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Agreement reached in dispute between Heriot-Watt University and UCU

9 November 2020

Agreement has been reached to fully resolve the dispute between Heriot-Watt University and UCU in relation to potential compulsory redundancies.

The parties have been in detailed consultation since early August regarding the university's proposal to cut over 100 jobs, a process both parties consider to have been positive and constructive throughout.  Early in the consultation process agreement was reached to open a Voluntary Redundancy Programme and to explore other ways to avoid potential compulsory redundancies.   

Following the progress made via this voluntary process, the university has indicated that the ongoing change programme will continue without the need for compulsory redundancies.  On this basis, agreement has been reached to resolve the dispute and UCU has cancelled the industrial action, which was scheduled to commence from tomorrow, 10th November.

The agreement sets out these commitments from the University and UCU, with both parties committing to working together to build their approach to partnership working.  This will be aligned to the strategic goals of the University and to the Fair Work agenda as set out by the Scottish government, working alongside the other recognised trade unions to ensure timely engagement on matters of interest to all colleagues.

Professor Mark Biggs, vice principal and Provost said: 'The university and UCU have worked closely together with very regular dialogue to support colleagues and students through the current challenging times arising from the Covid-19 situation.  We are confident that this agreement, which resolves the formal dispute between us, marks a positive step forward for the whole university community.'

George Bruce, Heriot-Watt UCU branch president said:  'Staff are relieved the threat to jobs is removed, and that we can now focus on providing the learning, student support and research that is so important to students, staff and the wider community.  We are pleased that this agreement acknowledges the important role of trade unions and Fair Work as we move forward.'

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