Ucea's handy guides to the testing times ahead

April 15, 2010

For senior university managers worried about "implementing workforce change and handling redundancies", "managing challenging industrial relations and disputes" or "negotiating change in a constrained environment", help is at hand.

These are the topical titles of some of the workshops run all year round by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association, preparing managers for the testing industrial relations ahead at a cost of between £285 and £485 a time.

First up is a session on Media Preparation for Senior Managers, Governors, HR and Communications Professionals.

"Staying in control of media interviews is vital if higher education institutions are to exert maximum influence during debates on pensions, pay and conditions of service," Ucea advises on its website.

The employers' association is then running a workshop on Implementing Workforce Change and Handling Redundancies on 28 April. "In uncertain economic times, institutions may find themselves in situations where they have to make difficult restructuring decisions," Ucea notes.

Next up is Managing Challenging Industrial Relations and Disputes on 6 May. Ucea says this session has been "updated and expanded" to take account of the "background of local strike ballots".

Also in May, a two-day workshop will consider the thorny issue of Negotiating Change in a Constrained Environment. It will include a session on "negotiation problem areas" such as "dealing with hostility" and "walkouts".

There is also a session on how to deal with supposed union negotiating tactics such as "loaded questions and inaccurate summarising", "Good Cop, Bad Cop" and the ultimate tester: "silence".

A spokesman for the University and College Union said Ucea should spend more effort "trying to reach credible national agreements and less on union-bashing courses".

A Ucea spokesman said such training events had been run for more than a decade, with the association "acting as an adviser to higher education employers" on best practice in human resource management.

john.morgan@tsleducation.com.

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