UNISON Declares Dispute with University of Bradford

UNISON CONDEMNS UNIVERSITY REDUNDANCIES AND REGRADES

An administrative restructure at the University of Bradford, which could see as many as 30 staff made redundant (18 FTE) and 20% of the current workforce downgraded, has today been condemned by Unison.

The University’s branch of Unison has hit out after the proposals were revealed to staff within the last fortnight – with several staff only finding out their roles were to be made redundant via powerpoint presentations.

Patrick Dennehy, Bradford University Unison Branch Secretary, said: 

“These proposals are a disgrace. They are threatening to potentially downgrade 20% of the current workforce, whilst the Vice Chancellor awards himself a 19% pay rise. Our members think enough is enough. It is bad enough that the University failed to implement a reasonably fair pay rise for staff last year, but to now try and reduce salaries for so many hard working staff is completely unacceptable.”

The proposals are so draconian that Unison has now lodged an official dispute with the university, saying it will not return to the negotiating table until management revise their plans and produce a more acceptable proposal.

A university wide petition, calling on management to scrap the current proposals, collected 100 signatures within an hour of being launched on Friday.

Said Patrick:

“Many of our members have struggled to make ends meet on their salary, in order to provide for their families over Christmas, so to start back at work in the New Year and be told of potential job losses and salary reductions is the last straw. Especially when we see senior managers at the University continuing to take home massive pay packets.” 

As well as the Vice Chancellors pay increase, a recent survey showed that Bradford University has thirteen members of staff earning over £100,000 a year, with the university splurging more than £300,000 on management consultancy fees. Bradford was also high up the tables for VC’s expenses, VC’s flights and VC’s pay rises, in a national survey conducted in 2016.

The University is currently in the middle of a repositioning exercise, entitled the ‘Bradford Excellence Programme (BEP)’ but this has been decried by the unions, and many of the staff, as a cost cutting programme in disguise as its stated aim is: “doing things better at lower cost.”

Said Patrick: “The University talks about improving the student experience and wanting impressive growth in student numbers, yet the reality on the ground is that they are cutting staff numbers and cutting services. Those two things are incompatible. 

The Admin staff here at Bradford feel disrespected and resentful; they are overworked and underpaid and, for some staff, this will be the second or third time in eighteen months that the University has placed them ‘under review’ and ‘in scope’.”

It appears that the petition and recent proposals are only the first step, with UNISON now saying that it is considering all its options, including balloting its members for further action.