This branch notes with considerable concern the unilateral move by the University management to introduce Saturday examinations without any prior consultation or agreement with UCU, despite UCU being the recognised representative of academic and academic-related staff at the University of Birmingham.
Weekend working is widely recognised as poor practice in terms of work-life balance and equality issues in that it clearly discriminates against those with caring duties, the majority of which continue to fall disproportionately on the shoulders of women. Family unfriendly working times therefore have a disproportionately detrimental effect upon women and it is established in employment law that such practices represent a form of sex discrimination.
If the University of Birmingham management wish to have their declared commitment to equality and diversity taken seriously, then they should consult staff before changing working times, and they should avoid the introduction of family unfriendly working practices.
For these reasons, University of Birmingham UCU calls for a reversal of the proposal to introduce Saturday examinations, and instructs the branch committee to demand such a reversal from the University management. Failure by the branch negotiators to secure such an outcome should result in a further members’ meeting, where the branch can consider its response.
Adopted 23 November 2016