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29 July 2010
The University and its three recognised Trade Unions – UCU, Unison and Unite – are delighted to announce agreement on a series of new procedures for the Management of Change across the University.
As part of the agreement, new or revised arrangements will be effective from 1 August 2010 in the following key areas:
The new procedures will be of benefit to more than 600 fixed- term staff who have served the University continuously for more than five years. They will convert to open ended contracts with effect from 1 August 2010, with many more staff employed on successive fixed term contracts able to benefit in the same way in the future. (Replacement contracts will be issued gradually over the summer period as schools confirm details).
In addition to these improvements, changes have also been made to the University’s redundancy payments scheme. Staff with contractual notice period of three months (or less) who have worked continuously for the University for six or more years will be entitled to enhanced redundancy pay. This will see the removal of the present statutory cap of £380 on the week’s pay used in calculation of payments and the application of actual weeks’ pay (up to a maximum of £1140 per week). Staff with 12 months’ notice will continue to be entitled to statutory redundancy pay.
Agreement was also reached on a pay protection scheme for those at risk of redundancy who are then redeployed to a lower graded post. The scheme is graduated over one year and will provide a consistent and transparent method of pay protection at a time when it is most needed by staff.
The new arrangements on open-ended status and enhanced redundancy pay go beyond what is required by legislation.
The agreement was finalised with the Unions on June 24 and ratified by University Council on July 6. It will enable Schools and Directorates to have much greater clarity in terms of employment of staff in the future and confidence in following agreed processes to achieve change. It will also enable long-standing research staff, previously excluded on the basis of their fixed-term status, to submit research council grant applications and to develop as independent researchers in their own right. It also removes any disadvantage in relation to financial products such as mortgages and loans.
Professor Threadgold, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Staff and Diversity, said: "This new agreement shows what can be done when the University and its three recognised trade unions really do engage in partnership working. The new arrangements do go beyond what is legally required and beyond what is currently available to staff in many other universities. I am particularly pleased that for staff on extended fixed-term contracts the agreement will remove what have been real disadvantages so that these staff will now be able to act as PI on research grants and to access loans and mortgages more easily. This is a great outcome all round".
Unite union representatives Ron Leach and Len Czekaj said: "Unite the Union and its forerunner MSF have always championed partnership working and we are delighted that this agreement will bring many benefits to our members now and in the future".
Todd Bailey from the UCU union said: "UCU have campaigned for years to improve conditions for research staff and others employed on one fixed term contract after another. UCU welcome the plan to move many such staff onto regular contracts, and believe that the package as a whole represents an improvement."
Human Resources will be issuing letters to confirm the change in status for identified fixed term staff over the next two months. These will outline any necessary changes to their individual terms and conditions and include information on any relevant factors that may affect their employment.
Left to right back row: Professor Stephen Denyer, Len Czekaj , Jayne Dowden, Professor Elizabeth Treasure and Mike Davies
Left to right front row: Ron Leach, Professor Terry Threadgold and Graham Francis
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