Report of Meeting with GCU Management Thursday 10th March

The trade union representatives had a meeting with Senior Management this morning from 10 – 12 to discuss the compulsory redundancies announced by management last Thursday evening and the imposition of a number of policies on staff by HR and Senior Management earlier in the year.

The trade unions EIS, UCU, UNISON and UNITE were represented along with their union officials, except for EIS whose official could not attend.

Unfortunately  only one member of the Executive Board of the University chose to attend, Jan Hulme, she was accompanied by Keith Ross, the HR Interim Director and Stella Bartram from HR who took minutes.

The trade unions  put forward their own responses to management’s plans to lose 95 jobs.

These were

1.    An immediate withdrawal of the threat of 95 compulsory redundancies

2.    A suspension of the disputed policies and the re-opening of negotiations on them.

3.    A withdrawal of the current post advertised at £80,000

4.    3 joint review bodies to be immediately established with trade union representatives and Executive representatives, possibly convened by the HR director.  These would review

  • All appointments and associated expenditure, recent and planned, of all senior managers with salaries of more than £70,000.  This would look at salaries, perks and expenses and the process that has created these jobs.
  • GCU London.  Full accounts to be presented to allow an audit of all expenditure and income related to this project, both planned and in the next few years.  This would cover staff travel costs from across the University, accommodation, furniture, marketing, library facilities and so on.
  • All planned and recent Capital Expenditure in the University.

On point 1 Keith Ross stated he would put this point to the Executive but as HR adviser to them it was his view that the 90 day statutory redundancy notice was necessary as 95 posts were planned on being lost.  In the discussion he also conceded that while 95 posts are to be lost many more people potentially could be “at risk” because the management plan to set up pools of staff to determine which 95 staff go.  Although it was also conceded that senior managers would be excluded from these pools.

On point 2 Keith Ross stated that he would put this point to the Executive but that in his view he had followed procedures correctly and that trade unions on campus did not have to be involved in negotiations with the policies he had presented to Court. He reported that he told Court that the Unions had not agreed to these policies.

On points 3 and 4 Keith Ross stated that he would present these points to the Executive.

During the discussion Jan Hulme stated that the University required to save £ 7 million by July.  The unions believe that if the 3 joint review bodies were established and the books opened this expenditure could be saved without the need for one single compulsory redundancy let alone 95.

The Unions have given the Executive a week to respond to these points.

Unfortunately although the Court paper’s description of the meeting (available on the consultation website) states….

10 March 2011            JCC meeting to discuss the proposals and consultation process.  Arrange subsequent schedule of meetings……

no senior management representative was able to confirm a date of when they could meet next and no suggested schedule was presented to trade union representatives.

The Unions will await management’s response.  The EIS have begun the process of consulting their members at GCU on potential industrial action as have UCU,UNISON and UNITE

Dr Nick McKerrell

On behalf of the Combined Union Committee

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