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Belfast Telegraph highlights ‘outrageous salaries’ of Ulster University management

July 13, 2017

BT pay story

Read the full article here


Staff on maternity leave have webpages removed by University

July 11, 2017

Several members recently contacted the UCU Ulster branch to say that their webpages had been taken down while on maternity leave. If you have a colleague currently on maternity leave, please check to see that their webpage is still live. We need your help, as it is often difficult to contact people on leave.

While the reasons for the removal of the webpages are unclear, it raises a range of issues about the invisibility of women in the workplace while on leave they are entitled to take. Women already experience disadvantages in the academic workplace as a result of taking maternity leave, and childcare reduces opportunities for professional exposure at conferences and events. Webpages are therefore a crucial way that women in academia maintain their professional visibility.

If you find a page is missing, please let us (and the affected person) know, and we will ask the University to restore it urgently. If you know of a webpage that has been removed while the person affected is on maternity leave, please contact the Equality Officer at

Senior managers at Ulster University second highest paid in the UK in a year of mass lecturer redundancies.

July 10, 2017

Senior managers at Ulster University are the second highest paid in the UK, according to the Times Higher Education Pay Survey 2017. Of the 162 universities in the UK, only King’s College London pays its senior managers more than Ulster. The recently published figures for 2015-16 list Ulster University’s ‘managers, directors and senior officials’ as receiving an average salary of £89,414, more than one and a half times the UK average, and almost exactly twice as much as the average salary of a lecturer at Ulster.

The University and College Union (UCU) branch president, Tracy Irwin, said, ‘A university should exist to educate and enable our young people and provide ground-breaking research. These outrageous figures illustrate the increasing shift in Ulster University’s resources towards an inflated managerial level that seeks to run our university like a business.

‘Our senior management should be ashamed of themselves. These figures are from a year when they made unnecessary cuts that that saw over 140 of our lecturer colleagues lose their jobs. At the same time our management were being paid on average twice as much as a lecturer, and our Vice Chancellor was putting in place an extra layer of senior managers’.

The figures also show significant gender pay gaps for all categories of staff, most notably a gap of 9.7% in the non-professorial senior academic category. Tracy Irwin continued: ‘Ulster University management do a lot of talking about commitment to Athena SWAN, a body that recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women working higher education and research, yet they stand over blatant inequity in pay. Our management have a lot of work to do if they are to truly value our female colleagues.’

Reminder: UCU AGM & Elections Wed 28 June

June 19, 2017
The AGM for the Ulster UCU local association will take place on Wednesday 28th June at 1pm.
It will be videoconferenced across all 4 campuses; the list of rooms is below.
We hope to see as many members there as possible.
Jordanstown 7C03
Coleraine J813c
Belfast BA-02-003
Magee MC114

AGM & Elections – New committee members welcome

June 5, 2017

The Annual General Meeting of the UCU Ulster branch will be held on 28th June 2017 (time and room details to follow).

We hope that as many members as possible will attend to hear about our work and campaigns over the past year. The AGM will be video-conferenced across all campuses.

Elections will also be held for Committee and Officer positions. All positions are open for election.

We would encourage members to consider getting involved in the committee for next year, either as officers or to represent members in your own area. If you are interested in joining the committee please complete the attached nomination form and return to Ivan Topping, School of Law. You can also get in touch with Tracy Irwin or any of the current officers for a chat about what the role involves.

Please do not think these are jobs for other / more experienced people. The union is all of us and the more we involve ourselves the better; everyone is offered training if they feel they need it. Officer and committee tasks vary in type and time required, so please feel free to chat to members of this year’s committee for further info on what’s involved if you’re unsure.

To submit your nomination, please download and complete the nomination form, and submit it to our Returning Officer by noon, Wednesday 14th June 2017.

UCU LA nomination form 2017

New proposed Organisational Structural Change Policy

May 4, 2017

4 May 2017

UCU were recently involved in consultations on the proposed Organisational Structural Change Policy and information had been circulated previously on this. The draft document fell well short of national agreements and best practice and we felt that there were insufficient protections for anyone who finds themselves displaced because of the restructuring activities.

