University of Essex UCU petition: guarantee our working conditions

University of Essex UCU petition: guarantee our working conditions

This petition was developed by members of academic departments and UCU local branch. It seeks support from all members of academic staff (whether permanent or fixed-term, senior or probationary, union members or not).

Dear Vice-Chancellor,

  • In September 2017, approximately one-eighth of the research-active staff were sent letters warning that their positions might be in danger, including the invocation of Capability proceedings to remove them from their jobs. This represents an alarming increase in the use of Capability at Essex. It is evidence not of individual failure of academics but a system that creates failure. As the eminent sociologist C. Wright Mills argued, if there are 1-2 people unemployed in a city, we may look to their individual psychology for answers, but if it is 5-10% of the population, then it is a social not an individual problem.
  • This development is linked to the invention at Essex of an internal REF process, requiring all researchers to achieve 4 publications which judges in our Depts. believe to be 3* – two of them accepted by September 2017 – even before national REF targets had been set. We now know only one is required. Linking this setting of internal publication targets to job security,is an unprecedented move, practically unique to Essex, and one that has led to a widely-perceived de-professionalisation of academics and job threats. It also represents mission creep: Capability procedures have never been systematically used for this before.
  • Another extremely serious issue, again unique to Essex, is the declaration by senior management that academics with probationary status are not “academic staff”. This curious claim is not just a matter of semantics – it appears intended to deny probationers the protection of Ordinance 41 which covers procedures for capability, disciplinary, grievances, and redundancy that management cannot easily change, and guarantees academic freedom and “the principles of justice and fairness”. (Links below.)
  • The national President of UCU, Joanna de Groot, when she visited Essex this month, expressed shock at this move and questioned the wisdom of the senior management failing to recognise probationary staff as “academic staff”, given the possible impact this may have on hiring the best new staff in future. She rightly insisted probationers are certainly not fixed-term staff and are entitled to the same protections as other academics.

We, the undersigned University of Essex staff:

  • Believe that our working conditions are student learning conditions; a University which aims for the best student learning must guarantee the best working conditions for its staff.
  • Insist that Capability procedures should not be invoked routinely on the basis of internal REF targets.
  • Insist that senior management recognize that probationers are “academic staff” and are covered by Ordinance 41.
  • Seek a commitment that ALL probationers University-wide are given adequate relief from teaching and administration, and independent routes by which they may confidentially raise any concerns about lack of support, unreasonable teaching loads, or pressure from Dept. leadership.
  • Expect leadership in Depts (including HoDs and Research directors), Schools (including Executive Deans), and senior management across the University (including Human Resources) to take a primarily supportive, inclusive and positive stance towards colleagues who need assistance. There is no room for a negative or punitive approach to our colleagues.
  • Expect leadership to consistently uphold the highest standards of openness, accountability, integrity, objectivity and indeed all of the Nolan principles; to operate under proper and effective oversight by the members of the University,e. transparency about where and how decisions are made, where responsibility lies and clarity about how decisions may be questioned and challenged; and to observe existing principles, policies and protections.

