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VC David Eastwood fails to apologise for staff and student workers’ emotional and economic struggles caused by the multimillion-pound New Core Payroll system

23 days ago, we sent a letter to the directors of Finance and HR (see below) and requested clarifications and reassurances that student workers and staff will not be affected yet again by incorrect, overly taxed or delayed payments (as has been the case over the past 6 months). We have yet to receive a response to it and we are concerned that the University are not taking this issue seriously enough. We have decided to publish the letter below – it starts by listing categories of issues that we have identified through meetings with members and non-members and through surveys, then it highlights the implications of these issues on their wellbeing, and it ends with a set of action points and reassurances needed in order to mitigate the damage suffered by hundreds of staff and student workers.

In summary, we asked for:

1. Provide information to recognised trade unions on the scale of the problem and the decision-making process that led to it.

2. The payroll at the end of November needs to run flawlessly.

3. There needs to be a contingency plan for the December payroll, given the proximity to a closed period.

4. The form and processing of payslips need to change – specifically:

a. They need to display an hourly rate
b. The “year to date” column needs to stop showing deductions
c. Staff should be able to request a hard-copy payslip if they don’t use a computer for
their normal work

5. A special one-off payment should be made to all staff and student workers in the Christmas payroll

6. A deadline for overpayment plans to be in place

7. A dedicated joint JUC-JNCC meeting is necessary, also including student representatives

8. A full and frank apology from the Vice Chancellor, with an explanation of the root cause of the problem, should be made to all staff and students


Gillian McGrattan and Erica Conway
Directors of Human Resources and Finance
University of Birmingham
Via Email

Dear Gillian & Erica,
Over the past few months, we’ve been watching with increasing alarm as issues with payroll linked to Core Systems have continued and, at least based on the number of staff who failed to receive payment on time last week, worsening in some cases.

We’ve also been polling staff and student workers on the issues they’ve been having. This has given us an idea of the sheer range and number of the issues the new system has caused. Given there’s only one pay day remaining before the Christmas payday, and staff confidence in the payroll system is at rock bottom, urgent action needs to be taken to restore faith, to address valid concerns and to compensate staff for the stress and anxiety caused them due to the money owed to them and the difficulty getting it back.


Read the rest of the letter by clicking here.

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