Following a prolonged internal debate within BUCU, which was prompted by complaints by the University management over BUCU’s approach to reviewing allegations of unreasonable management behaviour, the following resolution was resoundingly adopted on 21 January 2014. This resolution re-affirms the earlier resolution adopted in November 2013.
This branch resolves that:
· It is free to decide its own internal review procedures, and that these cannot be dictated to it by the University of Birmingham senior management.
This branch notes that:
· Only months after agreeing its performance management agreement, the University of Birmingham management vigorously defended, in an Employment Tribunal, what turned out to be the unfair dismissal of Thelma Lovick, and that Thelma Lovick has not been re-instated despite the University’s decision to sack her being widely condemned by the Employment Tribunal.
· In the very first departmental restructure undertaken since the adoption of our Redundancy Avoidance Agreement, we also saw the first instance in at least ten years where departmental restructuring happened with compulsory redundancies – and that this witnessed serious questions raised by BUCU about the behaviour of the University HR staff – and that BUCU were unable to challenge or avoid that redundancy.
· On REF Day, December 2014, David Eastwood has already begun talking in his University-wide communications about“disappointing” results and “areas for improvement” – and that given the record of Eastwood’s time as Vice Chancellor to date, we do not anticipate a constructive approach to dealing with those ‘disappointments’ or towards those individuals considered by the University management to have under-performed in the REF.
· Only days after BUCU last suspended its resolution on performance management, it was forced to un-suspend the resolution in the light of further complaints from members about their treatment by the University.
· No BUCU members who have gone through the procedures set out in the performance management resolution have complained about the procedures or sought for them to be changed.
· The only complaint received about the performance management resolution is that of the University senior management.
· That reassurances made by the University management following our last local industrial dispute – that there would be a more cooperative attitude by the University of Birmingham senior management, in terms of its approach to performance management, department restructuring, and redundancies – have so far not resulted in improved working conditions for BUCU members or of any staff working at the University of Birmingham.
· That recent events have shown the difficulties BUCU faces in supporting Employment Tribunal claims by staff members who are dismissed by the University, and that the possibility of making ET claims often do not anyway deter attempts to deal with staff through suggestions of disciplinary action and offers of ‘voluntary’ severance.
· That the main mechanism that we have through which to challenge unfair and aggressive management actions is our ability to highlight and publicise unfair and unreasonable management practices, shining a spotlight on malpractices that would otherwise be carried out behind closed doors.
The branch therefore re-affirms its commitment to the performance management resolution adopted in 2013, in particular the commitment to create an independent panel of BUCU members to investigate alleged instances of poor management behaviour in the field of performance management, for that panel to produce a report to be presented to a general members’ meeting setting out its (anonymised) findings and recommendations for action, and for that report (if adopted by the branch) to be circulated amongst all BUCU members.
The existing branch officers must abide by this resolution –or, if they feel unable to, then they should step down from their position as branch officers.