Strong branch motions against redundancy, lack of confidence in University leadership, and support for staff involved in decolonising the curriculum
Published: 26th January, 2021
The following 3 motions were overwhelmingly supported by members in an extremely well attended Emergency Committee Meeting on 25th January 2021.
University of Leicester UCU opposes all compulsory redundancies currently being proposed by the university’s Executive Board.
This EGM calls upon the university leadership team to give a written guarantee, by 1st February 2021, that there will be no compulsory redundancies in 2021. If this guarantee is not forthcoming by that date, this EGM resolves that Leicester University UCU undertake the following:
- build a joint student and staff campaign with the students’ union and other university trade unions to oppose redundancies;
- launch a public campaign of opposition to the proposed job losses, including press, broadcast and social media;
- develop and publicise an alternative financial and strategic case to the university leadership’s proposals; and
- ballot for sustained industrial action.
The decision to bring about redundancies in the midst of a pandemic, which are allegedly not financially driven, is cruel and divisive. We reject the rationale for this being the “perfect moment” to transform our institution, when the world will be changed beyond recognition in the upcoming months and years.
We note that:
- Currently 145 people are at risk of redundancy and approximately 60 may lose their jobs, although this may increase further
- This is the third attempt at re-structuring the university in recent years (2016, 2018 and 2021), with no critical reflection by the University Executive of previous attempts. Many of the same areas have been affected each time.
- The University Executive have refused to share the reports (e.g. DataHE) used to shape and conduct the “pre change engagement” process
- There has been a denial at the highest level that these reports are being used to influence decision making at Leicester
- We have no confidence in the leadership of the university at this current time
- To empower the Leicester UCU committee to seek and enact ways to campaign over our lack of confidence.
- Undertake an all staff petition on a vote of no confidence of the University leadership
Leicester UCU notes that:
A. The notification of at-risk of redundancy letter to staff in the School of English stated that the School of English propose to offer a ‘selection of modules on race, ethnicity, sexuality and diversity, [and] a decolonised curriculum’.
B. Many staff who have been placed at risk, are working on decolonising the curriculum projects.
Leicester UCU believes that:
- Decolonising the curriculum is not linked to Senior Management’s choice to try to make 60 people redundant.
- Senior Management has cynically and manipulatively appropriated an equality, diversity and inclusivity campaign.
- The decolonising the curriculum campaign is an important and valuable approach to increase plurality within disciplines and to address institutional racism.
Leicester UCU resolves to:
- Reject any link between decolonising the curriculum and redundancies at the University.
- Call for the University to stop appropriating equality, diversity and inclusivity campaigns in an attempt to justify making people redundant.
- Support colleagues who are engaging in decolonising the curriculum.
- Commit to understanding and implementing the decolonising the curriculum campaign in collaboration with the University of Leicester Students’ Union campaign Leics Decolonise (https://www.leicesterunion.com/voice/campaigns/current/leicsdecolonise/)