You may by now have seen this post on the intranet about ‘Discussions to modify our current information and consultation arrangements; a vote to approve union representation’. You may well be wondering what it’s all about!

This is the beginning of the University’s response to staff’s Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) request that over 160 staff put forward in November. The intention behind that was to create a forum where all staff, not just those representing two unions, would be represented and consulted over important issues.

It’s great that the University is going to set up a new forum, but the way they are  going about it is not fair and certainly isn’t what many of us hoped for when we signed the petition.

The ICE regulations are supposed to allow all staff to have the opportunity of representing their colleagues in negotiations over the new forum, yet instead of giving everyone the opportunity to stand, the University has attempted to control the process from the start, by limiting the choice of reps to 2 each from the UCU and UNISON committees.

Voting ‘yes’ to the University’s proposal means that only 4 reps, pre-selected from the unions that are already recognised and consulted, would be representing all 1000+ staff.

This is contrary to the letter and spirit of the ICE Regulations, and a complaint has already been lodged with the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC). Our hope is that the University will as a consequence put in place a fairer system.

All respect is due to those people who have already stepped forward and offered to represent us. However, we should all have the chance to stand regardless of our backgrounds, and to freely and fairly elect the reps from those standing on that basis.

If you agree with that, it’s really important to VOTE NO on Monday, and pass this on to your colleagues. This wouldn’t affect the standing of the people who have already put themselves forward – they can stand again if they wish to. It would just enable others to stand too!

Please VOTE NO on Monday for a free choice!