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Union calls on Swansea University to reject 'flawed' redundancy plans

22 October 2009

UCU has called on Swansea University's Council to reject management plans to make up to a dozen lecturers and professors redundant at its School of Environment and Society.

In a letter to council members the union has described the process used by the university to draw up the plans as 'deeply flawed' and has warned that a decision to press ahead with the redundancies will 'mark the end of mutual confidence and trust between the university management and staff.'

The council, which is the governing body of the university, will meet on Monday (26 October) to decide whether to agree the plans being put forward by management. If approved the plans would mark an historic shift of policy for the university, which in the whole of its nearly 90 year history has had a policy of no compulsory redundancies.

In a further move UCU at Swansea University has announced it has started a consultation with its members over what action to take should the redundancies go ahead. At this stage the union is ruling nothing out in terms of a response.

Andrew Morgan, UCU vice-president at Swansea, said: 'It is entirely wrong to throw loyal staff on to the scrapheap. In the past Swansea University has rewarded staff with promotions.  When the University as a whole is, as management continues to assure us, financially sound there seems little rationale to axe staff with more than 30 years' experience and loyal service to the university.

'Though initially we were told that redundancies were a last resort and redeployments and other less drastic arrangements would be sought, there is little sign of a positive outcome along those lines as the university is now looking to set up a formal redundancy committee.'

Chris Whyley, UCU president at Swansea said: 'If the council passes these plans the redundancies will mark a fateful step by the university, which will break the mutual trust and confidence that has existed between management and staff.

"In the past we have always managed these matters by negotiation, but now management does not seem to want to budge an inch. All staff at Swansea should be worried, as their jobs will be at risk and they will not know from one day to the next whether their 'permanent' contracts are truly permanent. Our most pressing concern is that this will merely be the thin end of the wedge.

"Management should be worried too, since it will also mean that attracting the best staff to work at Swansea University will inevitably be more difficult. We will be consulting with our members what action they may wish to take.

"We are asking management and the university council to pull back from the brink and re-open genuine negotiations with UCU so that compulsory redundancies can be avoided.'

  1. Up to a dozen staff members are threatened with redundancy at the School of Environment and Society, ranging from Professors to lecturers and tutors.  The years of service of the staff threatened range from three years to 32 years.
  2. UCU is the largest trade union and professional association for academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff working in further and higher education throughout the UK.
Last updated: 11 December 2015