Category Archives: Press

Stand up for Equalities. Step up for Dawn.

Today we exercise our democratic right to elect a new government. However, the 8 June is also significant in the history of the struggle for the vote for women. On this day in 1913, the suffragette Emily Davison died of her injuries four days after falling under the king’s horse at the Epsom Derby.

At lunch-time today the University of Liverpool UCU branch stepped up for sacked Equalities Officer Dawn Holdman. UCU members gathered to demand Dawn’s reinstatement following her victimisation for trade union activity.

Dawn’s campaign has the full support of the national UCU.

Also see our Dawn Holdman Statement.

STEP UP FOR DAWN

8-june-2017-2-resampled

Northern Ireland public sector strike 13/03/15

Public sector unions are today striking over the Stormont regional assembly’s austerity drive to remove 20,000 public sector jobs. Rallies are taking place at Belfast, Londonderry, Newry, Strabane, Omagh, Enniskillen, Coleraine, Magherafelt, Cookstown, Dungannon and Craigavon. NHS, education, criminal justice and other public sector workers are taking part in the strike across Northern Ireland. UCU Liverpool offers support and solidarity to staff striking to preserve public sector services in Northern Ireland at this crucial time where welfare spending and public services are under severe threat following the Stormont House spending cuts agreement of 2014.

THE article: University of Liverpool UCU vote to strike over pay threat

Please see the following THE article discussing the ballot of UCU Liverpool members to strike over threat to withhold pay for staff engaged in an assessment boycott. This boycott is due to the recent threat to USS Higher Education pensions.

“Action follows management decision to withhold pay from academics taking part in marking boycott.

Union members at the University of Liverpool have voted to strike in response to the management’s decision to dock 100 per cent of the salary of employees participating in a marking boycott.”

“The strike, which would continue until the decision is rescinded, is the latest escalation of the dispute between institutions and staff which centres on proposed pension reforms.

At least eight institutions across the UK have now announced plans to deduct full pay from lecturers taking part in the boycott, which began on November 6.

A spokeswoman for the Liverpool branch of the University and College Union accused management of announcing their decision on pay in an “aggressively worded” email which “included threats to discipline members and make them personally liable for any damages awarded in claims made against the institution in relation to the industrial action”.

“This hard-line stance has caused real anger across the university,” the spokeswoman told Times Higher Education. “Not only is this an insult to staff here in Liverpool but it is a threat to the national union’s ability to use ASOS [action short of a strike] in the future. We also know that, if the University of Liverpool is allowed to get away with this kind of behaviour, that it will become a norm across the sector.”

The branch spokeswoman said the result of the vote was “overwhelming”, with no votes against and only one abstention.”

Please see the full article on the Times Higher Education.

Recent coverage of the Pay Disupte in the Liverpool Echo

Please see the following recent Liverpool Echo articles on the Pay Disupte:

Mayor Anderson wades into pay row at University of Liverpool

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/mayor-anderson-wades-pay-row-6177552

Staff at Merseyside universities go on strike in on-going row over pay

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/classes-cancelled-merseyside-universities-academic-6259769

Universities described as ‘ghost ships’ as staff walk out over pay row

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpool-universities-described-ghost-ships-6261647

Unions promise to bring universities to ‘standstill’ over pay (Times Higher article)

Universities have dismissed union claims that next week’s one-day strike will bring them to a “standstill”, saying that they expect a “low-level impact on students”.

Members of higher education’s three largest trade unions – the University and College Union, Unison and Unite – will take part in a national walkout on 31 October over employers’ “measly” 1 per cent pay offer.

This will represent the first time that the three unions have taken strike action together and will also be the first countrywide walkout over pay in the academy since March 2006, when lecturers also began an assessment boycott.

Read more

Liverpool Echo: University staff who face sacking have voted in favour of strike action

University of Liverpool staff who face the sack unless they accept revised terms and conditions have voted in favour of strike action.

But today union chiefs stressed that despite the endorsement for industrial action they were hopeful that a resolution could be found without the need to strike.

In June, 2,803 workers, whose jobs include librarians, computer technicians, clerical posts and groundsmen were put in the firing line due to the university’s controversial move to bring “equity across the institution” by standardising employees’ terms and conditions.

