Tag Archives: Statute 24

Updates on Statute 24, Branch Admin & Protests

Statute 24, the Assembly, and Next Steps.

Some of you will have seen the Provost’s update on Statute 24, published on Insite yesterday. In this update, the Provost lays out the University’s new plan for the revision of Statute 24 following the cancelation of the Assembly on 29 June. Of importance are three key steps: first, last week Senate approved the sending of a draft of the updated Statutes to the Privy Council for informal review and that review will take place over the summer. Second, the Provost says the adjourned Assembly will be rescheduled for sometime in September or early October prior to further Senate and Council discussions. Third, the Provost says that the University will undertake further consultation with trade unions and assembly members over the summer.

We are glad that the University has backtracked from its previous attempts to push these changes to Statute and Ordinance through and now appears to be committed to engaging in consultation with us and other trade unions on campus and to rescheduling an Assembly so that more time can be given to study and meaningfully discuss the relevant documents. However, we also have some serious concerns. First, we are disappointed that the Statutes are being sent to the Privy Council for review before consultation with trade unions and the Assembly has taken place and we are quite apprehensive that this could undermine the potential of meaningful consultation. Second, we remain concerned by the timing of these processes as it’s very difficult to engage in meaningful consultation during summer term. And third, we have not yet been contacted by the University and have not yet ascertained how meaningful this consultation will be. Thus we are cautiously optimistic, but certainly not assured of this process. We will keep you updated of any further developments.

https://warwick.ac.uk/insite/news/intnews2/statute24reform

Warwick UCU is hiring

After many years, our fabulous Branch Administrator, Claire Duffy, stepped down earlier this summer. We are now hiring a new Branch Administrator. If you know anyone who is committed to Trade Union politics and has experience doing administrative, web, and organising and recruiting work, please forward this advert onto them!

In the meantime, we ask that you be patient with us as we are currently without an administrator and so may take a longer time to respond.

https://www.ucu.org.uk/vacancies#ba5

Two Important Protests which UCU National is Supporting 

 Anti-Trump Protest Friday 13 July 2pm Portland Place, London W1A 1AA followed by a rally at 5pm in Trafalgar Square. Please be there to show Trump he is not welcome and that we in the UK trade union movement oppose his divisive and racist policies.

Link here: https://en-gb.facebook.com/StandUTR/

Stand Up to Racism ‘Oppose the Nazis and Tommy Robinson’ event Saturday 14 July 2pm Whitehall, London SW1A.

It is vital we mobilise against the pernicious ideology peddled by Tommy Robinson and his friends in the so-called Football Lads Alliance.

Link here: https://www.facebook.com/events/169517280565963/

Update on Salaries Sacrificed During the Pension Dispute

Warwick UCU is pleased that the salaries sacrificed during the industrial action to protect our pensions will be used to help students, and especially those who are in most need. It is a standard request we make of the University during any industrial action that money be diverted to the student hardship fund and we are grateful that the university has chosen to take our views into account.

As always, let us know if you have any questions.

In solidarity,

Warwick UCU

Statute 24 Update

UCU position on latest statute 24 developments:

  1. Job security for permanent staff does not cause casualisation;

  2. Academic freedom without job security is meaningless

Last year, the University announced plans to gut its employment statute, Statute 24, thus putting at risk Warwick staff’s job security and academic freedom. Thanks to the mass-mobilization of UCU members, we have won important victories – Senate chose not to approve the reforms at its meeting last June, meaning that they did not go forward to Council. However, the fight is far from over.

In the most recent volley, the Provost published an update on 18 December 2017 on the University’s intranet.  UCU sets out below its response to the points made by the University.

Casualization

The University says:

It is hoped that as a consequence of more streamlined employment processes, the University will be able to review its contractual offering for academic staff with a view to reducing dependency on fixed term and casual contracts.

What the University means is:

If we make it easier to dismiss people on permanent contracts, we might be willing able to offer permanent contracts more often.

Once again, the University’s interpretation of fairness is about levelling down rather than levelling up.  By implying that our current statutes are the cause of an increased reliance on casualized contracts, the university presents these developments as inevitable. It therefore fails to acknowledge that the increase in these forms of working is a direct result of choices which have been made by university management, and in the broader context of attacks on publicly-funded higher education teaching and research.

