UCL unilaterally changes redundancy payments scheme to severe detriment of staff with 5 or more years service
UCL Senior Reps to meet with HR. The Branch Chair, Secretary and Vice-Chair will be discussing this issue (and several others) with UCL HR in a meeting at 11am on Thursday 8th February.
UCL Redundancy Pay Calculator added - click here for spreadsheet
UCL Members Condemn Redundancy Pay Changes - Motion passed unanimously
Links To Sections on This Page
In a move guaranteed to reduce the morale of long-serving employees even further, UCL have unilaterally changed their redundancy payments scheme in a way that will cause the large majority of staff severe detriment.
This comes at a time when UCL are making nearly 400 permanent posts redundant under the Provost's "Regeneration Plan". In addition to this further posts are being shed as a result of Departmental and Faculty "reviews" and "restructuring". Most of the staff in the posts being shed have been with UCL for many years. It is these staff who will be affected by the changes.
the old scheme, employees would receive the following payments if they were
the new scheme, the payment will be 1.5 times the statutory redundancy payment
(number of weeks as before, weekly pay capped at £290pw, rising to £310pw from
These changes will be detrimental to all staff with 10 or more years service, and staff on Grade 6 or above with 5 or more years service. The detriment gets worse as salary and length of service increase. There will be a small benefit for staff with less than 5 years service, but at most this will be £580 (£620 from 01 Feb 2007). We have provided some worked examples at the bottom of this page.
Particularly galling is the effect that this will have on staff who could take early retirement on grounds of redundancy. As they would almost all have 10 or more years service, they will suffer quite large detriment if made redundant. For someone with 20 or more years of service, their redundancy lump sum under the old scheme would have been enough to buy 3 or 4 additional years of contributions to their pension scheme. Under the new scheme they would be lucky if they could buy more than one year.
All three trade unions at UCL are shocked at this, and have written jointly to Sarah Brant, HR Director, complaining and requesting an urgent meeting.
UCL Amicus are opposed to all compulsory redundancies and will support all members who wish to fight any redundancy proposal involving them.
UCL have made these changes without negotiating, or having meaningful consultation, with the trade unions. They did not even have the common courtesy to inform us that they were making the changes. We only discovered the changes due to cases involving UCU and UNISON members.
UCL are arguing that there was no need to negotiate or consult with the trade unions as the old scheme was "non-contractual". We dispute this. The scheme had been operated consistently and automatically over a period of several years. It was well known to the trade unions and was widely known throughout UCL. As such, it had become an implied term, acquired through custom and practice. Therefore, any changes should have been negotiated.
UCL are arguing that the changes were required to comply with the Employment Equality (Age Discrimination) Regulations which came into effect on 1 October last year. This is untrue.
Under the regulations, any benefit acquired after 5 or fewer years service is exempt. There was no requirement to remove the lifting of the cap on weekly pay for the calculations.
Benefits that require more than 5 years service to acquire are allowed if the employer can justify them objectively. Such a justification can include rewarding loyalty or experience, or retaining experienced staff. This was the reason for the doubling of actual weekly pay for staff with 10 or more years service under the old scheme. There was no requirement to axe the doubling of weekly pay for long serving staff.
The only requirement placed on UCL by the regulations was to remove the upper and lower age limits for eligibility.
We can only speculate as to UCL's real reasons for doing this. Several possibilities have been mooted.
Of course, there could be other reasons. Any suggestions or information, please email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As stated above, the trade unions have written to Sarah Brant requesting an urgent meeting. Our hope is that we can negotiate a return to the old scheme, or an acceptable alternative. We would aim to improve on the old scheme if this was possible. We would also seek to retain the improved payments to staff who benefit under the new scheme.
If talks are refused or are unsuccessful, it may be necessary to pursue the dispute through industrial action which may or may not include strike action. If this is the case, all members at UCL will be balloted by the union and we will be recommending a vote in favour. Industrial action is always the last resort. Our hope is always that disputes can be resolved without it.
* Inclusive of London Weighting