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May, 2021:

Working Times and Locations

Management have initiated a consultation on “Ways of Working”, in the light of the university’s experience during Covid. Consultation with the unions has been scheduled but has not yet happened, but in the meantime Management have been conducting additional consultations in the services and some schools. The consultation is of particular importance for professional services staff, who have long been subjected to unnecessarily rigid restrictions on their working times and locations, and there is now an opportunity to address that unnecessary rigidity. For academic staff, there has always been satisfactory agreement on the principles governing academic working times and locations, set out in the Working Off Campus Guidelines – Final draft March 2017 agreed between UCU and Management in 2017: an academic’s working times and locations are determined entirely by what is inherently required by the duties specified on the academic’s workload plan.

 

In at least one school, academic staff have been told by a manager that academic staff will be required to be on campus on a minimum of three set days per week, which of course would be in defiance of the existing agreement and utterly unacceptable to UCU. UCU believe that this is the result of regrettably poor communication within Management, and a Senior Management proposal whose intent is to relax restrictions on professional services staff’s working times and locations has been garbled into a putative intention to introduce novel restrictions on academic staff; but in the event that Management were to launch an attack on the long-standing principles governing academics’ working times and locations, UCU would of course resist it to the utmost.

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