Downward mobility

July 27, 2007

I take exception to your portrayal of job security as a privilege ("Union alarm as pre-92s demolish statutes", July 20). On choosing a university career, many staff traded higher salaries in the private sector for "job security". While universities may not offer the same employment security as they did in the past, the model statutes do impose a procedure that management has to follow. Following this does not give staff some sort of special privilege. Furthermore, if we are to treat all staff equally, changes should reflect a "levelling-up", not a "levelling-down".

Staff are seriously concerned that in abolishing their existing statutes, pre 1992 universities may cease to aspire to be "good employers"' in favour of the "hire and fire" employment practices of the worst elements of the private sector, competition between universities degenerating into a "race to the bottom".

At Salford University, the union's central concern is that the existing charter and statutes are being abolished without even a draft of the new ordinances being made public. It is a mystery to us how senate, court and council can agree to abolish the existing system of governance and employment procedures without knowing what is going to be put in its place. Also, once governance or employment procedures are transferred to the ordinances, it would be relatively easy for a future management to make further changes to any that proved "awkward".

John Dobson
President, Salford UCU

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