The proposed closure of the IAA raises many problems:
• Flawed review
The University’s review into the IAA took just one month to complete. It was largely predetermined by a prior, secret, review concluded months earlier (and only released to affected staff following a freedom of information request). Staff consultation was limited to one 1-hour meeting for all staff.
• Flawed consultation
The University’s legal obligation to consult with staff and their representatives (UCU) has thus far been flawed. Only one meeting was held between UCU reps and the University. At no point did the University show signs of seeking to avoid compulsory redundancies. Staff 1-to-1 ‘consultation’ meetings were discussions about individual’s own position at the University, rather than a discussion of the review itself and its recommendations.
• Failure to consider management failings
A large proportion of the redundancies are linked to the proposed closure of the ‘Project Group’ of archaeologists. This group had already submitted a collective grievance to the University, prior to the announcement of the University’s plans to make them redundant, outlining a series of management failing (including failure to replace outgoing managers and to support grant bids). This grievance has never been properly investigated (indeed the University has refused to do so), and the effects of these management failings have been cited as reasons for the proposed redundancies.
• Failure to investigate staff grievances
As we note above, the Project Group grievance has not been properly investigated. This is becoming new practice for the University.
•Failure to take equalities issues seriously
The University’s equalities impact assessment was conducted on the final day of the 90-day consultation, was never offered to UCU for consideration, and fails to take seriously the equalities implications raised by the proposal.
• Casualisation of staff
The proposal includes what the University refers to as ‘mitigating’ posts – these are fixed term teaching posts, to replace permanent academic posts. The teaching to which they refer is not fixed-term – why, then, use fixed term contracts?
•Failure to avoid redundancies
There has been no meaningful attempt to avoid compulsory redundancies. Indeed, the fact that BUCU were seeking to avoid compulsory redundancies was cited as a reason why the University found it difficult toengage with us! Meaningful consultation could result in a number of measures to avoid redundancies – incl. more effective grant bid processes, the use of open-ended contracts, and extended module options. Compulsory redundancies are not the only option.