However on 12th April, we were informed that this policy was going to be implemented immediately, regardless of our objections and indeed restructuring in the Research and Innovation area had already commenced.

The union has written to management again, asking them to re-enter negotiations on this policy, drawing their attention to good practice which has been agreed in other comparable institutions.  Given that this is going to affect so many staff, in so many areas, as they begin to implement the Faculty restructuring, we think this is a reasonable and fair request in the first instance.  To date, we have had no response from management but we will keep you updated and will seek your views on the next steps.

You can read Management’s response to the consultation requests and OSC Policy – Revised following consultation V 31 March 2017  here.

If you are going to be affected by restructuring or by changes in your working arrangements we can accompany you to meetings, advocate on your behalf, provide you with financial and legal advice and offer you collegial and friendly support. We are also campaigning on wider areas such as workload and casualisation, so keep us informed on what is going on in your area and get in touch if you need our assistance.

You can use the form below to get in touch.

Union respond to HFA restructuring

January 31, 2017

UCU at Ulster have expressed concern at management proposals for restructuring Heads of Faculty Administration. Below is a letter sent to management highlighting those concerns.


UCU have now had the opportunity to review material supplied for the HFA restructuring.

This is the third restructuring we have been party to (COOLT, R&I and now HFA) and to date we have still not seen any policies or protocols to underpin these activities. There seem to be inconsistencies in approach and we wonder why no matching exercise is being carried out in this case, in comparison to the other 2 areas which are currently being restructured. This seems very odd given that 2 of the Faculties in this plan remain unchanged and it would be seem very likely that current posts could be matched closely to the new proposed roles, without the need for interviews and other recruitment processes. We understand that these new positions will be advertised throughout the university and would like to have a detailed rationale for this decision. This is something we have not picked up in previous briefings. We also have no further information on what will happen to those currently in post who are not selected for the new jobs or who choose not to engage; something which we have also raised in previous communications.

As with the other restructuring exercises the material supplied is scant and limited and does not give us sufficient information to fully understand what is going on. There has been no personnel specification supplied and the job description on its own does not allow a full picture of the proposed new role. In this particular instance it would be useful to see the job description of the HFA role so we can understand what is significantly different for the new HFO posts.

Again, as with the other restructurings the proposed timescales are unrealistic and do not allow sufficient time for meaningful consultation. The time frames will not allow current HFAs to prepare themselves or their staff for these changes.

For this particular restructuring exercise UCU would therefore ask for responses to the following issues:

* Please supply a more detailed explanation as to how the new HFO role differs from the present HFA job

* Please supply a personnel specification to ensure full transparency

* What policy or procedure underpins this activity?

* Why is there no matching exercise in this instance?

* What is the rationale behind opening these posts up throughout the university?

* Why when 2 faculties remain unchanged must these 2 individuals still have to reapply for their jobs?

* What will happen to colleagues if they are not appointed to these new roles?

* What will happen to the 2 colleagues who will definitely not be appointed to these new roles?

* What mechanisms are in place for those who do not wish to apply for the new roles?

* How will the transition process be handled?

* Will there be a right of appeal if someone is not appointed?

* If the existing jobs are now redundant, what mechanisms are in place to support those who are detrimentally affected by the restructuring exercise?

As noted earlier in this communication, this is the third restructuring plan that UCU have been notified of. Our questions and concerns from the previous briefings have not been addressed and indeed, these now form a common theme running through all of the restructuring activities. We are concerned that these exercises are being rushed through without satisfactory consultation. In emails and communications with the new leadership team, we are advised that the University wishes to work constructively with the unions but evidence so far does not seem to support this. We ask therefore that these concerns are addressed, as a matter of urgency, before this restructuring exercise or any other goes ahead. It would be useful for our members if you could respond before 7th February.