In response to direct questioning from Birmingham UCU, the University of Birmingham has confirmed that the troubled Dubai campus is covered by the University’s regular Health and Safety Policy and has agreed to work with the recognised Union Health and Safety Representatives on matters regarding the campus.
The official confirmation came after the University failed to inform designated Trade Union Health and Safety Representatives about the evacuation of the campus on 4 July and, since then, has not provided further information about the incident, including whether at least one member of staff required medical assistance.
The foreword of the University’s Health and Safety Policy (pdf) states:
“Collaboration with colleagues and in particular Trades Unions is also an important element of our approach to Health and Safety and the policy establishes formal links with them and aims to promote active involvement from their membership.”
Despite these words, the University has failed to meaningfully engage with the campus trade unions over various aspect of the Dubai project, including how Health and Safety will be managed. Instead, mangement is choosing to manage the Dubai campus without input from trained union Health and Safety representatives, despite the University’s own policy policy recognising their vital role in keeping everyone safe.
A spokesperson for Birmingham UCU said: “While we are pleased the University has confirmed the regular UoB Health and Safety Policy applies to the Dubai campus, the announcement raises more questions than it answers.
“We welcome the confirmation from management that the Dubai campus is covered by the University’s Health and Safety Policy and we look forward to hopefully working with the University to ensure the safety of everyone on the campus.
“While the University’s confirmation is a positive development, serious concerns remain over Health and Safety at UoB Dubai, not least how the University can meaningfully ensure the safety of LGBT+ people, given the additional risks they face in Dubai due to the lack of legal protections under UAE law.”