Tag Archives: Cuts

GCU Unions – Management do not have a monopoly on wisdom

The trade unions at GCU note that Court endorsed the Executive proposals on restructuring at their meeting yesterday.

Whilst happy with the removal of the threat of 95 compulsory redundancies, which was made by the Executive on 18th May, the trade unions are disappointed that none of the suggestions and alternatives to the management driven structures have been taken on board either by the Executive or the Court.

Staff in many support clusters took time and energy to put forward viable alternative models for many of the clusters both through their trade union reps and individually. These have been dismissed either with cursory comments or in many cases no comment at all.

Thus many front line services will be lost and senior management posts have been created without a full explanation of why alternatives were not considered.

The Unions are aware that although the threat of compulsory redundancies has been removed many staff who possibly do not have positions within the new structures will feel vulnerable.

Just as your Unions forced management to withdraw their ill conceived plans for compulsory redundancies, we will also ensure that all staff at GCU will be fully protected and not forced out the back door in the restructuring process.

Meanwhile a reminder – celebrate VE day – Victory in Education Day, and the withdrawal of the compulsory redundancies. Friday 10th June 5pm till late. Dows Bar, Dundas Street Glasgow.
We’ll see you there!

Scottish Parliament hears the case for reform of University Governance

A packed committee room heard reports of university governance 'not fit for purpose'

A packed Committee Room 1 of the Scottish Parliament heard calls for bringing democracy to the present system of University Governance – widely seen as ‘not fit for purpose’, in the view of university staff from the majority of Scotland’s universities. MSPs from the governing SNP, and from Labour and the Greens were clearly disturbed by the reports given to them about lack of serious governance by respective university courts from staff across the sector, following the lobby, organised by the UCU and EIS on 25th May.

The anger amongst those who are beginning to find out about how governance is exercised was shown in the intervention in the discussion by Nationalist MSP Bill Kidd who had visited GCU and spoken to staff several times over the past year. Stating his opinion that  “I don’t think these people are fit to be in charge of the University”, he went on to call for  “a complete overhaul of the governance of universities and colleges.”  Clare Baker, Labour’s shadow spokeswoman on Education stated to the meeting  “You have made a very strong case for the need to look at governance and we will support moves towards this”. This was echoed by Green Party leader Patrick Harvie who added “Management need to act as leaders of a community, not as CEOs of a business”

Brian Pillans from Caledonian UCU updates MSPs, flanked on his left by Clare Baker, Labour Education Spokesperson

Representing the unions at GCU, Brian Pillans updated those present on the victory achieved by the unions at GCU. This had shown what was possible, and he thanked parties of all colours for their support and their  pressure on management. This support had also come from the students, the media and the wider community, without whose support the victory would not have been won.  This victory had been at great and needless cost to staff however, due to the totally unnecessary actions of senior management who had followed a flawed strategy from the beginning, rather than working with the unions.

On the question of future changes to governance, Brian suggested that those who argued for universities to be run as a business could not ignore the accountability which was was now built into private sector governance following necessary reforms. Some serious work needed carried out on practical mechanisms which would continue to guarantee academic independence of the sector, but also ensure that the use of public money was always transparent and those using it were accountable to the wider community.

Cupcakes, illustrated Principals' salaries (excluding pensions and other benefits!), including our own Principal's at £182,000

During the meeting MSPs were clearly surprised at the level of salaries being paid to senior management and to university principals, details of which are downloadable here.

Eyebrows were also raised at the number of senior staff at GCU earning more than the First Minister of Scotland, and indeed, more than the Prime Minister David Cameron.

Outside in the lobby, the media had been interested in the cupcakes representing the salaries of University principals. These included the salary of our own at £182,000, not including pensions and other benefits.

Strathclyde University Students whose course is threatened by cuts

As well as the cupcakes providing sustenance, Liam Burns, outgoing NUS president offered support and students from the threatened music course at Strathclyde University entertained the crowd (as did a mysterious ‘fat-cat’ who members may also recall seeing at similar events at GCU).

