Back to drawing board for UCU restructuring

February 21, 2008

The University and College Union executive has rejected its general secretary's controversial plans for restructuring the union.

In a meeting earlier this month, all but one member of the national executive committee voted in favour of a motion demanding a comprehensive rewrite of Sally Hunt's plans.

Unions representing UCU employees had raises serious concerns about her proposals, which would have seen further and higher education pay bargaining merged into a single secretariat and the setting-up of a telephone advice centre for members.

Now the proposals will be re-drawn according to some key principles set by the NEC, including the maintenance of separate higher and further bargaining units.

A working party headed by UCU president Linda Newman will be set up to help Ms Hunt rewrite her paper on the restructuring. The party will report back to the NEC in March.

The NEC motion also called on Ms Hunt to extend the deadline for staff voluntary redundancy and delay slotting staff into the new structure until the job descriptions of the new posts were finalised.

Russ Escritt, leading negotiations for UCU employees who are Amicus members, said he had been reassured that there would be no compulsory redundancies.

Several dozen UCU staff and their representatives lobbied the meeting last week. One NEC member said: "The union shouldn't have got itself into a position where staff are so angry they feel they have to lobby."

A UCU spokesman said it was not its policy to comment on internal staffing matters, but added: "It's a perfectly normal consultation process that is carrying on in a completely normal way."

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