Message on Compulsory Redundancies

Dear Prof. Dame Nancy Rothwell and members of the Senior Management Team, Board of Governors and Senate,

As we hope you are aware, 37 permanent, core-funded members of staff of the University have been sent letters under Section 188 of the Trade Unions and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act  informing them that they are at risk of compulsory redundancy. Also, Karen Heaton has sent the campus Trade Unions proposals for radical changes to the University’s redeployment policy that would make compulsory redundancy easier in future.

The campus Trade Unions believe these radical changes to the way the University operates are unnecessary and unjustified by present circumstances as well as being grossly unfair to the staff immediately affected, detrimental to staff morale and goodwill and the University’s reputation, and inconsistent with the traditional principles of collegiality and public service of the University. We are therefore sending you – as a members of the Senior Management Team, Board of Governors and Senate – the attached two documents, which we would be grateful if you could take the time to read, consider and discuss.

Trade unions views…” summarizes the views of the campus Trade Unions regarding the threatened compulsory redundancies and the proposed changes to the University’s redeployment policy. In particular, it explains:

  • Why we believe the reasons given to justify compulsory redundancies – that the Redeployment Register will cost the University £2m this year and a £20 shortfall in the University’s bottom line – arise from misunderstandings and misrepresentations of the real situation.
  • Why the proposed changes to the University’s redeployment and redundancy policies are unfair and will damage the functioning of the Redeployment Register and, thereby, staff morale and goodwill.
  • Why the proper forum for discussion of redeployment and redundancy policy is the Joint University/Trade Union Negotiation Group, which was discussing these issue until, for reasons that have never been explained, management seemed to abandon interest in talks in January.
  • Why we believe it was so egregious to send 37 colleagues, who went onto the Redeployment Register voluntarily on the understanding that doing so incurred no risk of being made compulsorily redundant, Section 188 at-risk letters.

Trade unions views…” also outlines an alternative set of proposals, which we are discussing with HR and which we believe represent a more collegial response to the challenges facing the University that would enhance its reputation as a not only a world-class university but also as a first rate employer that attracts and keeps the very best staff. We ask for your support for them:

  1. A Targeted Voluntary Severance package limited to staff going on to the Redeployment Register.
  2. Improvements to the management of staff on the Redeployment Register so that talented staff are not lost.
  3. Strengthening of the University’s Restructuring Policy to ensure proper oversight of restructures.
  4. A new Avoidance of Redundancy Agreement to be introduced into the Statutes and Ordinances or elsewhere as deemed appropriate.

The second document, “Staff experience…”, contains anonymised feedback we have received from our members concerning their experience of redeployment and views of the proposed changes to the university’s redeployment/redundancy policy. This provides support for the arguments presented in the first document that: (a) the Redeployment Register offers real benefits rather than a crude £2m loss to university, yet also needs to be improved, and (b) compulsory redundancies are unnecessary and will, if accepted, be detrimental to staff goodwill and the university’s reputation.

Yours sincerely,

Adel Nasser, President. UMUCU

Gareth Dawson, Branch Secretary, UNISON

Christopher Goodwin, Branch Chair, UNITE


Staff experience of redeployment

Trade unions views re redeployment and compulsory redundancy policy

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