In a ballot of all Unison members at Glasgow Caledonian, and with a turnout of over 60 percent, an incredible 97% have voted in favour of being balloted on industrial action.
In response to GCU Management plans for devastating cuts at the university, UNISON, the largest trade union at Glasgow Caledonian University representing both academics and support staff, conducted a consultative ballot of members this week. The ballot asked members if they were in favour of being balloted on industrial action – with 97 per cent voting in favour of the move.
This action follows an announcement byManagement last month of plans to cut 95 jobs, a move which staff say will hit the most vulnerable students hardest. But union officials are still hopeful that a dispute can be avoided and are urging university bosses to withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies and to think twice about implementing such devastating cuts.
Following David Beeby’s announcement at 7.30pm yesterday evening the GCU Combined Union Committee have issued the following statement
“The trade unions at Glasgow Caledonian note with astonishment the statement from senior management that the UK Borders Agency has suspended our licence to recruit international students for 28 days. This is the first time this has ever happened to a University in the United Kingdom.
The unions believe serious questions must be asked of our senior management that have allowed this situation to develop. This move will damage our reputation internationally and domestically. It also seems to confirm the warnings that the Combined Union Committee have made over the increasingly risky strategic decisions management have made concerning the University. Continue reading →
Earlier today (Wednesday 19th) , David Beeby,Vice-Principal Internationalisation, and Head of Finance at GCU, informed all staff that:
“You may be aware that GCU is cooperating with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to address issues specific to a group of international students on the BSc Nursing/BSc Professional Development.
We expect to have these resolved in the near future, and as conversations are ongoing, the UKBA has required the University to implement a 28 day suspension of our processing of immigration paperwork, as their processes require.
While we feel that this action is disproportionate, we are cooperating with the UKBA to fully understand the issues and implement any changes needed as a result. Continue reading →
A previous post iPad2s for them and P45s for us? pointed out the incongruity of ten iPad2s being purchased for the GCU executive on the same day as the 90 day notices regarding possible redundancies were issued to staff. A UCU member has reminded us of University guidelines on Value for Money, which were issued to all staff at the start of this year.
Week 5 of our campaign against the 95 redundancies has begun.
Last week saw the plans for the cuts to Central Service Clusters and a series of all staff meetings convened by management. The initial union response was circulated last week and we attended as many of the meetings as we could. All the unions will be preparing a more detailed response to the plans in the next 3 weeks. Continue reading →
Sustainability as a concept is great - but it needs to be a collective effort involving our staff, not discarding them
The irony may be lost on some but in a month when specialist researchers in the Caledonian Environment Centre are facing the prospect of job cuts, the University prints a dedicated sustainability issue of the University’s public facing magazine, highlighting the contribution the University is making to the green agenda. Over the past year the University has promoted its commitment to the environment though Eco-Campus and Carbon Management initiatives, but at the first hint of a potential shortfall or delay in funding put an entire team on statutory consultation. Continue reading →
Whatever the consequences of the proposed re-structuring for staff including the hard pressed staff in HR, one person will not have to deal with the fallout.
It seems clear from the cluster meetings held last Week that Keith Ross, the temporary head of HR, will be leaving in June. Keith, it is alleged, has been employed on the basis of a rolling contract. The latest one finishes in June.
Who is Keith? Well the Health Professional Council website tells us:
“Keith Ross is a self-employed HR and management consultant. He concentrates on human resources assignments and management roles mainly in the public sector – specifically in the health and education fields. Before becoming self-employed, Keith had a 20-year career in Human Resources roles in the Scottish Health Service and latterly was Director of Human Resources for a Scottish Health Board and an acute NHS Trust. He specialises in management of change and has spent two periods of one year at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh during periods of major structural change”
An examination of what happened at Heriot-Watt would show that there, staff ended up voting for strike action over the imposition of an inflexible performance management system associated with Keith Ross.
Did our senior management know this? If not, why not? Or if so, what were management’s aims in making this appointment?
We do not believe the HR system of a multi-million crucial Scottish university like our own can responsibly be put in the temporary hands of consultants. We believe our staff, students and the Scottish community we are answerable to deserve better.
Media coverage over the weekend indicates a growing disquiet in Scotland’s media over the proposed cuts to our University being pushed through by senior management. The BBC website headlined on the 1st April with “Glasgow Caledonian University sets out 95 job cut plans“, while a day later The Herald reported “University is told jobs cuts premature” and the same day’s Evening Times reported “Anger over city uni’s bid to close support centre“.
Media esteem is important for everyone who has the interests of GCU and particularly of Glasgow’s communities at heart. Our staff are rightly proud of the job we have done and continue to do for our students – many of whom, as the media articles point out, come from families where going to university is not the norm. We need to keep the confidence of Scotland’s communities and our young people. Senior management actions increasingly put us in danger of losing that reputation. As always we call upon them to consider the alternatives to their short sighted policies, and negotiate seriously on a way out from what would undoubtedly be a disastrous course for our staff, our students, and the communities which depend upon us.
Note: All articles mentioned above can be found via our Media Coverage pages
The University and College Union (UCU) today warned that strike action could not be ruled out at Glasgow Caledonian University after the institution confirmed plans for 95 job losses.
The union said plans to increase the number of management posts as frontline staff were sacked were outrageous and called for an immediate recruitment freeze until the dispute had been resolved. UCU says the university has still not properly consulted over the drastic changes and needs to row back from today’s announcement and consult properly.
The union says the university’s proposals will fundamentally damage the institution’s stated aim to widen access to university for students from the poorest backgrounds and undermine its quality of teaching and learning. As well as teaching jobs, some of the posts facing the axe are ones that help the very students the university purports to want to attract and help stay on at university.
Earlier this month, MSPs Bill Kidd and Elaine Smith spoke at protests at the university over the job losses and condemned the management plans.
UCU Scottish official, Mary Senior, said: “The proposals from Glasgow Caledonian University management propose cutting frontline staff but, perversely, increasing management posts. The university needs to stop the process now and start talking to us. At present we cannot rule out strike action and rest assured that we will oppose any compulsory redundancies.”
Firstly the Trade Union acknowledges we were given sight of this document (Cluster Proposals ) 48 hours before it was issued to all staff. However it is very difficult to understand the proposed changes without seeing the current structures, and the University’s failure to provide all the appropriate information may render the consultation less than meaningful.
Indeed without this information there is an undermining of trade union representation as these figures will mean a lot to staff who could lose their posts, but for full time officials and local union reps who have agreed to confidentiality and thus cannot consult with affected members we have in a sense one hand tied behind our back. Continue reading →