Jobs at Leeds are among the most secure in the country because our finances are sound and we have sector-leading policy and procedures for change management and restructuring.
The University has never made any compulsory redundancies; while the possibility cannot be ruled out completely, we remain committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies if at all possible; they are a last resort.
The UCU's first demand is: "Placement of all staff displaced during restructuring into posts of at least the same grade." In other words, it's looking for a cast-iron guarantee that nobody will ever lose their job - or their grade - at the University. We cannot offer jobs for life; we have provided the next best thing.
Unsubstantiated claims from the UCU head office of '1,000 jobs under threat' are reckless and untrue.
Jobs at Leeds are safeguarded through a five-stage organisational change policy, agreed with campus trade unions last year. This ensures that staff are involved in decisions affecting their livelihoods and trade unions are consulted through the Employment Security Review Group (ESRG). Senate has full oversight of restructuring and change management activities, including responsibility for approving and monitoring all school and service reviews.
The policy sets out four detailed stages before the last resort, compulsory redundancy, can be reached. It does not say that there will never be a person displaced, or a job lost but - quite rightly - it imposes the highest level of scrutiny on all such decisions. It means that compulsory redundancy is genuinely the very last option when all other possibilities have been exhausted.
It has been described by the unions and the University as sector-leading and ground-breaking; it certainly affords the highest level of protection conceivable to a job in the public sector in any financial climate - let alone the current situation.
Why then are the UCU officers attempting to row back on this agreement?
As the Vice-Chancellor said in his blog: "Not a single member of staff has been made compulsorily redundant - ever - from the University and, as the March agreement makes clear, it remains a last resort."
Sound financial management is our best protection for employment; the £35m economies exercise readied us for the cuts ahead. During the past year, some 500 colleagues have chosen to accept the terms offered by the voluntary leavers' scheme (VLS), thus further safeguarding jobs at Leeds.
For more information, see
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Staff, Stephen Scott's letter to Sally Hunt
UCU's response to the VC's letter
Vice-Chancellor's letter to Sally Hunt
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Staff, Stephen Scott's blog
Vice-Chancellor's blog of 28 January
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