UCU wishes to make clear that the University has made no offer of any concessions on casualization. We therefore view the University’s statement as a lazy and cynical attempt to create divisions within our membership and within the university more widely.

Disciplinary and Redundancy

The University says it wants:

            More streamlined employment processes

What the University means is:

We’ll offer our employees no more than the minimum protections enshrined in employment law.  We want to make it easier and quicker to dismiss members of staff either by redundancy or through disciplinary processes.

The University’s latest statement made no mention of its proposals on disciplinary and redundancy, preferring to concentrate on the issue of academic freedom.  UCU welcomes the fact that the University is at least acknowledging the threats its proposed changes pose to academic freedom seriously, though this should not obscure the fact that UCU has repeatedly advised the University that we cannot agree to the proposed documents for redundancy and disciplinary.

Academic Freedom and Job Security

The University says it:

believes that the proposals will serve to strengthen the protection of academic freedom afforded to academic members of staff

UCU says:

Without proper protection in place against redundancy and disciplinary procedures, assurances about academic freedom are meaningless. Casualization undermines academic freedom as precariously-employed academics feel pressures to avoid controversial areas of research and publish in particular journals and with particular publishers. Without job security, there cannot be academic freedom.

The University says:

a Committee could be established, to determine whether academic freedom had been infringed prior to the instigation of any disciplinary/grievance proceedings. In the case of redundancy proceedings affecting academic members of staff, the Committee would determine at an early stage whether the proposed redundancy pool and criteria represented an infringement of academic freedom.

UCU says:

All cases of academic redundancy involve questions of academic freedom.  We should be free as academics to pursue research into topics which are not currently fashionable.  There are many cases of research generating significant outputs only after many years. Such work would be wiped out at a stroke with the imposition of a short-term audit culture. The consequences of this are all too evident elsewhere in the sector as the situation at Essex demonstrates (sign the petition here: http://speakout.web.ucu.org.uk/university-of-essex/).

Issues of performance inevitably involve questions of academic freedom.  Telling academics that they must publish in certain outlets itself transgresses academic freedom.

The UCU calls on the University to ensure academic freedom by providing job security, lessening its reliance on insecure and badly-paid contracts, and treating its casualised workers with respect.

Matt Western MP on Statute 24

The matter of Statute 24 has been brought to my attention and I am extremely concerned by any possible plans, brought by the administration at Warwick University, to vary the protections afforded by it. I will plan to raise this with the Vice Chancellor, Stuart Croft, when we are able to meet and I hope this will be in the very near future.

Matt Western MP, Warwick & Leamington

Senate backs UCU – Statute 24 proposals refused approval

As outlined in Tuesday’s EGM‎, the University of Warwick Senate was meeting yesterday and amongst the issues being considered was Statute 24. A number of members have emailed us asking what was the outcome.

Please note this is not an official update but we have been informed that, based on the outcome of Assembly, Senate has decided not to approve the proposals as they stand, and not to recommend their adoption by Council in July. Instead, we are told that a sub-committee of Senate will be formed to look at the proposals and only after this has reported will Council consider sending any revised statute to the Privy Council. Obviously this is subject to official confirmation.

If our understanding is correct, then UCU believes this decision is a step in the right direction. UCU will be encouraging management to engage meaningfully over the Statute, Ordinances and Policies in the near future.

A huge thank you to everyone who has been involved in this, to all the people who have signed the petition, to members and non-members who attended and voted in the Assembly, departments who put forward motions (and the staff who took time out of their schedules to write these and provide UCU with a detailed analysis of the reforms).  The fight is not over but, at the least, we have created more time for the changes to be scrutinised more fully and, hopefully, improved by the University for the benefit of the whole academic and student body.

Extraordinary General Meeting – Statute 24

On Tuesday a strong turnout at EGM saw members overwhelmingly support an amended motion rejecting the University’s latest proposals for Statute 24, the associated Ordinances and Policies. The vote is a clear message to the University that what is currently on the table remains far below the sort of terms and conditions that our members would expect at a university which aspires to be world-leading.

The full text of the amended EGM Motion can be read here.

Letter of solidarity from Coventry TUC

Warwick UCU has received the following letter of solidarity from the Coventry TUC which is very heartening. 


