University and College Union PRESS RELEASE: After colleagues told they are no longer academics but ‘near-peer critical friends,’ facing a loss of academic jobs, salaries, freedoms and threats of redundancy at Birmingham City University.
For the first time in years, staff and students will gather outside University House, where the Vice Chancellor resides, to protest against recent proposals for a restructure of the Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching (CELT) whom ensure consistent, timely and high quality academic and teaching practices across the University through teacher training, supporting learning technologies, professional accreditation and CPD needs.
This is now in jeopardy due to the Dean of Students and Learning, Professor Rachel Scudamore, implementing a radical restructure proposal. This follows a savage 34% budget cut made through an accounting exercise called PPB (priority based budgeting) involving external consultants. PBB will be rolled out to parts of Faculties over the next 12 months. Yet, the University has spent 100s millions on new buildings that are not all fit for purpose.
Re-branded Education Development Service (EDS), experienced academic staff in CELT are being told they will have to apply for lower paid non-academic jobs in the new structure and there is no guarantee there will be no redundancies. Yet, EDS will still lead on the post-graduate PGCert for newly appointed teaching staff and the Master’s in Education Degree Programme, and ironically, drive ambitions to achieve the Teaching Excellence Framework’s Gold award for the University.
To compound this injustice, existing management have been slotted into posts, whilst most academic staff will have to fight for lower paid Professional Services roles through application forms and formal interviews! The resultant levels of stress and anxiety over the uncertainty is not helped by the concessional offer of ‘academic transfers’ to a Faculty – an option that is not guaranteed.
This protest is firstly to stand up for the fundamental rights of employees working to deliver high quality teaching and learning experiences to our University students, and to honour our contracts of employment. Secondly, we wish to stand up and protect the quantity, quality and academic integrity of the services that EDS staff provide to both the 25,000 students and 3000 staff, irrespective of where they are based. UCU believes these aims are also in the wider interest of the University.
The protest is outside University House, 15 Bartholomew Row, B5 5JU.