Progress on ACAS discussion is indeed very important, but an agreement on the principles of any restructuring even more so (as well as no compulsory redundancies). ECS (School of Electronics and Computer Science) staff would not wish our worst enemy to go through the agony of waiting to receive an email for an interview that does not arrive, or the wait for some months now to find out whether we have a job after July. It goes without saying, therefore, that ECS staff sincerely hope that no other school will have to experience our predicament.
Following the Dean’s email on Friday, ECS staff are currently dancing in the rhythm of interviews. Members of staff are either (i) to be appointed without interview, (ii) interviewed because they are border-line, or (iii) not interviewed because they have failed to be shortlisted. On Monday 8 PLs were interviewed for 2 Business Information Systems posts, on Tuesday Electronics colleagues were interviewed, Wednesday was the turn of BIS SLs and on Thursday of CSSE PLs. Members of staff who are considered border-line are invited to these interviews – although they are currently performing at the grade they are interviewed for or for a grade ABOVE – usually at two days´ notice. We have been asked to regularly check our email for an interview invitation. Interviewed staff include Heads of Department, Readers, staff with long University service, staff with substantial administrative experience, staff who have recently being regraded… The ones who have not been invited to an interview have either secured a post or are facing redundancy, without the opportunity to defend their application. Our life will go on like that at least till the 30th June, possibly longer.
Our application for a post in the `new structure´ consisted of an application form (based on the Readers´ application form, largely identical for SLs and PLs, with 9 sections where among others managerial experience, budget handling experience and international reputation had to be demonstrated); a support statement on how we could help the school in the future; an academic extended CV; a research summary; and a teaching/administration/research skills matrix. The application process had nothing to do neither with the `old´ Job Evaluation process, nor with the recent one: we were asked to meet substantially more complex essential criteria. The Head of Department `descriptors´ were much easier to meet than the Principal Lecturer/ Senior Lecturer ones (although the Head of Department jobs were not currently advertised). Everybody, including Professors and Readers, had to go through this process. We are not aware of any selection criteria and how they will be used; my UCU rep told me that there are seven criteria, roughly corresponding to the application form´s headings. They haven´t told us either whether a threshold will apply; I found out, again from my UCU rep, that management told the Unions a week ago, well after the applications´
deadline, that a threshold (3/5) for each criterion now applies.
The number of ECS staff to be made redundant varies, depending on which document you read or which meeting you attend. It will involve up to 50, or at best 30 members of staff being made redundant. I have serious doubts whether the school will survive the year with its staff reduced by 50%.
Tell colleagues across the institution that their support is vital. No other school should have to go through the same process.
An ECS member