Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Statement to remuneration committee

The recent financial crisis at LMU has resulted in a mass reduction in staff, services and resources. Thus causing substantial reviews across the university that are due to take place in academic year 2010/11. One of these reviews addresses the pay and reward scheme currently in operation. The PRP scheme alone which is paid out to approximately 200 senior members of staff currently costs the university around £1m per annum. This is not considered to be a productive avenue of expenditure and therefore should be suspended with immediate effect to prevent any further financial wastage.

Such wastage in the present economic climate along with LMU’s current financial position is unacceptable. The number of student facing staff has been massively reduced causing a negative impact on the students. However, student numbers are still over 25,000. Departments have been merged and reduced having a significant impact on the operations of the university, its facilities, students and staff. We are also concerned that the hygiene standards at LMU have greatly deteriorated since the cleaning services have been outsourced. If LMU can afford to spend around £1m on PRP, why can they not afford good hygiene?

The financial expenditure that has been allocated to staff bonuses could be better utilised. For instance, providing an increase in the wage of those staff currently receiving the minimum wage thus bringing their salary in line with the Living Wage of £7.85 per hour. Such an increase would improve staff morale resulting in improved quality of services delivered to LMU, as opposed to causing animosity or creating a class division amongst the staff members by wasting money on awards for already highly paid staff.

Ordinarily a business or organisation which has undergone significant change (as has happened at LMU) the management structure is generally de-layered. This involves reducing senior roles and/or reducing the number of pay grades and salary ranges to create a cost effective, productive management structure that fits the new shape of the organisation. This would be the logical move for LMU.

Met SU, UCU and UNISON fully support the remuneration review and requests that all staff bonus schemes be suspended with immediate effect pending review. We also request that the case for paying the minimum Living Wage to those staff members receiving the minimum pay rate be heard and taken into consideration at the review. Finally, we request that the LMU management structure including at faculty level also be reviewed in the coming academic year.

Read the full post with comments!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Joint Statement on London Met 'Bankruptcy' rumours from UNISON, UCU and LMSU

BBC Radio News reported on Saturday 25th September that London Met was one of three institutions at risk of bankruptcy (the others being Cumbria University and the University of Gloucestershire). A repeat report appeared on Sunday 26th in the Telegraph. We believe such reports are based on rumour, exaggeration and ill-informed inference drawn from well-worn stories that were already within the public domain.

In no case did the reports derive from any recent comments from the institutions themselves nor, to our knowledge, were the institutions requested to report on their financial health.

The timing of these stories is unlikely to be an accident. Coinciding with the start of a new academic year and in the run up to the Comprehensive Spending Review, the reports are at best irresponsible and at worst have been put forward by groups opposed to public funded education as disinformation intended to alarm staff and students currently at London Met or the other institutions and to discourage future students.

We believe such rumours are part of a much wider 'softening-up' of the public in an attempt to create an 'inevitability' around mass cuts to higher education provision and to justify the ideologically-driven encroachment of private sector for profit companies into higher education.

UCU, UNISON and the LMSU invite London Met management and all supporters of London Met to engage in a joint campaign by all supporters of London Met to make the case for fully funded Higher Education and in defence of institutions such as London Met that provide vital training and educational provision to what are highly diverse and culturally mixed local populations at a time of recession and increasing unemployment.
Read the full post with comments!