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Issue 480, 22 April 2002


Criteria for money impossible to meet

Nick Allen
Central student administration

By what stretch of the imagination can this method of distributing money donated to the University be deemed to be showing 'fairness and equity' to all members of staff (Giving rewards for exceptional work, Reporter 479)?

The criteria by which we are all invited to apply are either: simply impossible for many staff to meet Š how do cleaning staff, works and service staff, lower grade clerical staff demonstrate that they have recorded 'a significant achievement' (point A) at work or that their efforts have affected a 'key recruitment or retention issue' (point D); or they are asking people to work beyond their contracts (point B); or they are looking to reward staff for attendance at 'conference/training course ........  study leave' – all of which are covered in payment of expenses and unsocial hours pay.

This only leaves 'point C' which is aimed at 'Lecturer A or Research 1A' scales, which I think gives a real indication of who the University intends should receive this money.

The only fair and equitable solution is to take the amount of money, divide it by the number of staff employed and put the amount you arrive at in everyone's pay packet.

We need our own mini bus station

David Pilbeam
School of Biology

It is obvious from the correspondence on car parking that there is considerable resistance from many staff to the idea of using public transport.

As a practical idea for improving the attractiveness of buses, why does the University not convert the area round the main entrance into a mini bus station with a waiting room? The prospect of waiting in the warm, with access to a coffee machine and with computer screens to see where the bus has got to, would at least make the journey home more pleasant. I would be sorry to see the attractive flower border go, but it would give public transport a small boost.

Why reserve places if they're not filled?

Frances Ledgard
Skills & Employability Unit

Please could someone explain to me why ten places are permanently reserved in the visitors' car park for 'Council members', when Council meetings now start at 5.15 pm, a time when all the car parks are starting to empty anyway? When on-campus parking is so tight, this seems singularly wasteful.

I realise that some Council members may visit the University at other times, but surely not ten of them at once. Why not reserve just, say, three places?

If you can't get to work – then move!

Tony Fox
School of chemistry

I must take issue with Allison Iredale (Letters, Reporter 479) that parking preference be given to long distance commuters. Of course it is in the interest of the community of Leeds that as many as possible use public transport.

I moved away from Headingley with my family some ten years ago for many reasons, one being danger to children caused by the routine dangerous driving of commuters rat running the street where we lived. (handbrake turns at backed-up traffic queues). Sadly quite a few of these cars carried University permits. The neighbours used to wind me up about it.

We moved ten miles out of the city to a location with a good bus and train service.

It is all very well to live esoterically at a safe distance from the pollution and danger one causes by the choice of one's transport mode, it is quite another to insist that the people within this affected community should also have the privilege of paying high council taxes to maintain excessive infrastructure to support those wealthy enough to live at a distance, quite possibly in an area where their council tax makes no contribution to such infrastructure.

If people have difficulty in getting to work they should do what people have done for centuries. MOVE!

Provide more cr¸che places – not parking

Dr Nicola Shelton
Mother & Infant Research Unit

I remain fascinated by the ongoing debate about car parking at the University. In my previous post in London parking was available outside the building at a mere £4 per hour for a maximum of two hours. The longest distance commuter I knew came in every day from Grantham by public transport, that at £5,000 per annum was a lot more expensive than to commute from even the remotest part of Yorkshire to the University of Leeds.

My husband and I, both university employees and despite car sharing and having a one-year-old at nursery, do not have a parking permit. We do, however, drive and park near the park and then walk in, because, after we have dropped our daughter off at a private nursery in Headingley, it would seem mad to then drive back home to Kirkstall and leave the car there and then get a bus.

We applied for a University nursery place seven months before the baby was due and yet were only 32nd on the nursery waiting list when she was born, so are not using University facilities.

I would much rather the University concentrated on providing more cr¸che places than parking ones! Because of the relative cheapness of University parking permits (compared to the £4 per day to park in the Faversham) it seems to me that the University is subsidising its parking permitted staff to the tune of several hundred pounds a year of tax-free perks and that anyone who chooses to use public transport, walk, cycle etc. ought to get that too! Either that or all University parking should be £4 per day and the University could then raise some revenue to support a bigger and better cr¸che.

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