The university has warned staff who refuse to move over to new contracts they face “three months’ notice of dismissal” – albeit with the carrot of being immediately offered their jobs back under the new terms.

Read full article…

Liverpool Echo: Strike vote for University of Liverpool staff facing axe

University of Liverpool staff who face the sack unless they accept revised terms and conditions could vote to strike within days.

In June, 2,803 workers, whose jobs include librarians, computer technicians, clerical posts and groundsmen were put in the firing line due to the university’s controversial move to bring “equity across the institution” by standardising employees’ terms and conditions.

On Monday, University and College Union (UCU) chiefs are expected to formally ask staff whether they want to strike over the proposed changes amid a 4,000-signature petition against the shake-up and fears the university’s stance could set a dangerous precedent.

Unions fear the non-teaching staff’s revised terms would force them to work over 35 hours a week, at weekends and evenings and Bank Holidays without lieu days or overtime.

Read the full article at: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/university-liverpool-staff-could-vote-5134981

Letter from UCU’s Roger Brooks to THE on the recent contract dispute

18 July 2013

Sir Howard Newby says that the University and College Union has “misrepresented” the current dispute at the University of Liverpool (“Standard terms, equal conditions”, Letters, 11 July). Regrettably, we must insist that it is Newby’s letter that is misleading.

Liverpool is imposing a new contractual requirement for bank holiday working for the majority of professional, managerial, specialist and senior administrative (PMSA) staff, with only single-time time off in lieu (Toil) when support staff will be compensated at triple time. It has also refused a contractual right to hour-for-hour Toil for staff working outside their contracted hours. A further matter of concern emerged only after the section 188 consultations had begun, when it became clear that the university intended to allow local managers to vary normal working hours from the 9am-5pm set out in the new contract of employment without staff consent.

Newby says that Liverpool is negotiating with the trade unions. Under the local recognition agreement between it and the UCU, Unite and Unison, all changes to terms and conditions must be negotiated rather than merely consulted upon. The matter of hours clearly comes under the category of “terms and conditions”, and formal negotiations were indeed under way. However, on 7 June university negotiators announced that they would invoke the section 188 procedures from the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act (1992), which are expressly designed for redundancy or dismissal situations. This means that Liverpool is proposing to issue dismissal notices to 2,803 staff (54 per cent of its workforce) to achieve its ends. Negotiations do not involve the threat to dismiss staff who do not sign a new contract put in front of them. Moreover, far from being “positive and constructive”, this approach has led to the first formal dispute between Liverpool and an academic union or association in the university’s long and distinguished history.

Newby also says that Liverpool will not be making any staff redundant as a result of the new contracts. So why has the university opened a voluntary disengagement scheme, normally designed for redundancy situations? It excludes PMSA staff, so the university may believe this means that ending their contracts is somehow different. However, even if there are no redundancies, this does not mean there will be no dismissals. In response to a question at an all-staff meeting on the day his letter was published, Newby confirmed that any member of staff who rejects the new contract will be dismissed.

We urge the vice-chancellor to apply the standards of excellence he champions for research and teaching to the approaches the university takes to its human resources management and industrial relations.

Roger Brooks
President, University of Liverpool branch
University and College Union

You can read the letter online at http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comment/letters/disputed-territory/2005810.article

Comment by Roger Brooks on the THE article “Professorial position: Liverpool, think again”

Comment on: Professorial position: Liverpool, think again

Roger Brooks’s comment | 04 Jul 2013 11:05am

On behalf of the University of Liverpool UCU branch I would like to thank the senior academic colleagues from across the HE sector who have given us their support. We have been amazed at the extent of the solidarity shown, as well as by the huge number of private messages of support that have come in to our office.

The use of legislation usually reserved for redundancy consultation to dismiss and re-engage staff to achieve changes to working hours and to re-structure the working week must not be allowed to become standard practice in British universities. Our UCU branch is prepared to fully negotiate with a view to reaching a suitable agreement on the standardisation of PMSA contracts. Indeed the UCU was actually in negotiations on these issues until University declared that they would instead simply issue the legal notice of the intention to consult the trade unions over the use dismissal notices to achieve their ends.

