UNISON learned in early August of an ongoing restructure taking place at the Guild of Students, that could potentially lead to up to three members of staff losing their jobs. This comes at a time when most staff are still furloughed and the financial impact on the University is still unclear – it simply makes no logical sense to cut jobs now and the branch committee wholeheartedly condemns any move to put people out of work at such a difficult time.
UNISON are still urgently seeking basic information on this restructure, as senior management at the guild have, at the time of writing, not provided a detailed business case or other supporting information for the change. The guild is a separate employer to the University and core staffing matters such as these fall under the responsibility of their own chief executive and senior management team (student staff such as the sabbatical officers are not involved).
The most urgent request your UNISON representatives will be making is for the consultation period (the time set out for questions, requests and alternatives to dismissal to be explored) to be extended so that a genuine negotiation can take place about this.
It’s also currently unclear what the University’s role in all of this is. Major decisions at the guild have to be approved by the University under the guild’s governance arrangements. Why hasn’t the University provided funding to help avoid job losses amongst the University community at such a difficult and uncertain time?
How is the branch going to respond to this?
As we have said previously, compulsory redundancies will always be a matter for the entire branch to respond to. While the Guild is an area of the University that UNISON has not focused on in recent campaigns, we feel that now is the time for all of us to reach out to our colleagues and to fight back as a united branch.
As described above, your committee are urgently seeking information and seeking to start proper negotiations, but the timescales are very short and we’ve made the decision to put this information out to the wider branch now so we can kickstart a campaign against these job losses.
The first thing we’d ask members to do is to reach out to anyone you know who works at the Guild. At the bottom of this email we’ve included our message to Guild staff – it’s really important we reach non-members as well so all staff can benefit from our advice at this difficult time. Please forward this on!
Message to all Guild staff
UNISON have recently learned of the ongoing restructure taking place at the guild, which could involve several compulsory redundancies.
As the recognised trade union for the Guild, we should have been formally notified and invited to participate in this consultation, but this did not happen. We have written to Jo Thomas to ask for an explanation and for further information about the restructure to be provided.
While we await specific information and justification for this restructure, in general terms we reject any move to make redundancies at this time, while the long-term impact of the pandemic is still so unclear.
It’s vital that we work together against this and in particular:
- If you are one of the affected members of staff we’d urge you to get in contact with us. Even if you aren’t a member we’d be happy to help and advise you as a branch (get in touch for more information of the help we can offer you).
- If you aren’t already a member now is a very good time to join – we’re eager to build our organisation in the guild and we’re aware of a number of issues where we could make a real difference by sticking together and negotiating with senior management as a group. The easiest way to join at the moment is by going to https://join.unison.org.uk/
- If there’s anything you are concerned about or if you’d be willing to have a conversation with us about how things are going at the guild please drop us an email back or drop us a text on 07709583846 (Lee) or 07964926949 (Mike). Another big issue we’re keen to challenge at the moment is the proposed loss of annual leave, so if you’ve been affected by this we’d like to speak to you.
We will be in touch regularly with you all and we are hoping to hold a zoom meeting for Guild staff in the near future. If there’s anything specific you’d like to ask or talk to us about in the meantime please do get in touch.
With all best wishes,
UNISON Branch Committee