Email sent to branch members 11 January 2021
As you are probably aware, the university started a voluntary redundancy scheme in the Faculty of Biological Science and the School of Medicine last semester and the deadline for applications to the scheme has now passed. For more on the history of this, see the leeds.ucu.org.uk article: leedsucu.org.uk/vls-in-fbs-and-medicine
Here is what has happened since we wrote that article:
- Our regional UCU officer wrote to the VC to ask that compulsory redundancies are ruled out
- The VC replied to say that she was unable to rule out compulsory redundancies
- Our regional UCU officer replied with a ‘failure to agree letter’ saying we will not accept compulsory redundancies and asking to pause the consideration of any further voluntary redundancies until we are out of the current COVID crisis and until we’ve been properly consulted with full financial information. If an assurance cannot be given by the end of Monday, the regional officer will send a letter, entering into dispute with the university.
- We’re planning a press release to make public that the university is planning to get rid of staff in some of the areas that might be considered most essential at this time.
- We’ve also launched a petition – please sign and ask your colleagues at this and other universities to sign, plus alumni and anyone else with a connection to the university
While all this is happening, we’re also negotiating on our anti-casualisation claim and have made some progress in discussions with HR. See more detail on the claim
Across the university (for example via casework) and at every opportunity in our meetings with HR and senior management we’ve been fighting hard to persuade HR to renew as many fixed-term and fixed-funded contracts as possible and to provide us with more detailed information about which contracts are being considered for non-renewal and why. We’ve made some progress as HR are now reviewing all fixed-term contracts longer than three years and, where there is no reasonable justification, transferring those staff on to permanent contracts. We continue to push management at every opportunity that the university should not be ending anyone’s employment in the middle of a pandemic
If you have been on a fixed-term contract for 3 years or more, contact your local HR officer to say you believe you should be made permanent, and ask the branch for a caseworker if there are any problems.
Please do remember to sign the petition. We’ll be in touch soon with any developments.
UCU Branch Secretary, on behalf of UCU committee