Dear Warwick UCU members,

I am writing on behalf of Coventry Trades Union Council to provide fraternal greetings and send a message of solidarity in your ‘Save Our Statute’ campaign. Coventry UCU let us know about the new Vice Chancellor Stuart Croft attempting to repeal Statute 24 that provides your members with protections, particularly in a redundancy situation. This is a clear attack on staff terms and conditions and job security at Warwick University.  If this is allowed to go through then it’s highly likely these moves will be emulated throughout the Higher Education sector in general.

Sadly it has become common for today’s employers to lead a race to the bottom, treating employees as a commodity rather than as individuals that deserve respect. We condemn this kind of attitude and whole-heartedly support your campaign to defend Statute 24.

We understand that you are circulating a petition for lecturers to sign. Most of our affiliated branches aren’t lecturers but they would like to show their support. We would be happy to circulate the petition to the wider Trade Union movement in Coventry. Please let me know if this is something you would like us to do.

Our delegates would also welcome hearing a report directly from your members. We will be meeting on Thursday 15th June and Thursday 20th July. If you would be able to send a representative to one of those meetings please let me know and I will make sure your report is included on the agenda.

We would appreciate it if you would let us know how your campaign progresses. If the campaign needs to be stepped up then we will provide whatever support we can to your branch.

In solidarity,

Coventry TUC

Solidarity Message from Coventry University UCU

SOLIDARITY WITH COLLEAGUES AT WARWICK UNIVERSITY

Coventry University UCU expresses its solidarity with our colleagues in Warwick UCU in its ‘Save Our Statute’ Campaign. This campaign concerns the way the University Management at Warwick are currently seeking to remove Warwick University’s ‘statute reforms’; which involves the repealing of current provisions for redundancy, discipline and dismissal. These changes makes it quicker and easier to sack and discipline members of staff at the University.

This is a clear attack on staff terms and conditions and job security at Warwick University. If this is allowed to go through these moves will be emulated throughout the Higher Education sector in general.

We are concerned that these changes come at a time at which the stress levels experienced by staff in the HE sector are rising considerably. A recent study into this by Prof Ronald Persson, who has previously worked at the University of Huddersfield, noted that:
“The deterioration [in staff well-being] between 2006 and 2010 has been remarkable…The pressure caused by the REF has grown much worse…if you examine newer universities, in particular, they have really embraced the concepts of new public management wholeheartedly,” he added, saying these are a major source of staff unhappiness. (THE 4/5/17)

We see these initiatives as part of a developing approach by University Senior managers in which they have ceased to see themselves as not publicly accountable. British Universities are legally defined as charities and as such they have a responsibility to consider the wider public interest. It is difficult to see how an initiative such as this which increases the power of academic managers is in the interests of staff, students or the wider public.

Coventry University UCU joins the calls across the HE Sector for these changes to be withdrawn as soon as possible.

(Originally posted to Coventry UCU Facebook timeline)


Warwick UCU is very grateful to have received this statement of solidarity from Coventry UCU.

UCU Press Release: MASSIVE VICTORY FOR WARWICK UNIVERSITY ASSEMBLY

STAFF OVERWHELMING REJECT MANAGEMENT REFORMS THAT THREATEN JOB SECURITY AND ACADEMIC FREEDOM.

On 12 May 2017, members of academic staff at the University of Warwick voiced their overwhelming opposition to the university’s plans to gut its employment statute because of their concerns about the impact on academic freedom and job security. 97% of the assembly (over 140 people) voted in favour of a motion calling on the university to rethink its approach.

The motion, proposed by Professor Jimmy Donaghey of Warwick Business School and seconded by Dr Jonathan Davies of the History Department, calls for the university to keep measures for redundancy and serious disciplinary matters within statute and for any changes to statute to be agreed through the democratic structures of the university, including agreement with the recognised trade union.

Professor Donaghey noted that the proposed changes were “regressive” and would impair “the ability of academic staff to be free thinkers”.  He also attacked the university’s claims of equity, arguing that the proposals represented “levelling downwards and not upwards”.  In a strongly-worded statement Professor Donaghey challenged management to justify this “race to the bottom”.

A string of speakers from the floor drew attention to various concerns particularly around academic freedom and ability of the university to recruit world-class scholars. No one spoke against the motion, even when explicitly invited to do so.  Members of management, other than the VC who has to chair assembly meetings, were conspicuous by their absence.

