Workload Allocation Models

WAM resolution

This branch rejects any claim that we must, even ‘for the timebeing’, accept the new Workload Allocation Model (WAM) that has been imposed upon us without negotiation or agreement with staff or their representatives at the University of Birmingham. This relates particularly to recent changes to the WAM in the Birmingham Business School.

The University of Birmingham imposing significant changes to staff workloads without the agreement of the recognised trade union are sufficient grounds for rejecting the new WAM, and to do otherwise risks accepting these new conditions as established working practice. We therefore reject the imposition of 1760 working hours annually and a 40 hour working week and any WAM based on these figures and affirm the sector standard of 1650 hours as set by HEFCE/Research Councils UK (37.5 hours).

This branch insists that the University of Birmingham must reverse all measures associated with the newly imposed WAM, with immediate effect, on the grounds that failure to do so would amount to a unilateral change to the terms and conditions of employment for all academic and academic-related staff at the University of Birmingham.

We note that despite the explicit and written objections of the recognised trade union, UCU, rejecting the proposed changes, the University of Birmingham management have refused to revert to the prior terms and conditions. This branch therefore resolves to move towards a formal dispute unless the University of Birmingham confirm that they are taking steps to fully revert to previous terms and conditions, and that they are prepared to negotiate openly and transparently on any future substantive changes to workloads or contracts.

Furthermore, we note that the move to annual calculations based on 1760 hours also affects the hourly rate of casualised staff, including for example those delivering classes and marking assignments. We therefore insist that any changes to the WAM for permanent staff leads to a recalculation of the hourly rate based on 1650 hours and a corresponding pay increase for those staff.

As a branch, we therefore resolve to do the following:

  1. To initiate a public information campaign setting out the terms of the dispute, to staff, students and the wider public;
  2. To declare an official dispute with the University of Birmingham, as soon as possible, and as set out in the procedure agreement;
  3. To keep BUCU members regularly updated, in writing, on the progress of the dispute;
  4. To stage a series of public demonstrations, timed to maximise impact upon the University, most obviously through the targeting of open days, applicant visitor days, graduation ceremonies, and the exam period.
  5. If necessary, to proceed towards industrial action through an indicative ballot, a formal ballot, and strike days timed to maximise impact upon the University, most obviously through the targeting of open days, applicant visitor days, graduation ceremonies, and the exam period.


Adopted 11 January 2017

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