Save the University. We’ll sack you later

We have been threatened with redundancy at the same time as being expected to return to work under dangerous and stressful conditions.

Save the University!

Across the summer, we worked beyond our contracted hours to get students through remote exams and re-sits; we also responded to the chaotic admissions situation to ensure successful recruitment for 2020-21; we are now preparing and delivering both online and face-to-face teaching within a high-risk working environment.

We won’t thank you!

Rather than any sincere expression of gratitude, University of Reading management has threatened us with mass redundancy and sneaked through a series of one-sided Summer negotiations based on flawed predictions of losses. The final proposal offers us pay cuts and a review of our contractual terms and conditions – and doesn’t protect us from redundancy in Phase 2. It is an insult. We deserve better!

We won’t keep you safe!

Despite pushing staff to provide a ‘mixed economy of both remote and face-to-face teaching’ there has been little support or clear advice from either the University or RUCU. Instead there are a series of ambiguous FAQ’s hidden away on Blackboard: for instance, ‘COVID 19 FAQ. Instructions for managers’; and ‘pass the buck’ risk assessments to be signed by individual staff members.

In its recent ‘Consultation Statement’ (21/08/20) Independent Sage advised that Universities must use online teaching as ‘default option’ and warned that ‘steps must be taken to avoid the ‘disastrous’ consequences of needing to close campuses if infection goes up.

The University of Reading Management has patently failed to set up any track and trace system that would enable effective isolation of staff and students who become infected. They haven’t even got a plan in place ‘should there be an outbreak of coronavirus on our campuses’[1]

If the University has to shut down due to this lack of care and planning, staff will again be the ones expected to cope with the situation. This will continue to have real and detrimental effect on staff’s physical and mental health.

We’ll sack you once you’ve saved us!

Since the start of the Covid pandemic, University Management has demonstrated a staggering level of disloyalty to its staff.

Vote NO to express your right to fair and respectful negotiations based on accurately calculated figures. Staff in other universities have achieved this.

[1] VC’s ‘Thank you and welcome back’ email 28/09/20