A new voluntary redundancy scheme has been offered to members of academic and administrative staff by the University as a cost-cutting measure as part of the recent Departmental Review process.
One of those to take voluntary redundancy under this scheme is Andy Summers, currently Campus Bar Manager with responsibility for all campus bars and events at which alcohol is served. The new severance scheme follows widespread criticism of the University for a number of cases regarding the ill treatment of its staff.
Documents obtained by Nouse show there have been 10 incidents of formal internal grievance and two tribunal cases. One of these tribunal cases was an incident of racial discrimination in which £11,000 compensation was granted to the employee.
There has also been a case of sexual harassment, following which “appropriate formal disciplinary action was taken”. After this, a collective grievance was taken against a “section manager’s leadership style” and criticism was leveled at the “unilateral introduction of new working arrangements.” Summers, who declined to comment on his situation, has presided over a series of cutbacks to bar opening times and closures including the shutting down of Langwith bar.
According to Jon Greenwood, Director of Commercial Services, Summers will not be replaced when he leaves at the end of this term and there are no plans in place to refill his position.
Greenwood highlighted the current problem on campus of the low level of revenue generated by campus bars and said that in order to “cut costs rather than close bars”, Commercial Services have made savings by removing posts such as that of Bar Manager.
Greenwood said he is content with the number of people that applied for the severance scheme and added, “I am happy to have made that cost saving. I can afford to let Andy go.”
The voluntary severance scheme has been set up in addition to the existing University early retirement policy and was offered to all members of staff under the Departmental Review program.
As the University’s redundancy policy states, employees will be offered a scheme such as this when “financial pressures, changes in the demand for services, funding provision, or organisational, technological or academic developments” have an effect on staffing requirements.
Under the University’s Departmental Review program, every academic and administrative department has had to find a way to cut 5% out of its budget.
The scheme was established on a purely voluntary basis where a number of employees applied and were accepted if it was considered that it would not be detrimental to their department.
The selection was to be “determined by the University’s requirements to retain key skills and experience to meet the present and anticipated needs of the University.” No positions made redundant under this scheme will be replaced in the future.
Greenwood is keen to point out that as a result of the system’s successful implementation, Commercial Services have been able to re-organise their staffing arrangements to produce “a financial benefit”.
Colin Smith, Director of Physical Recreation, has also taken early retirement under the new severance scheme and will leave the University at the end of this year. He has held his post, which puts him in charge of all sports and recreational facilities at the University, for almost 30 years. Smith’s deputy has also taken advantage of the scheme.
Smith said he is “very happy” with his decision. Though he describes the scheme as “efficient”, he is keen to deny any accusations that there is something “sinister” about it.
Although individual cases were not disclosed, a member of administrative staff who did not wish to be named, in fear of their position, told Nouse that not all the staff offered the scheme were happy about the situation.