Here are some important statements by management, which are handy to keep as a matter of record:
31/03/2011 From Mike Smith, re the ‘restructuring’:
Message sent on behalf of Professor Mike Smith, Vice-Principal & Pro Vice-Chancellor Strategy
Consultation proposals for Central Support cluster areas
Please find attached two documents:
Cluster Proposals Trade Union Response (please see main blog page for union reponse – unionadmin)
1. The structural proposals for the six new clusters within Central Support areas of the University. These proposals are a starting point for discussions with staff and their representatives regarding cluster structures. We would welcome your views and those of your representatives, along with any alternative suggestions during and prior to the end of the current 90 day consultation period on 6 June 2011.
This document includes some financial information showing the savings, pay and non pay, which have already been achieved towards our £5million target, and outlines how these structural proposals, if implemented, could contribute further to this. It also shows the percentage of post reductions which are being proposed from each grade, including senior management contracts.
As advised in last Friday’s all-staff email, Executive leads for each cluster, along with HR Business Partners, will hold group meetings with the staff in each cluster area following the dissemination of these proposals. I can confirm that these meetings will take place tomorrow (Friday), to enable Executive leads to meet with cluster staff to talk through these proposals and take any queries on the detail of the specific proposals and the rationale behind them. We hope that this will enable everyone to understand what is being proposed so that you will then be able to consider this and provide your views and alternative suggestions to us in due course. Details of the timing for each meeting should now have been communicated to colleagues within each cluster by their senior manager. We have also passed the full schedule to the Trades Unions’ representatives.
2. We provided an advance copy of the proposals to members of our Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) on Tuesday afternoon to enable them to submit initial comments to us so that you might receive these along with the proposals. These initial comments are also attached here. It should be noted that any such comments are preliminary, pending further discussion and time to review the proposals document. The points raised in their response document will be discussed further at our JCC meeting scheduled for this afternoon. Meetings of the JCC will continue to be held on a regular basis throughout the consultation period to provide further opportunities for points to be raised and discussed.
Please note that we have added an additional financial sheet (page 4 of the proposals document) in response to a request from JCC colleagues for this information. You will see this request referred to in the JCC response document. This further financial breakdown shows the proposed changes in numbers of posts at each grade in each cluster, along with the associated savings per cluster based on these.
We look forward to receiving comments and alternative suggestions regarding these proposals. You may pass these on through your manager, via the consultation website feedback mechanism (http://www.gcu.ac.uk/consultation/feedback/) or Trades Union representatives who are members of the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC); details of contacts are provided on the consultation website http://www.gcu.ac.uk/consultation/support/tradeuniondetails/.
Professor Mike Smith
Vice-Principal & Pro Vice-Chancellor Strategy
Chair, Restructuring Coordination Group
21/03/2011 Response from Management:
University Management’s response to proposals made by the Trades Unions on 10 March 2011
The following points comprise the University Management’s response to the proposals made by the Trades Unions presented at the JCC meeting of 10 March 2011 and discussed at the subsequent meeting of 16 March 2011.
Point 1 –‘An immediate withdrawal of the threat of 95 redundancies’
We do not agree that there is a threat of 95 redundancies. In order to make the necessary savings as a result of the difficult funding situation and uncertainty around future government spending on Higher Education, we have made some proposals that could result in a reduction of up to 95 posts. The purpose of the consultation is to seek views on these proposals with a view to identifying measures to avoid compulsory redundancy. We have a statutory obligation to consult if our planning indicates that there could be job losses. We have indicated that throughout the consultation period we will give updates on progress made in achieving savings, and confirmed that we are also intending to achieve savings in non pay budgets, and not solely focussing on staff. We have also indicated that if we achieve the savings required on a recurring basis, we will be able at that time to say that the risk of compulsory redundancy is reduced or withdrawn.
