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 whenpossible. If this was honestly the case, then why the line manager workshops? Continue reading →
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.
The story that GCU has become the first UK University to lose its licence to recruit international students, has been treated as a serious matter by media outlets through the UK and wider afield, thus giving weight to the fears of GCU unions that ‘This move will damage our reputation internationally and domestically’. It adds urgency to the need for the Chair of University Court to convene an emergency meeting to examine this serious situation.
There have also started to be reports in the international media. Here is one from the Manila Standard in the Phillipines.
It was disappointing that despite the importance of this for the future of the University, and despite the need for a frank discussion of what went wrong, and how this can be avoided, like the recent successful UCU strike at the university, Caledonian Connect had no mention of this whatsoever. No sign of Glasnost in our own publications – this does not seem to be a mature way to handle important issues.
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.
Here is the text of a letter from UCU Scotland in reply to David Beeby’s letter in the Scotsman of 2nd March:
David Beeby, Executive Director of Finance, is correct to state (letters 2 March) that senior staff at Caledonian university are paid at the same ludicrous rate as comparable universities. The burgeoning budget for the executive team at universities while staff are laid off and offered pay rises of 0.5% shows that we are not all in this together.
Rather than top-down strong leadership at this time, what we need is consensus and inclusion of unions in the decision making process. Instead we get executive teams with nothing better to do than develop incoherent and morale busting plans that have led to disputes in Glasgow and Heriot-Watt Universities with more likely to follow. As for academic leadership this should be left to the academic leaders rather than those whose only motivation is financial. Beeby’s view is that of the highly paid Executive team Continue reading →