We have received lots of really pertinent questions about the Operational Review. We will keep this post updated with frequently asked questions and answers.
- What legal support is available to me as a member of UCU?
Many will be extremely anxious about the proposal to cut up to 100 posts at the University. This is an unprecedented attack on the Surrey workforce and will be resisted by your union collectively.
Understandably, you may believe there is a legal remedy to your post being put at risk. Unfortunately it is highly unlikely there is such a remedy. UK law is clear that if the following criteria are met redundancies are lawful.
(a) the fact that his employer has ceased or intends to cease
(i) to carry on the business for the purposes of which the employee was employed by him, or
(ii) to carry on that business in the place where the employee was so employed, or
(b) the fact that the requirements of that business
(i) for employees to carry out work of a particular kind, or
(ii) for employees to carry out work of a particular kind in the place where the employee was employed by the employer, have ceased or diminished or are expected to cease or diminish.”
The focus is not on whether there is less work, but whether the employer can demonstrate a need for fewer employees to carry out the work.
You will no doubt have more legal questions. For this reason UCU in association with Thompsons Solicitors will be holding a presentation and Q & A on Wednesday 15th April at noon in Teaching Block 18. This will be followed by a limited number of very brief one to one sessions. If you wish to have a one to one please contact Euclid Pires at firstname.lastname@example.org who will assign you a time slot.
- Is the enhanced voluntary severance package on offer at Surrey really generous?
Here are some examples of voluntary severance offers in similar institutions.
Aberystwyth: http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/hr/employment-information/vs/ One month for each year (max 12 months) and full, unreduced pension for older members of staff.
Cardiff: offer 12 months severance regardless: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/humrs/staffinfo/voluntarysev/
Dundee: 15 months http://www.dundee.ac.uk/media/dundeewebsite/hr/documents/policiesandprocedures/voluntaryseverance/Voluntary%20Severance%20-%20Academic%202015.docx
Queen Mary offer to top up pensions: http://www.hr.qmul.ac.uk/procedures/exit/eppvs/index.html
Manchester: up to 14 months full salary http://documents.manchester.ac.uk/display.aspx?DocID=9651
Our management will no doubt argue that there is a fixed budget for voluntary severance payments but it’s worth noting that, in spite of much talk of of financial pressures due to the general economic climate the university budget is in surplus; our Vice Chancelor is the 10th highest paid in the land and we are investing huge sums in new buildings.