Point 2 – ‘A withdrawal of the 30 day notice period for the 18 staff at Caledonian Environment Centre’
We have agreed that the separate consultation on the Caledonian Environment Centre (CEC) with its 13 staff should be extended in line with the wider 90 day consultation period. It should also be noted that the CEC is currently in a consultation period rather than a ‘notice period’. Detailed analysis of the situation has shown that there is continuing funding until July 2012 for projects involving 5 members of staff in this area, so any immediate risk of redundancy for those individuals can be removed. We have also asked the CEC to review options to see if other elements of the Centre’s work can be put on a sustainable basis and we have already initiated discussions with the incoming Executive Dean of Engineering, Computing and the Environment. This may reduce the risk of redundancy for some of the remaining 8 staff, but we are not yet able to say to what extent this is realistic. The discussions with these staff and their representatives during the consultation period will enable us to determine and review a range of options.
Point 3 – ‘A suspension of the disputed policies and the re-opening of negotiations on them’
We remain of the view that HR policies are subject to consultation and not negotiation and that we have followed appropriate procedures in taking them to Staff Policy Committee and Court for approval. We also wish to reiterate our message that if the CUC have specific concerns about the content of the policies we will address them if they confirm to us what these concerns are. We have agreed that up to two days’ additional facility time should be made available to union representatives to allow them to do that quickly.
Point 4 – ‘A withdrawal of the current post advertised at £80,000’
It is widely recognised that a sustainable university is one which has an international profile and impact. The post of Director of International Office and Student Recruitment, which has been vacant since late December, remains critically important in our strategy to develop the University’s international profile, promote collaborative relationships with universities worldwide and grow our international student numbers. We need to manage no less carefully our home student recruitment in what is set to become an increasingly complex and competitive environment. Particular expertise, skills, knowledge and professional experience are needed to meet these objectives and to secure and grow income streams to support our core mission. As such, this post is an investment in the University’s sustainable future, and it is important that we refill it as a matter of urgency. The type of background and track record of delivery required to undertake these responsibilities successfully is highly marketable and the salary level has been set with regard to benchmark data and the value of this type of post elsewhere.
Point 5 – ‘An immediate audit of the expenditure on GCU London in the last 2 years’
The GCU London project has already been audited and the results of that audit were shared with Trades Unions at the JCC meeting in November 2010. The Vice-Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor (External Relations) has offered to meet with a small group of TU representatives to discuss the GCU London budget and business plan. The Trade Unions have agreed that this would be a useful way forward which would help them formulate a response to the consultation. It should be noted that GCU London is an important part of the University’s strategy to grow income from non-government sources and we welcome the Unions’ confirmation that they are not advocating the closure of GCU London as a solution to current funding pressures. Cutting back or closing GCU London would not reduce the risk of job losses or redundancies at Glasgow. Growing income from GCU London will, however, help secure a sustainable future for the whole University. Already GCU London is performing well against a plan which now takes account of the fact that a decision was made to proceed with an early start date. This date preceded implementation of the full marketing strategy but was favoured to allow for the gradual build up of business as we settled into the new campus. One of the key objectives of the new campus was to promote the visibility of the University within the UK and internationally. The success of this is already apparent in significantly increased postgraduate numbers (and income) in Glasgow in relevant subject areas.
Points 6, 7 and 8
Point 6 – ‘An immediate review of Executive salaries of those earning over £70,000’
Point 7 – ‘An immediate joint review of Executive travel expenses and accommodation’
Point 8 – ‘An immediate joint review between unions and management of all appointments and associated expenditure, recent and planned, that are not part of national pay agreements’
These three points are grouped together as they all reflect the Unions’ wish for information about Senior managers salaries and in particular salaries over £70k, which are not part of the national pay agreements, and about the expenses incurred by employees in this category in the course of their work. We are looking to bring together information to address these points although not necessarily to the level of individual detail that the Unions are seeking. Once the material has been made available to the Unions, further comment is invited in a subsequent JCC meeting.
