Strike action in higher education

Allowing REF submission of redundant staff's research is a 'breach of faith', says UCU

31 January 2019 | last updated: 1 February 2019

UCU has accused UK funding councils of a 'breach of faith' with staff after it was revealed that institutions will be allowed to submit to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) the work of staff who have been made redundant.

The union was responding to the submission guidance for the next REF, published today, which has removed reference to a proposed ban on the submission of work by academics who have been made redundant by an institution.

UCU said the move would be a green light for universities to treat staff like a disposable commodity and entrench the casualisation of early career researchers. It said it would be calling on institutions to reject the move and make clear statements about their own position on the issue.

UCU head of policy, Matt Waddup, said: 'This disgraceful decision is a total breach of faith and will cause significant reputational damage both to funders and any universities foolish enough to go along with it. Allowing institutions to submit the work of academics they have made redundant is a green light to further embed the hire-and-fire culture which plagues higher education.  

'In a sector where casualisation is already endemic, this move can only discourage universities from investing in their staff. We will be calling on all institutions to reject this policy and make clear their own position so staff are fully informed about the values of the institutions that employ them.'

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