Update on ISD redundancies - sign our open letter

7 May 2021

Please sign our open letter in support of your colleagues in ISD, circulate this message, and consider sending a personal message to the director of ISD.

Please sign our open letter in support of your colleagues in ISD, circulate this message, and consider sending a personal message to the director of ISD.

38 colleagues remain at risk of redundancy. UCL has repeatedly refused to rule out compulsory redundancies or extend the consultation to 90 days.

A fresh consultation will start on transferring some staff from the Health Creatives group to the hospital trusts where they do much of their work.

Following initial consultation, and widespread lobbying by colleagues who collaborate with the Health Creatives and Digital Media teams, UCL has made some superficial changes to the proposal, creating 4 new posts, only 2 of which are assigned directly to those at risk.

But there is a catch: the new posts will be precariously funded. Claiming a lack of core funding, the posts will be subject to full cost recovery at near full market rates. Redundancy notices will follow if insufficient income is generated to cover the cost of the posts. Existing colleagues unsuccessful in their application for the limited number of posts will be given the option of working as contractors, competing with external suppliers in a new gig economy.

In contrast, elsewhere in ISD, the same proposal creates core funded posts to regularise the employment of day rate contractors. All new posts should be core funded.

Why should UCL departments have to pay twice? UCL top-slices departmental budgets, and now wants to dramatically increase the cost of these services, putting them beyond reach of many projects.

The new proposal sticks with the outsourcing agenda by adopting an agency model, directly contradicting the lobbying feedback from colleagues, and introducing many of the disadvantages of using an external agency.

Relationships are key to creative work. With over 100 years of combined service in the graphic design area alone, colleagues are embedded in academic teams at UCL and are often involved in teaching staff and students. These relationships will be destroyed if the proposal goes ahead.

ISD needs an increase in funding, not ‘cost-neutral’ changes that sacrifice several groups of essential staff to fund new posts.

Click here to visit the UCL website about the proposal. The site neglects to mention the scale of redundancies or outsourcing.

Click here for details of the original proposal.