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Statute 18 consultation extended

Dear UCU member,

In this newsletter:

  1. Statute 18 consultation extended
  2. UCU's formal response to consultation
  3. A correction + an unreserved apology

1. STATUTE 18 CONSULTATION EXTENDED

UCL Senior Management has acquiesced to UCU's call to extend the consultation over Statute 18 into the Autumn term. This demand was supported by all three trade unions, the student union UCLU, and called for in a petition to the Provost which had, by 10 July, garnered the names of over 250 professors and other members of Academic Board.

The decision was circulated to staff in a UCL News Email on 27 July.

We call on Management to take this opportunity to genuinely incorporate the views of the majority of the university in any future proposal through negotiating with the trade unions. In particular as a result of this decision, a timescale for negotiation is now possible which would allow us to consult with our members over any proposed changes in their contractual rights during term-time. Further meetings with management are proposed from September, and (naturally) we will keep members informed.

2. UCU'S FORMAL RESPONSE TO CONSULTATION

Following the July meeting of Academic Board, UCU submitted a detailed response to the management proposal. The letter discusses three ways forward for consultation, including adoption of the UCU Model Statute (attached as an appendix), and our position on these different approaches. It discusses how complaints over Academic Freedom may be addressed and the applicability of statutes to all staff.

It also spells out your union's "red lines" we believe are not negotiable:-

"In summary, any proposal adopted by management will be unacceptable if it does not contain the following three elements:
(a) Retention of Redundancy Committee provisions and any other hearing where the outcome may be dismissal within Statute;
(b) Procedures for handling other complaints arising at other times on grounds of Academic Freedom to be within Statute;
(c) Retention in Statute of the right to legally qualified representatives in hearings."

Our response is here.

3. A CORRECTION + AN UNRESERVED APOLOGY

We wish to correct an element from the report on AB from our recent all-members email.

We mistakenly stated that Andrea Townsend-Nicholson seemed to be putting forward a proposal with no mandate at AB. We can now clarify that as the convenor of the non-professorial group on AB, she has a mandate to consult non-professorial members, and had put together the proposal with feedback/agreement from a group of these members of AB (our original impression was formed through consulting non-professorial AB members who had not seen the proposals or been consulted, but this is clearly due to changing email lists). The situation was complicated by the fact the proposal had been made available to the Provost in advance of the meeting, but was not then made available by him to the rest of the Academic Board (we do not know why, and there is no suggestion that Andrea was in any way at fault here).

This did mean that in the meeting the terms of the proposal being discussed seemed vague and worrying, as they were not before us on paper. They were also focused-on by management to the detriment of other proposals - including those representative of UCL UCU membership. Having now seen the text these proposals, we do not think they are objectionable or damaging, but rather complementary, to the proposals we circulated to all members of AB, with one caveat. The proposals do not include the retention in statute of legal representation for academic staff in dismissal proceedings. The retention of legal representation remains a red line for UCU, and we will continue to insist on this, and ultimately on expansion by levelling-up, of all safeguards necessary for the protection of staff and of academic freedom.

We wish, nevertheless, to unequivocally apologise to Andrea for misrepresenting her position and status in the earlier report.

A corrected report has been posted on our website. The proposal from the Non-Prof AB members is also posted.

UCL UCU Executive Committee

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