UNISON Response to Proposed Job Cuts – Updates

Important: The all members meeting planned for Tuesday 12th June 2018 has been POSTPONED until Monday 18th June at 12:00 in Keyworth Room 305. 

This is to ensure that all members have received the departmental briefing regarding the change proposals – these meetings are occurring Tuesday 12th June and Wednesday 13th June.

Postponing the meeting will give everyone time to digest the information and be able to come to the UNISON meeting with better information and questions regarding the proposals.


Dear members

The joint unions met with LSBU management on Wednesday and Thursday to try and resolve our dispute over the Vice Chancellors plan to make between £5 – £8 million savings in staff costs.

We proposed that instead of targeting at risk areas with a voluntary redundancy scheme (VRS), VRS should be rolled out across the university to establish the extent of savings that could be realised from such a scheme. We further proposed that this should run in tandem with consultation over the various proposals that have been developed to address the deficit across the university. This would necessitate a genuine consultation where proposals would be subject to change in the light of a changing scenario due to the anticipated take up of the VRS. It would also allow for slotting in of staff who choose to remain in employment due to vacancies arising from VRS. Consultation could also extend beyond narrow time limits to take account of an evolving situation arising from the take up of the VRS. The joint unions also asked management to consider improving the VRS in order to make it more attractive.

We believe we have achieved agreement regarding the roll out of a VRS across the university. We await management’s response regarding improving the scheme.


 

ALL MEMBERS MEETING

There will be another members meeting about the proposed staff cuts at LSBU on Tuesday 12th June, in Room K505 in the Keyworth Centre starting at 12:00

Don’t forget to advise your manager that you will be attending this meeting during work time, which you are entitled to do as a UNISON member

See you there


Dear Members

By now you will have seen a letter from the Vice-Chancellor, David Phoenix, dated 3rd May 2018, in which he stated that the University is looking to reduce their overall staff costs for 2018/2019. You have also received the joint communication from the LSBU unions on the same day, which was primarily about the already announced job losses in HSC.

UNISON Exec met with the Regional Team yesterday to discuss the implications of staff reductions for our members and to discuss a strategy for dealing with these.  We understand that you will be very anxious and worried about what will happen next and what advice UNISON is able to give you.  Our difficulty with this is that the University has left the cost-cutting to the deans and directors who will make local decisions for their respective areas and at the moment very few of them have come up with proposals. The letter states that the intention is to update staff on Tuesday 15th May.  Once we have concrete proposals we will be better able to gauge the effects on individuals.

However, there is the wider issue for all unions collectively about the loss of jobs and whether this is warranted at this time as well, as well as the undue haste with which these staff reductions are to be implemented.  We have to be prepared to fight for our jobs and our bottom line is, no compulsory redundancies.

We will be calling a members’ meeting on Wednesday 16th May at noon (room to be announced).

We look forward to seeing you.

With best wishes

Beverley


On Wednesday afternoon 2 May, the recognised trade unions at LSBU (UCU, UNISON and GMB) were invited to attend a hastily convened meeting with the VC. At this meeting the VC confirmed what UCU had communicated to its members and the other unions on the 26 April. UCU said that LSBU was planning staff efficiencies that will lead to “a programme of large scale redundancies across the university.” While no precise figure was given of how many jobs they are planning to axe, the savings of £5 to £8 million pounds to the staff Budget suggests a redundancy target of upwards of a hundred jobs with a decision deadline set for between 15 – 31 May.

The email you will have received today from the VC is a long-winded attempt to justify what is essentially a poorly managed situation that is at best irresponsible and at worst a premeditated plan that has been long in the making and deliberately timed to minimise opposition and proper negotiation. The separate announcement on 25 April 2018 of course closures with attendant redundancies that include, the UCU Branch Secretary, and, UCU rep, in the School of Health and Social Care, would suggest the latter. The VC made it clear that the current redundancies in HSC were in addition to, not part of his plan, so HSC could face further reductions in staff. 

The VC presented his plans as a consultative exercise inviting the unions to engage in a civil manner. We made it clear that we believed that the time frame for discussion was far too short given the magnitude of what is being planned. People’s livelihoods, careers, and mortgages are under threat with very little notice.

The unions invited the VC in the spirit of meaningful consultation to consider postponing these planned redundancies for another year to give the university time to reflect more fully on what it is doing and to give staff affected more time to plan ahead. The university is well able to afford this as it has a £40 million pound cash reserve.

The VC flatly rejected this proposal and indicated that the management were committed to a plan of action which we believe is neither civilised nor justified.

Everyone is affected by these plans because no one knows who is affected. This time we really are all in it together.

In spite of the praise we receive for our hard work and sacrifices that have included a constant trickle of job losses with the consequent increase in workload for those of us remaining, this management continues to demand more and more from staff and offer less and less to students. The idea that this “is an opportunity for us to emerge as a stronger university, better equipped to meet the future needs of students, employers and our community” is ludicrous and delusory.  Rather it is an insensitive slap in the face to all of us.

While staff redundancies will certainly meet the needs of the VC and his Executive on inflated salaries, how does closing down courses and making staff redundant meet the needs of students and make the university stronger? The proposed plan with its timescale is guaranteed to plunge the university in to a damaging spiral of destabilisation and further dent low staff morale.

UCU, UNISON and GMB say enough is enough. Unless the VC and Board of Governors are prepared to listen to our reasonable proposal to postpone these plans for another year, we will be left with no other choice but to move towards balloting for industrial action to stop this barbaric initiative. University staff across the country are pushing back similar plans with stunning successes. The recent USS strike as well as the action taken at the Open University and Oxford University have demonstrated that damaging plans like these can be stopped in their tracks.

In the coming days we will be planning joint union meetings and protest action as we build the opposition and resistance in the cause of defending Higher Education against the asset strippers.