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Birmingham UCU refutes claim University of Birmingham is ‘committed to a moderate and reasonable approach to employee relations’

Birmingham UCU reacted with disbelief after University of Birmingham management yesterday (22 January) claimed to be “committed to a moderate and reasonable approach to employee relations”.

In an all-staff email, Professor Tim Jones, Provost and Vice-Principal sought to discourage staff from supporting UCU’s ballot to tackle casualisation, excessive workloads, close the gender pay gap and secure a real-terms pay rise . Attempting to put a positive gloss on last year’s below-inflation 2% pay ‘increase’, Jones correctly pointed out the ‘increase’ is “higher than those of recent years”. He then discussed “significant concerns over the future sustainability of universities”, as a result of Brexit, the Government’s HE funding review and changes to the USS pension scheme.

Declining pay for the many, runaway pay for the few

Curiously, the email neglected to mention that over the past three years, when average pay has increased by a meagre 0.1%, senior University Executive Board pay shot up by 15%. Clearly, years of austerity and looming financial uncertainty have yet to reach the University Executive Board.

Birmingham UCU was particularly shocked by the sentence professor Jones used to sign off his email:

“We hope that colleagues will continue to see that we are committed to a moderate and reasonable approach to employee relations.”

A potted history of unreasonable behaviour at UoB

The campus union disputed this claim, pointing to the following recent incidents as examples of unreasonable employee relations:

Birmingham UCU encourages staff as well as other university stakeholders to make up their own minds as to whether the University is committed to a moderate and reasonable approach to employee relations.

Find out more

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