University of Essex UCU petition: guarantee our working conditions

University of Essex UCU petition: guarantee our working conditions

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Signed:
305 Roisin Ryan-Flood University of Essex
304 Loes van Dam University of Essex
303 Leo McCann The University of Manchester Good luck and all solidarity.
302 Darren Calley School of Law, Essex
301 Olena Kaminska University of Essex
300 Aiko Ikemura Amaral
299 dimitri ognibene University of Essex
298 Alex Daye University of Essex
297 Sareen Galbraith Leeds Beckett University
296 Christopher Timms University of Essex
295 Anna Stavrianakis University of Sussex
294 Paul Clarke University of Essex
293 Emma Carter University of Leeds
292 Alan Roe University of Leeds
291 Richard Smith Goldsmiths, University of London Essex Alumnus (MA Comparative History) who is appalled at this attack on workplace rights and staff wellbeing.
290 Lynn Blake Bridgwater and Taunton College
289 Dave Procter Leeds Beckett University
288 Kathryn Backhouse Harrogate
287 Stephen Jordan University of Essex
286 Marian Mayer Bournemouth University As the chair of the Southern Region of UCU on behalf of institions in the region we urge Essex University's Management to adopt the measures called for in this petition. The good reputation of Essex depends on doing so.
285 Karen Nicholls Sheffield Hallam University
284 Dr Brendon Nicholls University of Leeds As an alumnus of the University of Essex, I am disappointed at the lack of vision and the desperate managerialism of this measure. Have you no regard at all for your talented, professional and highly respected academic staff?
283 Sue Abbott Newcastle University Completely unacceptable
282 Vicky Blake University of Leeds Leeds
281 Ricardo Samaniego University of Essex
280 Matt Houlbrook University of Birmingham Signed as a former University of Essex PhD student, a current external examiner, and Professor of Cultural History at the University of Birmingham.
279 Stephen Dunne University of Edinburgh I really hope that the Senior Managers at Essex are OK: they do such great work and everybody loves them.
278 Jamie Pickering University of Essex - PhD candidate
277 Maryam Aldossari University of Edinburgh
276 rashne limki I am interested to know how the administration will redress the egregious harm already caused by their actions, especially in light of the newly released REF guidelines that make all centrally-imposed performance surveillance futile and well out-of-step. Is there to be any accountability?
275 Richard Strange School of Biological Sciences
274 Tom Cameron University of Essex I fully support the UCU on probationary staff - I think it is unwarranted to say that the internal REF is unique to Essex , it has and is happening elsewhere. If you reworded that I could support it.
273 Leon Sealey-Huggins University of Warwick
272 Chloe Peacock Goldsmiths, University of London
271 Paloma Carretero García University of Essex
270 Casper Hoedemaekers University of Essex
269 Rowland Curtis Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL)
268 Carrie Friese London School of Economics (LSE)
267 G. K. Bhambra University of Sussex
266 Sam Dallyn The University of Manchester As a former PhD student at Essex University I was deeply disheartened to read about this short sighted and punitive approach to the treatment of staff, which js directly contrary to the vibrant and collegial research culture, that Essex has a long standing reputation for in the social sciences and humanities and which is now being put in jeopardy by senior managers.
265 Nelson Fernandez University of Essex
264 John Holmwood The University of Nottingham
263 Ella Simpson Bath Spa University
262 john walshe PPS
261 Vikki Bell Goldsmiths, University of London
260 Matthew Fuller Goldsmiths, University of London Having been an external examiner at Essex, I am dismayed to see this undermining of academic staff.
259 Marina Vishmidt Goldsmiths, University of London
258 Jennifer Farmer Goldsmiths, University of London
257 Phoenix Perry Goldsmiths, University of London
256 Lynne Pettinger University of Warwick
255 Francis Spufford Goldsmiths The demand that all research outputs be 3* or above is essentially a mathematically illiterate demand that everybody be above average, all the time.
254 Jack Wright University of Cambridge
253 Ann Kelly King's College London (KCL) OXFORD
252 Ben Whitham De Montfort University (DMU)
251 Stephen Jones Newman University College
250 Jonathan Perraton University of Sheffield
249 Pete Fussey
248 Martin Greenwood University of Manchester
247 Andrew Przybylski University of Oxford I was formerly a lecturer at Essex and I am deeply disturbed by the details I've read about this internal REF process.
246 Fiona Hughes SPAH, University of Essex
245 Stephen Moonie Newcastle University
244 Yu-chin Tseng University of Essex
243 Savvas Voutyras University of Essex
242 Margot Kuylen University of Essex
241 Natalie Slade Secondary School As an Assistant Headteacher, I am appalled at this move. A lack of stability of employment can only be detrimental to the quality of education provided.
240 Liam Jarvis University of Essex
239 Amy Stevens University of Essex
238 Lorcan Whitehead University of Essex
237 Valerie Fraser University of Essex
236 Alexandra Popescu University of Essex
235 Steven Gormley University of Essex
234 Mary Mazzilli University of Essex
233 Jordan Savage University of Essex
232 AlejandraD Díaz de León University of Essex
231 Jeremy Krikler Department of History, University of Essex We want to look after each other in a proper community.
230 Michael Halewood University of Essex
229 Ayse Guveli Department of Sociology Colchester
228 Jane Hindley University of Essex Colchester
227 Samer Gharib University of Essex
226 Conor Wilson Bath Spa University
225 Tatiana Sanchez University of Essex
224 Sonia Bhalotra ISER Essex
