Solidarity with UCU against changes to Statutes undermining protection for staff

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Show your solidarity with UCU members in our industrial dispute at the University of Leeds:

  • Sign and circulate the UCU petition:  http://speakout.web.ucu.org.uk/university-of-leeds-statutes-no-sackers-charter/
  • Email Vice Chancellor, Sir Alan Langlands, to protest:  Vice-Chancellor@leeds.ac.uk You could let him know that the catch-all SOSR (some other substantial reason) grounds for dismissing staff has no place in a University and that Leeds University has operated successfully without it to date. Please mention if you are a Leeds University alumnus. For information:  UCU offered to negotiate over additional specified ground for dismissing staff but management has refused.
  • Write to Privy Councillor, Hilary Benn, bennh@parliament.uk (parliament), boxj@parliament.uk (constituency) asking him to use his influence to stop the detrimental changes to University of Leeds statutes being imposed on staff. Management plans to seek privy council approval for the changes, despite widespread opposition and a live industrial dispute; Hilary Benn is a Privy Councillor.
  • Send messages of support to:  ucu@leeds.ac.uk
  • Share this message widely

Lesley McGorrigan University of Leeds UCU Campaigns Officer and UCU NEC member

Summary of issues Further details are on UCU local branch website:  http://www.leedsucu.org.uk/

Management at the University of Leeds wants to change the university’s statutes (which set the terms and conditions for academic and related staff) to worsen the protections for staff. Leeds UCU is in dispute about three changes in particular:

  •  adding an undefined catch-all category for dismissing staff for ‘Some Other Substantial Reason’ (SOSR).
  • removing medically qualified chair for panels deciding ill health dismissals.
  • removing independent legally qualified chair for most dismissal appeals.

Leeds UCU has negotiated long and patiently with management, including via ACAS, but management utterly refuse to withdraw any of these changes.

We are concerned because management has suggested that a potential reason to use SOSR to dismiss staff where there is  ‘third party pressure’ (this could be from corporations or government agencies who are unhappy with certain research findings), ‘breakdown in trust’ (this could cover anyone falling into disagreement with their manager) and ‘conflict of interest’ (this could be used against whistleblowers who alert the public or wider academic community about certain issues or concerns). Given the likelihood of such situations arising, Leeds UCU believes that this clause could seriously jeopardise academic freedom – which is at the heart of a functioning University.

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