Liverpool move on contracts sparks anger

The University of Liverpool has been accused of “putting a gun to the head” of almost 3,000 staff who a union says face losing their jobs unless they accept altered working terms and conditions

June 16, 2013

Liverpool

Trade unions say they are considering strike action over plans by Liverpool to “standardise terms and conditions” for non-academic and academic-related staff.

The move will affect 2,803 staff, including administrative staff, student recruitment officers, librarians and IT support staff, and mean they would have to work increased hours at weekends, evenings and bank holidays without overtime or lieu days, the University and College Union says.

Talks have been on-going between Liverpool and unions, but the university is now seeking to impose the new conditions, according to the UCU.

Liverpool, whose full-time undergraduate enrollments dropped by 10 per cent as £9,000 tuition fees were introduced last autumn, has served notice of a 45-day consultation period over redundancies.

In a letter to staff, it informs them they must agree to the revised conditions or face three months’ notice of dismissal before they are offered their jobs back on new conditions.

Martyn Moss, UCU North West regional official, said: “It is essentially putting a gun to the head of almost 3,000 of its staff.

“Staff are not keen on increasing their evening, bank holiday and weekend working, particularly without any guarantees of recompense, and are extremely angry,” he added.

“We’ll be consulting them about what steps they wish to take and we cannot rule out industrial action.”

A university spokesman said it had been in talks with unions about its plans and “will not be making any compulsory redundancies as a result of the new contracts”.

“The university would like to standardise terms and conditions to ensure they are applied equitably across the institution, and to provide greater consistency and transparency about the circumstances in which staff become eligible for certain terms such as pay supplements or compensatory time off,” he said.

“A formal consultation process is now underway and we are hopeful of achieving an agreement with each trade union on the terms of the new contract,” he added.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

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