The Trades Unions clearly have concerns about appropriateness of salary decisions and expenses. Against this background it should be noted that the senior salaries are reviewed by the Remuneration Committee of the Court (for Executive and the other most senior salaries) and the Remuneration Panel which includes the Chair of the Court Remuneration Committee. When making their judgements, the Remuneration Committee and the Remuneration Panel consider institutional performance as well as that of individuals, plus benchmark data and wider contextual information. Expenses of senior staff are scrutinised in detail annually by the Audit Committee, and authorisation of expenditure on non-routine/high value travel is referred to the Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee for approval before it is incurred. As stated in the University’s published Expenses Manual, it is the policy of the University that Members of the University Court, Employees and others are reimbursed for the actual cost of expenses incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of duties on behalf of the University. Expenses are only claimed and processed in accordance with this. The University’s internationalisation strategy has undoubtedly driven higher costs on travel and this is recognised and budgeted for. The investment which this represents is reflected in the increased international income which is now forecast at £8.9m for 2010/11.This University does not have a dedicated Principal’s car or accommodation.
Point 9 – ‘An immediate joint review of all capital expenditure recent and planned’
The University’s capital expenditure has generally been from earmarked lump sum funds from the Scottish Funding Council and as such we are unable to channel this into funding salaries or other areas of recurrent costs. Currently the University funded capital budget on Estates and Information Services is around £1m and it is used to meet both short-term and long-term maintenance and replacement costs. Last year saw the end of a number of years of more substantial Scottish Funding Council capital funding which was applied for example to upgrading lecture theatres, making our buildings more comfortable for work and study as well as improving their energy efficiency.
The University has prepared a master plan for the campus as it is required to do for the purposes of integration within the Glasgow City Council master plan for the city and for the Scottish Funding Council. The master plan, which was approved by the Court in June 2010, looks ahead to the development of the campus over a period of 20-25 years plus. There have been no commitments to any of the large projects within the campus master plan at this time, although scoping for a project which we would hope to implement in the medium term has begun. The project in question relates to developing the environmental sustainability of the campus, reducing our carbon footprint and reducing utilities costs. There are no plans in the near or medium term to develop large scale sport or recreation facilities, although they remain a long-term aspiration for the campus.
We agreed to meet with a small number of union representatives to discuss recent and planned capital expenditure.
14/03/2011 From the Herald: Principal defends plan to axe 95 jobs at university
Andrew Denholm Education Correspondent
THE head of a leading Scottish university has defended proposals to axe up to 95 jobs as part of a cost-cutting exercise.
In an interview with The Herald, Pamela Gillies, principal of Glasgow Caledonian University, said the institution had to make savings of £12 million over the next three years because of public funding cuts.
Ms Gillies, who earns £182,000, stressed the job cuts were also part of a longer-term project to streamline the running of the university, which has already seen a reduction in the number of academic schools from six to three.
And she went on to defend controversial initiatives to open a new satellite operation in London and to use a private company to recruit overseas students to study in Glasgow.
Ms Gillies’ comments came after The Herald revealed last week the university is looking to cut 95 posts in administration services, which includes the running of the library, information technology and student support and recruitment.
“Two years ago, we drew up plans with the university court because we foresaw that budgets were going to get tighter,” she said. “We decided we had to focus on our academic strengths and invest in what we were really good at and disinvest in things we were less good at.
“That resulted in the university moving from six schools down to three and, because of that, there is now some duplication in our support and administrative functions and we have identified posts that will have to go.”
Ms Gillies said the job cuts were made more pressing because of the current financial climate. However, she said the university would do everything in its power to avoid compulsory redundancies.
“The reality is that we are facing massive cuts and we have to deal with that by becoming more efficient, which is what we are doing,” she said. “We are very much hoping to avoid the compulsory redundancy route by looking at redeployment, voluntary severance, non-filling of vacancies and early retirement.”
