Response to the Provost
Dear UCLUCU Member,
Attached below is UCLUCU's response to the comments made by the
Provost about our current ballot of members in his latest all-staff
Please note that an important lunchtime meeting has been arranged
TOMORROW 18 March in Roberts 508 (Roberts Building, Torrington Place)
1-2pm for all UCLUCU departmental reps to provide a briefing on
branch strategy to get the vote out.
Please feel free to bring along UCLUCU colleagues who would be
interested in helping with the ballot.
RESPONSE TO THE PROVOST:
We are responding to the comments you made in your "Provost's
all-staff email of 15 March regarding the current UCU ballot of
UCU believes the most serious issue revealed by your message is
unfortunate absence of insight into why staff might have voted,
separate General Meetings of UCU members since November, for a ballot
industrial action to defend jobs and stand up against the redundancy
Academics across UCL have expressed their deep concern about the
that is being set in Life Sciences. Academic-related, professional
technical staff see themselves in a similar position to those facing
redundancy in Arts and Humanities, Life Sciences, the Registry and
elsewhere. The entire University community is concerned about the
university UCL is becoming.
On 3 July 2009, when you announced the proposed cuts targets to
unions, we urged you to develop outline plans but then hold back
implementation. This would offer staff the opportunity to engage
meaningful debate about the future of University College, so that
across UCL could discuss the implication of proposals in other departments
than their own and engage in what is popularly known as 'joined-up
thinking', or indeed collegiality, while simultaneously placing
Education funding and the consequence of cuts, at the centre of
public debate. This has not happened.The consequence of this refusal
Directors and Deans have been given the responsibility for developing
implementing change proposals at a local level where the global
easily and sadly lost. Moreover where specific proposals are presented
have offered little opportunity for manoeuvre by staff, managers
understand workload implications of changes, leading to fewer posts
zero-sum competition between colleagues.
The present consultation over the Life Sciences criteria does not
a debate about future Life Science academic priorities and how best
be achieved. Rather, we believe it resembles an academic cull premised
narrow, retrospective 'performance' criteria.
We have attempted for months to get Senior Management to consult
meaningfully over the cuts programme. For the reasons outlined above
'consultation' offered remains insufficient.
There remains an opportunity for you to repair this breach of faith
staff. You could:
- withdraw the academic redundancy committee and the threat to
make compulsory academic redundancies in Life Sciences.
- engage in college-wide consultation, as we have proposed previously,
to avoid compulsory redundancies among support staff.
- without precondition, support an open series of debates in
the College community on the future of UCL.
You will be aware that Leeds University yesterday bowed to pressure
staff and signed an agreement with Leeds UCU yesterday, 16 March.
The main features of the agreement include a new sector-leading
managing organisational change; this reinforces collegiality and
engagement of staff. This represents a ground-breaking package enshrining
the principles of openness, fairness, transparency and good governance
detailed new policies and procedures to promote job security, avoid
redundancy and manage change. The agreement also covers the position
Faculty of Biological Sciences (FBS), where the post-restructuring
phase entitled "various steps aimed at avoiding compulsory
will be extended to the end of January 2011. New measures to facilitate
redeployment and retraining and where appropriate the reinvigoration
research work are to be piloted in FBS.
We are simply asking that UCL agrees to consult with staff and trades
in a like manner, and avoid a damaging dispute.
Most of all we believe that we should be working together to put
political parties to support proper funding for UK Universities.
We could be
saying together, to Gordon Brown and David Cameron, that cutting
in a recession is perverse. Were our finances so dire that academic
redundancies were demonstrably necessary (unlike at present), you
explaining to the public at large the implications of government
independent publicly-funded research and broad access to Higher
YouTube statement of belief in HE, while welcome, is frankly insufficient.
The time for sound-bites is over.
You will be aware that there are a number of global examples where
governments are diverting large funds to their HE sectors precisely
counteract the effects of the economic downturn and ensure their
universities are in a healthy state to benefit from the economic
In summary, we believe that you have chosen to misrepresent UCL
position, partly out of expressing an understandable but unhelpful
Managerial position, but also because you have misunderstood the
serious concern and anger of staff at your proposals.
We would welcome a public right of reply.