UMUCU Statement on Allegations against Members of UCU
Members of the UMUCU executive have been distressed to learn that the university’s Students’ Union (UMSU) General Secretary has publicly alleged that he has been bullied by “UCU”, or by student groups “under the influence of the local UCU branch”. We would therefore like to reassure members that:
- UMUCU completely deplores bullying; indeed, much of our local work involves supporting members who have been subject to bullying. We note the following:
- No complaint of bullying has been made directly to UMUCU. Our efforts to jointly discuss and clarify such serious matters have been met with further accusations, including the observation circulated to Senate by the UMSU Welfare Officer that members of UCU should not be on allowed on Senate because of a supposed “conflict of interest”.
- It is never appropriate to raise a complaint of bullying in a public forum; doing so is a serious breach of the university’s Dignity at Work and Study Policy.
- UMUCU works closely with the Students’ Union and other student groups and frequently offers solidarity to students in various campaigns and actions, but we do not seek to “influence” or infiltrate student groups and have no interest in doing so. Nor do we “take sides” in disputes between student groups.
- UMUCU does not have representation on Senate. Many Senate members are also UCU members, and some UCU Executive Committee members and officers happen to be elected members of Senate, but there is no conflict of interest in being a member of UCU and of Senate. We were pleased to hear Dame Nancy Rothwell, the President and Vice-Chancellor, confirming this in Senate on June 2nd.
- Staff have a legal right to engage in trade union duties and activities without detriment or victimisation. We note that suggestions by the UMUSU General Secretary and Welfare Officer that the university should ban UCU members from Senate would amount to victimisation and be unlawful.
UMUCU and UMSU have had excellent relations over many years, working together for the benefit of the whole university community. We will make every effort to re-establish that good working relationship with the incoming UMSU Executive Committee when it takes over next month.