The University and College Union has misrepresented the negotiations that are under way between the University of Liverpool and its recognised unions (Unite, Unison and the UCU) to standardise staff terms and conditions (“Into the dispute ride the 600”, News; “Professorial position: Liverpool, think again”, Letters, 4 July).
At Liverpool (and in common with other universities), the terms and conditions of support, professional, managerial, specialist and senior administrative staff vary considerably. We would like to standardise them to ensure fairness and equality for everyone across the institution. Our new contracts will ensure there is greater consistency and transparency about the circumstances in which staff become eligible for certain terms, such as pay supplements or compensatory time off.
The UCU claims that we are expecting staff to work extra hours on evenings, weekends and bank holidays without compensation. This isn’t the case. Our employment conditions are and will continue to be among the best in the public sector and comparable to those offered by the majority of universities in the UK.
Far from breaking off negotiations with the trade unions, as the UCU claims, we are holding positive and constructive weekly discussions, and will continue to do so in the hope of reaching an agreement. We are doing so under a legal procedure known as S188 at the behest of the union. This procedure has been used at the university over the past two years in restructures and changes to the terms of employment held by other groups of staff represented by the UCU.
We will not be making any of our staff redundant, as they will remain in the same jobs but on revised terms. We are committed to retaining an excellent but modernised terms and conditions package that supports our current and future operational needs.
Sir Howard Newby
University of Liverpool