A packed extraordinary general meeting of over 90 University and College Union (UCU) members at Sheffield University voted on 28 February to fight management attempts to partially derecognise the union.
UCU currently represents admin, library, and computing staff on higher grades (earning £24k and above) as well as academic staff. The University had threatened to restrict UCU’s negotiating rights only to academic staff on grades 7, 8, and 9 — excluding not only the academic-related staff but the most senior academic staff (professors on grade 10) too.
Though the derecognition proposal has now been withdrawn, the issues are not resolved. That this was even proposed shows a determination on the part of the University to divide academic staff from their colleagues and weaken our collective bargaining power. Alongside this attack on the union, the University is trying to remove the enhanced protection against redundancy and the independent disciplinary procedures that underpin the commitment to academic freedom in the University Statutes.
The meeting voted to endorse a formal dispute with the University if that becomes necessary and to launch both a campaign to inform members of these threats and to recruit new members within UCU’s existing membership remit.