Statute – response to Vice-Chancellor’s email

The university management have told all staff that dismissal for ‘some other substantial reason’ (SOSR) is within the law and that they want to update our Statutes to reflect this.

Management have no right, under our current Statute, to make dismissals for ‘some other substantial reason’.

‘Dismissal for some other substantial reason’ has been within the law since the 1970s, but university management here, and in other institutions across the country, chose not to stoop to the legal minimum protection when updating their university statutes in the 1980s and 1990s.

So, why now? Our conditions at the University of Leeds are better than the law in many ways (paid parental leave and sick pay, for example) and we want to keep it that way. We don’t think our conditions of employment (or anyone’s, for that matter) should be pared down to the basic legal minimum of “anything that’s not illegal”.

‘Dismissal for some other substantial reason’ is potentially dangerous because it could be so wide ranging. We’ve already given you examples e.g. breakdown in trust, third party pressure.

In terms of the University Executive Group (UEG) being exempt from Statute, neither the Senate paper or the paper that went to Council in November 2016 contained the paragraph about UEG being exempt. When that paragraph appeared is a mystery, and it has not been the subject of negotiations between UCU and university management. We are encouraging the university management to continue negotiations with us.

I urge you to take part in the indicative poll and to say yes to industrial action. If you haven’t received your e-poll, check your “clutter” folder and if it’s not there email UCU head office: EBailey@ucu.org.uk.

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