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redundancies

Underpaid, (semi) casualised, mainly women and now the SACK ! Foreign Languages Centre staff need your support NOW !

Γειά σου ! Cześć ! Здравствуйте !

Last week we submitted our response on behalf of 18 members of staff in the Foreign Languages Centre who face being made redundant in August. The redundancies would be part of a 20% cut in FLC provision. We called for a 12-month freeze on the proposals to allow wider consultation with students, staff and members of the local community about the future of the FLC. On Thursday we presented a 2600 name petition to the Chair of University Council calling on the University to mark its 50th anniversary by expanding its foreign language teaching, not cutting it. The petition has support from a wide range of staff, students and local people who have taken the community language courses. It is the largest petition ever presented to the University.

There has been no response to the petition, but on Friday University managers rejected our call for a 12-month freeze and started to implement the proposals on Monday. The 18 members of staff in the Foreign Languages Centre who face being made redundant in August represent all the issues at the heart of our current national dispute over unfair pay, casualization and the gender pay gap.

Unfair pay

In addition to the 14% cut in the value of pay that all of us have faced since 2009, these staff are paid at Grade 6 for professional teaching work. This is less than the rate for the job at most other universities. They were promised that they could expect to progress to Grade 7, but this has not happened as the University has failed to honour its agreement with UCU about that. There are hundreds of people working here, mainly GTAs, who are in the same position. They are not alone. Staff in professional and technical grades are frequently paid less by Bath than other universities, and many are given responsibilities above their paygrade.

Casualisation

For years the FLC staff have been strung along on zero hours contracts. UCU did secure a marginal improvement in their position in 2009, but 20% of the work is still done on zero hours contracts, some by staff who have worked here for many years. In 2013, Bath came out on top in a survey of the use of zero-hours contracts for teaching and research.

Gender pay gap

Most of the FLC staff facing the sack are women. As well as having a greater of chance of being on the receiving end of unfair pay and casualization, women are more likely to lose their income altogether. We already know this is the case because the regular notices we receive from HR about the termination of fixed term contracts always contain more women than men. And when people are made redundant from the University of Bath they learn that the University has the meanest redundancy payments in the whole country.

Consultative ballot for action in support of FLC staff facing redundancy

UCU has formally registered a ‘failure to agree’ with the University, and this will now be dealt with under a procedure agreed between UCU and the University in 2011. We are calling on all members to support our colleagues in the Foreign Languages Centre. We will be consulting you about this with an electronic ballot for action in the next ten days. If you are taking holiday in this period and want to be kept informed of the ballot without opening your University email (we are, after all, still working to contract) please contact ucu-sec@bath.ac.uk

 

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Bath PGCE closure threat goes national

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“Our experience, working with head teachers who have been doing recruitment and selection with us as a school-based provider for something like 10 years, is that they are finding that those schools that do not have the experience are looking for teachers and not trainees. They are not selecting, and we are getting returned to us people who we would probably have put on the course but they do not, because they clearly do not represent the finished article. If schools have not had significant experience in ITT recruitment as opposed to teacher recruitment, they tend to miss some of the opportunities that are presented to them.”

Martin Thompson, Executive Director, The National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers speaking to the House of Commons Select Committee on Education, September 2013.

The problem outlined by Martin Thompson is one of the reasons why UCU opposes the closure of university-based teacher training courses.   Many able candidates will be turned down as school heads look to admit only those candidates who can do a job of work in the classroom even before they have been trained.   The question is – how good a job will they be able to do ?

Support the petition against the Bath closure

Minister questions Bath PGCE closure plan

“I would rather keep providers like Bath in the system,” Schools Minister David Laws told the House of Commons Select Committee on Education on 11th September. Several MPs questioned Bath’s proposal to close its teacher training course. The Minister confirmed that it was never the intention of the Government’s new arrangements for teacher training that high quality providers such as Bath should respond by withdrawing their longstanding partnerships with local schools. His remarks reinforce the view that Bath has hit the panic button while other universities sit tight. (more…)

Panic reaction threatens PGCE

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Quality and jobs at risk – PGCE closure threatened

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17 redundancies in UKOLN

17 people have received redundancy notices following the withdrawal of JISC funding for their posts.  Most were shocked to find that the University pays only statutory redundancy pay, far less than the payments made at Bath Spa and some other universities.   UCU is contunuing to negotiate on behalf of members who are affected.   The redundancies have highlighted a number of concerns about the university’s approach to redundancy avoidance.   You can read more from one of the UKOLN staff here