First of all, the Lecture Theatre was *packed*, with over 250 attendees.
1. There was a brief introduction to the three campus trade unions: UCU, UNISON and Unite.
2. An update was provided on current concerns:
– The lack of detailed data to justify the need for saving £15M
– The dubious use of uncertainties such as Brexit and the Augar review in order to justify knee-jerk reactions
– The terminology used which designates staff as a cost and not as an asset
– The lack of guidance for line managers during the EVS Scheme
– A rush forward to implement changes with no apparent plan
3. An update was then provided on current restructuring processes and the lack of information and appropriate consultation provided to individual departments. It was noted that the University of Surrey’s mode of moving forward at this point is causing a very real, and very serious, welfare issue to staff. A member of the Welfare Team kindly invited any distressed member of staff to get in contact if they wish to talk through current events.
4. The USSU President gave a presentation on the current position of the Students Union. It was stated that four years on from the last time the University declared 200 job losses, student satisfaction has decreased, organisational cash has doubled, and Executive pay has risen. There is a clear lack of planning behind the current announcement of cuts.
The USSU have formally endorsed our UCU letter to the VC.
USSU are also intending to hold a referendum for students in a Vote of No Confidence in the VC, Senior Management Team and governing bodies.
5. There was much discussion from the floor, some of which was heated, some content was upsetting, and we thank all those that spoke for their willingness to share their views. Staff spoke from right across the University. Concerns raised include:
– The hard sell directed at certain persons and certain departments, pressurising staff into EVS
– The fixation of the University to prioritise vanity projects over staff
– The threatening of course closures without due process
– Anger from students as to a lack of transparency in governance
– The hypocrisy of the University espousing the five core values, whilst simultaneously treating staff with disrespect
There was a call from the floor as to an all-staff Vote of No Confidence, facilitated by the trade unions. Unite, UNISON and UCU agreed that this action could be considered by the trade unions.