Despite the cuts, Ms Gillies said Glasgow Caledonian has been extremely well managed financially and, she believes, has invested in a number of projects which are now bringing additional money into the university. The first is a controversial partnership with private company INTO to recruit and teach overseas students.
Under the arrangement, INTO recruits overseas students to a feeder college based at Glasgow Caledonian, where they do basic language and foundation courses and are then guaranteed entry to a degree programme.
The move provoked anger from campus unions who warned of the “creeping privatisation” of higher education.
Early indications also seemed to show the initiative was struggling to make a profit, with accounts showing a loss of £213,000 in 2007/08.
There was equal controversy over Glasgow Caledonian’s plan to open a £1m satellite office in London to offer postgraduate courses in business to overseas students with fees up to £12,000 a year. Unions said initial numbers were much lower than the university target and called for a renewed focus on courses in Glasgow.
Ms Gillies said the two initiatives would reap benefits for the university in future years. She said: “We have invested in areas that we feel we will gain a financial return from that we can feed back into our education and social missions in Glasgow and elsewhere.
“That is why we have invested in INTO college and it has been hugely successful, bringing us a £1.5m surplus year on year.
“Not only that, it has improved the cultural environment for all our students on campus because the international students have brought with them their culture and their language. The other major project we are investing in is GCU London, which, again, we believe has been a remarkable success and it will also bring money into the university which we can reinvest.”
The university hopes to have a surplus of at least £1m by next year from GCU London.
“These initiatives are all about creating extra revenue that will help build a sustainable future for the university and minimise any job losses in the future,” she added.
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02/03/2011 From the Scotsman: Letter: Hail Caledonian
Your report, “Glasgow Caledonian staff fury at university hypocrisy” (1 March), failed to carry any balancing views from the university itself. For the record, Glasgow Caledonian University does not pay its senior staff more than comparable universities and the nine staff to whom you refer represent only a small proportion of our total staff of more than 1,600.
The university’s remuneration strategy obviously needs to be competitive in order to attract the best staff, but salaries are certainly not out of step with general market rates in the university sector and are regularly benchmarked and agreed by an independent remuneration committee of the University Court.
The university, in common with the academic and public sector in Scotland, is dealing with the impact of a major cut in its funding from the Scottish Government.
During this difficult period, sound, strong academic and strategic leadership is more important than ever and Glasgow Caledonian has a small, high-quality team who we are confident will guide us through these troubled times and will be the driving force behind our future growth and development.
Glasgow Caledonian University
For a union response to this – see Mary Senior’s letter on this blogs main page
11/02/2011 All GCU e-mail from Keith Ross, Interim HR Director
From: Ross, Keith
Sent: 11 February 2011 16:42
To: * GCU All Staff
Subject: Dispute with Campus Trade Unions
This e-mail sets out the background to the current dispute with campus trade unions
I am writing to you to explain the University’s position on the difference of view between the University and the campus trade unions on the status of the revised HR policies which were recently approved by Staff Policy Committee (SPC) and Court. You may have received communication from or been given advice from your trade union regarding this.
The relevant policies are noted at the end of this e-mail and can be found at http://www.gcu.ac.uk/hr/policies/general.html
The terms of reference of the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) state that HR policies are subject to consultation and not negotiation. The University has consulted the campus trade unions about these policies. It is acknowledged that we have not reached agreement with the trade unions on all aspects of all these policies and they were approved by SPC and Court in this knowledge.
We have requested written feedback from the Combined Union Committee (CUC) on any matters in these policies about which they have concerns so that these concerns can be considered. We have also indicated that if, as a result of considering these concerns, the approved policies could benefit from amendments, we will resubmit the policies with amendments to SPC and Court for approval. The draft policies were circulated to campus trade unions in mid August, and they have no doubt consulted you on their content. We received written feedback on the Complaints Resolution policy which was very helpful. We also received helpful written feedback on the Grading Review policy. However we have not received written feedback on the other policies although they were discussed at the Joint Consultative Committee meetings and we have sought to incorporate comments made in the final versions that were approved by Court.
