SHAM Cuts Friday Update, 1/12/23

As you will all know, 48 posts are currently at risk at Brookes across a number of programmes; and the department of Music and Maths are both for the chop.

The negotiating team along with our Regional Official, have been pushing on a number of fronts through a process of negotiation, to save these jobs and departments.

So far we have got the management to agree an extension to the consultation period, to give us longer to interrogate the university finances, and make counter proposals in terms of savings.

We are also looking closely at the criteria for the jobs they want to cut, to challenge where we can, any spurious or simply wrong calculations they have made.

We’ve also been supporting members in individual meetings with local managers to see if we can get a better deal in terms of VS, or a partial buyback etc.

However, the employer seems to be adamant that it is ‘imperative’ that the savings they want to make are made now – and certainly in this financial year. We are doing our own work in the background to find out the real reasons for this haste, because we believe the arguments about external pressures, and falling numbers fail to explain it.

At the recent VC talk to staff, the Finance Director told colleagues that more ’efficiency’ savings may need to be made next year – and when challenged, the VC said that further job cuts couldn’t be ruled out as part of this.

So it could be your job next.

That means that collectively we need to fight the current cuts, and make it as difficult as possible for the management to feel that the easy way out of a financial hole is to sack staff, and to force them to look for other savings – particularly given that the five year plan forecasts significant growth and an increased surplus.

The fight is on two fronts: our campaigns’ rep – Maia Pal –  has organised a rally next week, on Wednesday the 6th, at 2pm in Chakrabati in the JHB building – with external speakers, including Dr. Jo Grady, General Secretary of UCU. We will also be leafleting, and doing other things to raise awareness of the crisis the university is in, and our response to it. Please make every effort to come along, where alongside Jo, members of the negotiating team will be able to answer your questions and let you know what more we have been doing on your behalf.

We have got the support for the campaign from the Students’ Union, who are understandably seriously angry about losing lecturers and whole subjects, and about the impact this will have on the quality of the student experience.

Second, we will be running an e-ballot to consult members on next steps – with a view to taking industrial action if the threat of compulsory redundancies is not withdrawn: this will give us the authority to formally ballot for six months of action, including strikes if necessary. So please look out for this.

So join with us to stop the SHAM cuts!

In solidarity,

Alan Reeve

OBU UCU Branch Chair