The University management issued a letter to HoDs on 24th May (click ‘more’ below to read) detailing the latest staff severance ‘exercise‘. This was done without prior consultation with the campus unions who have requested urgent talks with management. Talks have now been sceduled for Wed 7th Jun. Amicus advice to members who are approached by managers is not to discuss this but inform them that their union is now dealing with this.
Voluntary Severance Exercise (including enhanced early retirement)
1.The University is facing a major financial challenge over the next three to five years to maintain and enhance its activities and reputation in research and learning and teaching. There is a need to focus its resources in areas of academic strength and in essential services to ensure sustainability and financial stability.
2.In addition to continuing efforts to increase surplus revenue in the unregulated areas it is necessary to reduce expenditure and, since staff costs are the largest percentage of expenditure, to reduce the level of staff employed by the university.
3.It is self evident that the outcomes of this exercise must be concomitant with the strategic goals of the university.
4. This Early Retirement/Voluntary Severance exercise is intended to be “enabling” so that its use will not be hindered by predetermined rules or preconceptions of its purpose, other than the overriding criterion that any offer of early retirement or voluntary severance must be self-evidently in the management interest.
5.The exercise will have the following essential elements:-
a. While the exercise may be generally communicated, self-nominations are not invited. Heads of Department are advised to work closely with their HROs on appropriate strategies for approaching eligible individuals
b. The cost of severance or early retirement will be recovered within 12 months
c.The maximum cost will be an individual’s net pay for one year. This may be reduced on a month-for-month basis for departures after the date specified in (d).
d. Ideally departure should be achieved by 1st October 2006 to gain the maximum benefit for 2006/07 and thereby lowering the baseline budget.
e.No contractual re-engagement will be accepted, but academic staff may be bought back as teaching assistants out of existing non-pay budgets
f. If target savings are not achieved voluntarily then the university will need to review what further action is necessary to achieve the required savings
g. Departmental restructuring on a business case basis will also be considered provided the business case conforms to strategic objectives, is robust and assessed as realistic and achievable
Process and timescales
6. Heads of department should review departmental staffing and conduct discussions with potentially eligible staff by mid June, establishing their likely interest in the scheme, and indicating that should they be nominated, HR Officers will contact these staff with ER/Voluntary Severance quotations for their consideration.
7. Heads of Department to forward nominations to HR Director as soon as they have established the interest and in-principle agreement of the individuals, noting the deadline for nominations of eligible staff to Director HR by end of day, Friday, 30th June.
8. Departments and individuals will be notified within one week of nomination of agreement or otherwise, with deadline date of end of day, Friday 28th July for acceptance and finalisation of terms, including agreed termination date. Where department and staff are in agreement more quickly than this, it may be possible to expedite the process.
9. Outplacement counselling and financial advisory services to be individually available on application to Staff Training and Development from 1 July, 2006.
Decisions on acceptance of nominations
10. The Principal will determine which nominations or applications should be accepted, following consultation with the Deputy Principals, Planning and Budgeting and Research, the University Secretary and the Directors of Finance and HR as appropriate. The Principal’s decision shall be final.
Director of Finance
Director of Human Resources