It is not clear what the real concerns are about the policies, what the joint views of the trade unions are as opposed to the views of individual representatives, or what are ancillary matters related to government policy, personal views, UK national union policy and alternative views about the University’s strategy and priorities. It is because of this that we are seeking a statement from the campus trade unions about specific policy matters that remain of concern.
The campus trade unions have argued that HR policies should be subject to negotiation because they may have implications for terms and conditions of employment (which are subject to negotiation), and because in the past some policies have reached an agreed way forward through a consultation process. The University does not agree that because of this, all policies are subject to negotiation until agreement is reached. Such an approach means that campus trade unions can veto the introduction of any new or revised policy by simply refusing to reach an agreed position. This is an unsustainable situation as the University has to have employment policies in place to meet legal and other requirements.
The current position is that the policies are approved University policies, and they will form the basis on which decisions about relevant matters will be taken. Campus trade unions have declared a dispute unless the policies are suspended pending formal negotiations. The first step towards any resolution to a dispute is for the trade unions to give written confirmation of any points in the policies with which they disagree – a request we made in August.
Campus trade unions have also indicated that they will advise their members not to attend any meetings associated with these policies while they are in dispute. While it is up to every member of staff to decide how to respond to such advice from their trade union representative, you should know that these policies are consistent with statutory requirements and ACAS guidance, and the position of the campus trade unions does not mean that grievances, appeals, grading reviews and performance issues will not be addressed.
At a time when the University is facing significant challenges to meet the financial situation and the consequences of that situation for the structure and future sustainability of the University, it is in the best interests of both the staff and the University that we have clear policies and that we maintain dialogue with your trade union representatives. However if we are to address any concerns that you or your trade unions have with the new policies we need to know what their stated position is in order to respond to it, and we do not regard it as an unreasonable request to make.
I will continue to update you on the situation as it progresses, but if you have any questions please feel free to contact your line manager or HR Business Partner.
• Complaints Resolution Policy
• Disciplinary Policy
• Capability Policy
• Investigation Policy
• Avoidance of Redundancy Policy
• Redeployment Policy
• Redundancy Policy
• Redundancy Pay Policy
• Grading Review Policy
· Framework for Staff Working Overseas
Keith Ross | Interim HR Director | Human Resources
(For the Union response to this see – Classic Mis-Management)
04/02/2011 E-mail from Keith Ross, Interim Director HR, on behalf of the GCU Senior Management to TU representatives at GCU
Subject: Feedback from Executive Board
Further to our informal meeting on Monday this week, I agreed to discuss with EB the issues that were raised. I circulated to you a summary of our meeting and amended it in the light of the feedback I received. I raised the matter at EB on Wednesday this week, and this e-mail is my report back to you.
EB did not accept that the trade unions had not been consulted on the policies.
EB reiterated the view that if there are specific matters on the individual policies which are of concern to the trade unions, these concerns should be communicated in writing by CUC to the Interim HR Director.
EB indicated that should any such concerns result in proposed amendments to the policies, any amended policies would go back to SPC and Court for approval
EB noted the views of the Trade Unions but did not accept your view that HR policies were a matter for negotiation as opposed to consultation.
EB noted that the committee was constituted as a joint consultative committee and specifically referred to consultation on HR policies
If CUC have any such outstanding concerns that they wish to raise, they can be addressed at an early meeting of the JCC, once these concerns have been communicated in writing. In the meantime the policies have been approved by SPC and Court, having acknowledged that they were subject to consultation but not agreement, and that status remains.
It is acknowledged that the consultation process should be conducted with a view to achieving an agreement, but under the terms of reference for the JCC they are not matters for negotiation.
If you wish to discuss this further I will be happy to meet with you
Keith Ross | Interim HR Director | Human Resources