Further photos can be found on Caledonian Union’s flickr site here

A university fat cat with a crisis of conscience?

GCU Petition to Court launched as UCU and EIS decide for action

Following senior management rejection of the joint Trade Unions offer to work together to lobby the new government for additional funding if the threat of compulsory redundancies was lifted, an all staff petition has been launched to pressurise the University Court to live up to its responsibilities towards GCU.
This reads:

Dear Chair of Court
We the undersigned as members of staff at GCU oppose the threat of 95 compulsory redundancies and ask management to follow Glasgow University’s lead and to withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies until the new Scottish Government has formed and, in the meantime, to engage with the campus unions on a positive way forward. In return, the unions will pause their local campaign.

Already this is gaining widespread support with some departments reporting unanimous backing from staff on its first day of launch. The petition can be downloaded here.

Please use it in your own department if you haven’t personally been approached about it yet. Return it to any union rep of any of the campus unions.
Meanwhile the local branch of UCU voted unanimously for the following motion at it’s meeting on May 3rd:

Compulsory Redundancies
In light of the decision by GCU management to reject the offer of a cessation of the campaign being conducted by UCU and other campus unions against the threat of compulsory redundancy, GCU UCU members instruct the branch office bearers to construct the dispute with management as a legally defined trade dispute in order to allow members to be balloted on industrial action in furtherance of the dispute over compulsory redundancies of UCU members at GCU.

The local branch of EIS will be meeting on Monday to consider its action to help make senior management remove the threat of compulsory redundancies.

They have issued the following message to EIS members:

Hi All,

I hope you all had a restful weekend at a very stressful time at the University.

You may have been directly informed that there was an official Yes vote for our action short of strike action with 72% in favour. This is likely to commence next week.

To discuss this – what it means for us as EIS members at GCU and how it fits in with our local battles against redundancies there will be an EIS/ULA meeting next Monday.

Try and come along as we are facing a critical battle in the next few weeks at GCU.

Glasgow Caledonian EIS/ULA

Meeting:

Industrial Action

Monday 9th May

Room W715

12 Noon


					

Adding insult to injury: GCU management organise line manager workshops for ‘when you have to give bad news’ at GCU

In an incredibly insensitive e-mail to GCU all staff  the GCU OD department are now publicly advertising workships for line-managers on ‘handling difficult conversations’.

Described as ‘a range of resources available to staff to support during the restructuring process’ the e-mail image below is  perhaps ‘worth a thousand words’, or at least more than a thousand management claims that they are aiming to lift the threat of compulsory redundancies if and when possible. If this was honestly the case, then why the line manager workshops? Continue reading

Management at GCU spurn trade union olive branch and continue with threat of redundancies

To begin with a quote from the message management formally gave the Unions at the consultation meeting yesterday

We are not at this moment in a position to guarantee no compulsory redundancies, but have stated that we will remove the risk of redundancy in respect of this consultation if and when we are in a position to do so”

This was followed by the email yesterday which said that management could “ unequivocally confirm”  that there would be no threat to school based staff.   Management informed us of this yesterday and asked the unions to endorse this move, we rejected this.    The Unions have never been given detailed structures of what the  administrative support for schools would be – unlike in the Central Clusters.  This was confirmed in the message of Mike Smith on 18th April:

“You may recall that the University Court paper dated 3 March provided some information regarding the proposals for administrative and support structures in the new Schools.  The Restructuring Coordination Group are continuing to work on further detail regarding these proposals, including financial analysis of where savings could be made within Schools in order to contribute to our £5million savings target.  We plan to circulate this additional proposal information week commencing 2 May.”

Further today a message has been sent out that this promise has been extended to staff in Facilities and Estate management.

“Divide and Rule”   Continue reading

Unions at GCU call for emergency meeting of Court, and immediate independent inquiry into Senior Management

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

New Question on Value for Money regarding iPads for Executive at GCU

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.

These guidelines are reprinted below: Continue reading