We are also moved that so many senior academics have shown solidarity with their ‘non-academic’ colleagues. In reality of course we all depend on one another in working towards excellence in our work. In supporting this statement these signatories have shown that this is something that they understand and value.

With great appreciation and respect,

Dr Roger Brooks,
President, University of Liverpool UCU

You can read the letter online at http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comment/letters/professorial-position-liverpool-think-again/2005370.article

THE article: ‘Disreputable’ Liverpool tactics provoke professors’ ire

Six hundred professors have signed a letter condemning “disreputable” plans by the University of Liverpool to force its non-academic staff to accept new terms and conditions.

In the letter published in this week’s Times Higher Education, the professors, from universities across the UK and further afield, call on Liverpool to return to negotiations with trade unions over its plans to change the contracts of about 2,800 non-academic staff.

View the full article on the Times Higher Education web site or view via University of Liverpool online subscription (requires UoL login).

Letter to the Times Higher Education: Professorial position: Liverpool, think again

The Times Higher Education today published a letter signed by around 600 University professors calling for the University of Liverpool to “step back” from its descision to invoke the use of dismissal notices to change the contracts of 2803 non-academic staff:


Professorial position: Liverpool, think again

We recently heard that the University of Liverpool intends to issue dismissal notices to 2,803 “non-academic” staff – 54 per cent of the institution’s workforce (“Mersey motion rejects revised contract terms”, News, 20 June). After breaking off negotiations with the recognised trade unions, Liverpool’s management is attempting to force these workers on to inferior contracts, expecting them to work extra hours in the evenings, weekends and on bank holidays without appropriate compensation. Management action of this type on such a scale is unprecedented in the UK academy.

The fair treatment of all staff is vital to any university. Clerical, technical, manual, administrative, library, computing and other specialist staff are the people who provide the high-quality teaching and research environments that make scholarly work possible. Academics could not do their jobs without them.

We are shocked that Liverpool, with its proud reputation for international excellence in a range of disciplines as well as its tradition of civic and regional service, is resorting to such disreputable industrial relations practices. The management’s approach can only be disastrous for its relationship with staff.

We call upon Liverpool’s management and council to step back from the course of action upon which they have embarked and re-enter meaningful negotiations with the trade unions to reach a mutual and amicable agreement on the matters at hand.

Sir Iain Chalmers, professor, University of Liverpool; Steven Rose, emeritus professor, The Open University; Alan Sokal, professor, University College London; Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor, University of Oxford; and 600 other professors at UK universities

Readers’ comments (1)

Roger Brooks | 04 Jul 2013 11:05am

On behalf of the University of Liverpool UCU branch I would like to thank the senior academic colleagues from across the HE sector who have given us their support. We have been amazed at the extent of the solidarity shown, as well as by the huge number of private messages of support that have come in to our office.

The use of legislation usually reserved for redundancy consultation to dismiss and re-engage staff to achieve changes to working hours and to re-structure the working week must not be allowed to become standard practice in British universities. Our UCU branch is prepared to fully negotiate with a view to reaching a suitable agreement on the standardisation of PMSA contracts. Indeed the UCU was actually in negotiations on these issues until University declared that they would instead simply issue the legal notice of the intention to consult the trade unions over the use dismissal notices to achieve their ends.

We are also moved that so many senior academics have shown solidarity with their ‘non-academic’ colleagues. In reality of course we all depend on one another in working towards excellence in our work. In supporting this statement these signatories have shown that this is something that they understand and value.

With great appreciation and respect,

Dr Roger Brooks,
President, University of Liverpool UCU

View the full article on the Times Higher Education web site or view via University of Liverpool online subscription (requires UoL login).

 

 

Times Higher Education: Liverpool University faculty rejects revised contract terms

One of the University of Liverpool’s largest faculties has voted against plans it says will force non-academic staff to accept new terms and conditions.

At a meeting of about 150 members of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences’ forum, academics passed a motion condemning Liverpool’s decision to start a 45-day redundancy consultation period for about 2,800 workers.

Please see the full article on the Times Higher Education Web site.