1. What is the Professional Services Review? According to Management the objective of the PSR is to achieve ‘One City’ that ‘offers improved services, reduced costs, and delivery based on pan-University standardisation and a shared services model’. The aim is to save £12m in year-on-year costs (60% made up of wages). The reality is a savage attack on our Professional Services staff, based on the Chief Financial Officer’s mantra ‘too many and too well paid’.
2. Is it necessary? All HE institutions are facing pressure, but there appears to be no underlying immediate need for such drastic cuts, save for the dire financial situation brought on by the massive academic recruitment costs of the VC’s ‘Vision’.
3. What does it mean in terms of jobs? According to Management only 15 Professional Services staff posts are to go, but they estimate 60 redundancies.
4. Why 60 redundancies if only 15 post are to go? The PSR sees savage attacks on staff grading, with many posts being downgraded, including some by two grades. The Management is only proposing to pay protect for one year at one grade.
5. Which jobs go? If Management get its way, the award winning Services for Students will be broken up and academics can expect less support in areas such as IT/AV, LDC, Alumni, Marketing, and HR – all areas where jobs will be lost.
6. Are they applying this to themselves? It doesn’t appear so, as all the Professional Services Directors remain in post and none, including the VC, appear to be offering to take a pay cut. The exception is the Interim Registrar, who was brought in as a temporary appointment to help wield the axe and say goodbye to staff he doesn’t know
7. When is this happening? Now – Management is proposing an implementation date of 31st July 2013 for Phase 1. The consequences of this could be disastrous, with a large number of vacancies left unfilled and the remaining staff left totally demoralised, with too much work and an immediate pay cut now or one looming in a year’s time.
8. Will that be the end of it? No – it’s only the start. Phase 2 will begin later this year and promises more of the same. There will be further attacks on areas already reviewed in Phase 1, plus an attack on Schools’ Professional Staff and an independent review of Occupational Health and a further review of the library. Phase 2 also includes a proposal to ‘outsource’ the few in-house cleaning staff we still have. The contracted out cleaners and catering staff that we presently use have to live on poverty wages.
9. What’s in store for Academics? Something similar. The VC boasts he’s already recruited 132 academics with more to come. These need to be paid for by getting rid of existing staff. Watch out for programme cuts, cuts to Visiting Hourly Paid Lecturers (and the transfer of their duties to permanent academic colleagues), module evaluation pressures, REF ‘discussions’, increased use of Performance Management and inappropriate use of Capability, Appraisal and Disciplinary Procedures to force existing academic staff out.
10. What can you do?
Get active in the fight back against these proposals.
• If you are not in the UCU join now at www.ucu.org.uk/join.
• Make your views known to your Managers.
• Talk to the Professional Staff and ask them what’s happening and give them your support.
• Write to your Dean, DVC, the Vice Chancellor and members of Council and tell them this doesn’t sound like your ‘vision’ of being a top 2% University.