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Academics ask first minister to protect their rights at Stirling University

18 June 2008

UCU Scotland has made an unprecedented appeal to first minister, Alex Salmond and Lord Advocate, Elish Angiolini, to reject a planned proposal from the University of Stirling which would undermine the rights of academic staff in relation to redundancies, dismissals and rights of appeal.

The university court will consider, at its meeting on Monday,  a working group proposal to remove the entire Academic Staff Statute and transplant it into an Ordinance. Changes to university statutes are regulated by the Privy Council. Once in an Ordinance the Academic Staff Statute can be changed by the University itself and the working group has made clear that the intention is to do so. The university must first however achieve Privy Council approval for the transplant operation. This requires the university court to submit a proposal to an obscure committee, the Scottish Universities Committee of the Privy Council. Scottish Government is represented on that committee by the First Minister and the Lord Advocate.  

UCU's Scottish official, David Bleiman, commented: 'While UCU Scotland is engaged in constructive discussions with a consortium of Scottish universities to seek a consensus about necessary changes to their academic staff statutes and procedures for the avoidance of redundancies, Stirling University is about to make a headlong dash for the Privy Council to seek approval of their unilateral proposals.

'Scottish Government has already made clear that the deregulation of the protection of academic staff is no part of their agenda for university governance. Scottish Government is also committed to partnership working between employers and unions in the public services, a commitment made by Stirling graduate Jack McConnell as first minister and refreshed by Alex Salmond in his understanding with the STUC. Ministers have also made clear the importance which they attach to the avoidance of redundancy in the public services.

'As Stirling University celebrates its 40th anniversary,  I recall previous university principals whose commitment to working with the academic staff union was so resolute – especially Sir Ken Alexander and Professor Colin Bell. I hope that their contribution will be honoured at this time of celebration. I can think of no better way to honour them than for the current principal and members of court to emulate them.'

Last updated: 14 December 2015