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UCU overturns attempt by Edge Hill University to impose inferior contracts

4 December 2006 | last updated: 14 December 2015

The threat of strike action, an academic boycott and dozens of law suits has prevented Britain's newest university from imposing an inferior and non-negotiated contract on its lecturers.

UCU has called off its campaign of action at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk after negotiations led to an agreement on introducing beneficial new pay structures and the withdrawal of attempts to sack staff and reappoint them on worse pay.

Negotiations were completed on 1 December and UCU declared itself highly satisfied with the outcome, if angry about having being forced into such a confrontation. The agreement will now be put to academic staff in a ballot.

The university still faces over 80 employment tribunal claims which could cost several hundred thousand pounds to settle.

Marianne Quick, Edge Hill UCU branch secretary, said: 'I am really pleased with the outcome of negotiations and just disappointed that management didn't reach an agreement without the threat of severe actions. I believe we have got a good deal for our members but it will take some time to re-establish trust between academic staff and senior managers. However, UCU will try to build bridges and establish Edge Hill's reputation as a good new university not a place of conflict.'

Andy Pike, senior national official at UCU said: 'The union has overturned an attempt to impose an inferior pay structure which would have cost many staff several thousands of pounds. The university had dismissed all our members and re-employed them on new contracts which were unacceptable. It was a senseless provocation and staff showed they would not tolerate it. The outcome is a testimony to the need for good industrial relations in which unions are respected and consulted. It is a lesson to other employers that the new framework agreement can only be implemented through negotiation and agreement.'

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