards under Section 189 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act These have disciplined the behaviour of the university regarding the termination of fixed term contracts. The unions now must be given 90 days + 6 months or 90 days + 3 months notice of contract termination. One third of all staff in the university are on fixed term contracts.

11 Staff Review and Development Scheme Our agreement states that this is to facilitate the development of the individual and their career. The university is pressing for SRDS to be used for performance management. The UCU will not agree to this. In some parts of the university the SRDS scheme is being used to discipline our members. This is unacceptable.


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