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Update on the Trade Union Negotiating meeting

06 Jul 2020

Message from Karen Heaton, Director of Human Resources

University of Manchester

Dear colleagues

We have today (6 July 2020) held one of our weekly negotiating meetings with the campus Trade Unions. The meeting discussed a range of issues focused on the measures the University needs to take to ensure it is financially sustainable in the long term and how this has been exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussions focused on the need to address the University’s Redeployment Policy.

The Redeployment Policy was agreed some years ago and includes some provisions which are highly unusual for the sector – or indeed for any employer. Specifically, it is exceptional in allowing employees whose post is redundant to remain as redeployees on full salary for up to one year.

The provision within the policy of up to 12 month’s paid protected employment without a substantive role is clearly unsustainable.  It also isn’t in the best interests of our staff because the cost would force us to make harsher cuts. Our priority is giving staff the support they need to quickly find a new role whether this is at the University or with another employer. In addition, it severely hampers the ability of the University to progress work to deliver our strategic plan, Our Future, and recover from the current crisis.

We have proposed a change to the policy which would see members of staff affected by a redundancy process, until the end of their notice period being given priority treatment as redeployees to apply for roles at the same grade within the University during the change process. They will also be supported through learning and development opportunities where this is possible. This will align us with normal sector practice.

Two further items were discussed today, pausing salary increments and temporary, graded pay reductions. These items are being discussed as actions we could take to mitigate against the scale of job losses in the future if we lose significant numbers of students and hence income.

Our priority remains to treat employees fairly, protecting as many jobs as possible whilst providing substantial support and opportunities to our staff to mitigate against the impact of compulsory redundancy in order to be financially sustainable and deliver our core goals.

We have a weekly negotiating meeting with the campus Trade Unions, along with a general Covid-19 update meeting. We will be posting the minutes from both of these meetings on StaffNet once they are approved.

Best wishes,

Karen Heaton

Director of Human Resources