Professor Saul Jacka, one of the longest-serving professors and a member of Senate, drew attention to the fact that while the university’s proposals might be acceptable in times of benign management, he feared for what might happen if any future regime was minded to operate differently. Another speaker from the floor highlighted that since both sides were in clear agreement about the importance of academic freedom, it was important to consider whether the current proposals would extend or curtail academic freedom. He argued that they would inhibit the ability of researchers and teachers to ask those “inconvenient” questions which challenge received wisdom and thereby extend the boundaries of knowledge. Another contribution from the floor dismissed the university’s reforms as unnecessary and urged the vice-chancellor to build trust between academics and management which had suffered much damage during the previous VC’s tenure.

University of Warwick UCU branch president, Dr Justine Mercer, commented:

“This is a hugely important victory. The proposals which are on the table will seriously erode job security and academic freedom. We have been arguing for five months that university management need to take a step back and rethink their approach to this reform. We have offered an alternative model statute for discussion which we would like to see taken forward. A university such as Warwick which aspires to be world-leading should not be undermining academic freedom and eroding the job security of the staff on whom that reputation rests.”

SOS: Assembly 12/05 – Register now.

WARWICK ACADEMICS – ACT NOW!

***Register for the assembly***

SIGN UP FOR THE FORTHCOMING UNIVERSITY ASSEMBLY TO STOP THE DOWNGRADING OF YOUR TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT

Stuart Croft, VC for the University of Warwick, has called an assembly on Friday 12 May (10:30 to 11:30 in Oculus 1.05) over the reform of Warwick’s Employment Statute (Statute 24).

The changes to the Employment Statute being proposed by the Provost constitute a massive downgrading of the redundancy, disciplinary/dismissal, grievance and appeal procedures for staff on academic, teaching-only and research-only contracts. This is the most serious attack on academic freedom and job security since UK universities abolished tenure nearly 30 years ago.

The assembly will vote on a formal motion calling for the university to revise the employment statute, instead of gutting it; and for Council not to approve any changes until they have the support of the affected staff, UCU, Heads of Department and Senate.

The replacement Statute is much weaker than the current one because, amongst other things, it abolishes the Academic Redundancy Committee and the right to have appeals heard by an independent legal expert. Further information about the specific changes can be found at our dedicated website: http://warwickucu.org.uk/campaigns/statute-24/

The Law School and History department have already passed motions opposing the changes. Other departments are scheduling extraordinary staff meetings to discuss this one issue.

The campaign needs everyone’s support. We can’t let down the next generation of Warwick teachers and researchers. We can’t let the legal safeguards that have protected Warwick academics for nearly 30 years get abolished on our watch.

What can I do? 

Warwick UCU committee.

Save Warwick’s Employment Statute

SIGN THE PETITION HERE: http://bit.ly/statutepetition

Senate failed to stop the planned repeal of Warwick’s employment statute (Statute 24), so now we need to protest more loudly. You may have seen the Save Our Statute flyers and posters in UCU colours. More information can be found on the dedicated web pages http://warwickucu.org.uk/campaigns/statute-24/

Poster / Leaflet (front)
Poster / Leaflet (front)
SOS Poster / Leaflet (front)
Poster / Leaflet (front)
Poster / Leaflet (back)
Poster / Leaflet (back)
The campaign needs everyone’s support. We can’t let down the next generation of Warwick teachers and researchers. We can’t let the legal safeguards that have protected Warwick academics for nearly 30 years get abolished on our watch.
What can I do?

  • Talk to everyone in your department so they realise what’s at stake; use the flyers we delivered to staffrooms and pigeon-holes, as well as the UCU Briefing on Statute 24; You can print more or we can send some to you (click on the images above for PDFs you can download and print).
  • Get eligible staff to join UCU so they can vote in the forthcoming ballot;
  • Direct people to the dedicated Warwick UCU Save Our Statute website. It has lots of information and an FAQ section rebutting everything in the official version.
  • Table a motion at your next departmental meeting asking your Head of Department to write to the VC and Provost outlining staff concerns. Several departments have already done this and the passed motions are now being sent to University management.
  • Warwick UCU represents over 800 members of staff, so we shouldn’t have to act individually. But management aren’t listening, so feel free to provide feedback directly to emprelations@warwick.ac.uk.
  • Sign the forthcoming petition.

See the UCU site where this issue is being picked up nationally:

https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/8722/Staff-force-emergency-meeting-at-University-of-Warwick-in-jobs-row?list=1676

Warwick UCU committee.