Reporter 446, 7 February 2000


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UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS

 

Position Statement on Bett Report on Higher Education Pay and Conditions

 

General Framework and Direction

The University supports the framework proposed by Bett for the reform of Higher Education pay and conditions. Whilst not necessarily endorsing every element of the detail, it believes that the report offers a welcome and positive opportunity for making progress and for creating a more appropriate employment framework for the future.

Reform of National Pay Arrangements

The University is broadly supportive of the proposals to simplify and rationalise the national framework for determination of pay and conditions of service. It supports the proposed establishment of a National Council and its associated structures to replace the current pay bargaining arrangements. Naturally the University would emphasise that UCEA should only operate within the National Council on the basis of the consent of member institutions. In negotiations on terms and conditions particularly the University would want UCEA to ensure that these are conducted in such a way as to protect the autonomy and diversity of institutions and the ability of institutions to provide employment terms which enabled them to recruit and retain high calibre staff.

The University has some concerns about the "two Sub-Councils" approach and feels it is important that this does not create any sense of "two tier treatment" of staff. The salary arrangements that result from the new framework should reflect a partnership that is the essential cornerstone of the relationship between academic and other staff.

The University is supportive of the proposals to establish new minimum rates for academic staff by 2002, including the commitments to significantly improve rewards for new lecturers and professors and equivalent senior academic managers and measures to address the disparities in market rates for manual and junior clerical and technical staff.

The University would not support any move to create a "regional level" for pay negotiation purposes.

The University feels that the proposals for a national grading framework for academic staff with local flexibility is a reasonable approach. It also feels that for staff groups where the labour market is predominantly "local" then local pay determination is the most sensible approach. The University welcomes proposals to improve the flexibility of Universities as employers to reward success, achievement, initiative and innovation.

Job Evaluation

The University recognises that there is a need to consider alternative job evaluation methodologies and to consider implementing job evaluation at least with a number of staff groups. However, it is concerned about the ability of systems currently available to accurately compare jobs particularly in the academic and academic-related grades. The University believes that it is appropriate to move forward with considerable caution and care in these circumstances.

Fixed Term Contracts and Redundancy Pay

The University endorses the proposal that HE institutions should be prepared to offer redundancy pay to staff on fixed term contracts of more than a year. This arrangement is already in operation in Leeds. The University also endorses the proposal that there is scope to reduce the number of fixed term contracts. Again this is an area where the University has already made some progress and is continuing to review what further can be done.

Equal Opportunities Issues

The University welcomes the high profile given to equal opportunities matters in the Bett Report. Its Equal Opportunities Committee will consider the recommendations in this area in detail.

IIP Accreditation

Some departments in the University already have gained IIP accreditation. However, IIP, as it currently stands, does not easily lend itself to introduction in academic departments. The University will, therefore, work with the Leeds TEC to attempt to develop an approach to IIP which minimises bureaucracy and reflects the particular issues of the HE sector.

Statutes

The University notes the comment in the Bett Report that pre-1992 Universities should consider changes to their Statutes which eliminate impediments to good management (in relation to redundancy and dismissal procedures) while ensuring fairness and safeguarding academic freedom. The University will consider its position further in relation to any national initiatives in this area.

AUT Position

The local AUT at Leeds, in its discussions has reiterated the position of the AUT nationally. While welcoming many of the Bett recommendations, it has a number of reservations, inter alia, about the following points:

a) The potential split in bargaining arrangements between academic and academic-related staff. (However, the AUT is not in favour of single-table bargaining.)

b) The proposal to introduce more local flexibility in pay determination.

c) The implicit proposal not to significantly increase the pay of the majority of the staff.

d) The use of job-evaluation in determining salaries.

e) The proposal to alter the University Statute on redundancy and dismissal.

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