223 Malcolm Brynin University of Essex HEFCE understands that research performance depends on the individual context. It is clear that they expect junior researchers to have 1-2 publications by the next REF. But our university management is so much wiser and expects them to have 2 when we are not even half-way there, and 4 when they are there.Quantity, not quality. And as a result careers and livelihoods are being destroyed.
222 Nadine Rossol University of Essex
221 Graeme Davies University of Leeds Alumni.
220 Chris Green University of Essex
219 Rachel Rich Leeds Beckett University
218 Nigel South University of Essex
217 Lisa Smith University of Essex
216 Mark Frost University of Essex
215 Amanda Flather University of Essex
214 Alix Green University of Essex
213 seb randall University of Essex
212 Karen Roehr-Brackin University of Essex
211 Pamela Knowles Bath Spa University
210 Raihana Mohammed University of Essex Keep our researchers
209 Patrick Turner Bath Spa University This is a monstrous move and set of developments on the part of the senior management at Essex. To exploit the REF to bring academics to heel and to potentially remove people from their posts is unconscionable and ill bodes for university based scholarship as a vocation in this country.
208 Daniel Watts University of Essex
207 Ruth Weir University of Essex
206 Udo Kruschwitz University of Essex
205 Paul Buka Southend Campus
204 Lisa Blackmore
203 Fabian Freyenhagen University of Essex
202 Ceri Watkins University of Essex
201 Susan Smith University of Essex
200 Renginee Pillay University of Essex
199 Anastasia Caratzas Athens, Greece Essex Alumnus
198 Alexandra Neag University of Essex
197 Gavin Grindon University of Essex
196 Melissa Tyler University of Essex
195 Blaithin Spillane Dublin 9
194 Yasemin Soysal University of Essex
193 Yuni Kim University of Essex
192 Nawel Hamidi University of Essex Colchester
191 John Haynes University of Essex
190 Nick Allum University of Essex
189 Christina Volkmann University of Essex
188 Javier Andreu Perez University of Essex
187 Vineeta Chand University of Essex
186 Jaakko Nevasto University of Essex
185 Munira Ali University of Essex
184 Jennifer Randall
183 Ellisif Wasmuth University of Essex
182 Joshua Kennedy University of Essex
181 Davide Valeriani
180 Brendan Read University of Essex
179 Jon Chamberlain University of Essex
178 Alba Garcia Seco de Herrera University of Essex
177 Sean Nixon University of Essex
176 Michael Roper Department of Sociology, University of Essex
175 Caroline Barratt University of Essex
174 Samuel Oliver
173 Paul Hunt University of Essex
172 David Batho University of Essex
171 Diana Presciutti University of Essex
170 John-Baptiste Oduor University of Essex
169 Jakub Kowalewski University of Essex
168 Caspar Pearson University of Essex
167 Sally Weatherill Economist
166 gill green University of Essex
165 Laila Haidarali University of Essex
164 Irene McMullin University of Essex
163 Maria Cristina Fumagalli University of Essex
162 Ewen Speed University of Essex
161 Susan Stallabrass University of Essex
160 Mark Francis-Wright University of Essex
159 Dorothee Schneider University of Essex Colchester
158 Anna Sergi University of Essex
157 Sherrie Green Health & Social Care
156 Natasha Ruiz-Gomez University of Essex
155 Anna Hardiman-McCartney University of Essex
154 Yanxi Wu University of Essex Colchester
153 Penny Simpson University of Essex
152 Zeta Bakaki University of Essex, Government Department
151 Anna Alexandrova University of Cambridge
150 Spyros Samothrakis University of Essex
149 Gundi Knies University of Essex
148 Laurel Lawyer University of Essex
147 Silvia Rigato University of Essex
146 Elaine Ewart University of Essex
145 Julia Partheymueller University of Essex Colchester
144 Clinton Verdonschot University of Essex
143 Peter Higgins University of Essex
142 Maggie Pitfield Goldsmiths, University of London
141 Tuesday Watts University of Essex
140 Ella Jeffries University of Essex
139 Melissa Shales University of Essex
138 Anna Grant Goldsmiths, University of London
137 Florence Myles University of Essex
136 Uri Horesh University of Essex
135 Jason Glynos Department of Government, University of Essex
134 Joshua Grocott The university of essex Why does the university of essex never appear in anyone's maps? I have the same issue everyone I try to get an NUS discount at Choice.
133 Richard McGuire
132 Robert Johns Government, Essex
131 Rampaul Chamba
130 Nele Schuldt
129 Eamonn Carrabine University of Essex
128 Shaul Bar-Haim University of Essex
127 Miroslav Sirota Psychology
126 Clément Mouhot University of Cambridge
125 Marie Guillot University of Essex
124 Ian Dudley Univerisy of Essex
123 Stanislava Dikova University of Essex
122 Katy Wheeler University of Essex
121 Ida Pu Goldsmiths, University of London
120 Jake Newell University College London (UCL)
119 Jonathan King University of Essex
118 Jessica Houlihan University of Essex
117 Rosalyn George Goldsmiths, University of London
116 Sanjay Seth Goldsmiths, University of London
115 Ben Offiler Sheffield Hallam University
114 Susan Kelly Goldsmiths, University of London
113 Neli Demireva University of Essex Colchester Campus
112 Thomas Zacharias Goldsmiths, University of London
111 Kathryn Buchanan University of Essex
110 Maria-Irina Popescu University of Essex
109 Marian Carty Goldsmiths, University of London
108 Mohd A
107 Maria Filippetti University of Essex
106 Natalie Fenton Goldsmiths, University of London
105 Katharine Jenkins The University of Nottingham
104 Simon Carmel EBS, University of Essex
103 Stephen Murphy Ebs
102 James Allen-Robertson University of Essex
101 Jana Kujundzic University of Essex
100 Carlos Gigoux Department of Sociology
99 Hedi Viterbo University of Essex
98 Miriam Glucksmann University of Essex
97 Ewa Morawska Sociology Department
96 Jun Li University of Essex
95 Haslifah Hashim University of Essex Colchester
94 Marina Michalski EBS
93 Timea Tallodi Colchester Campus School of Law Colchester
92 Pamela Cox
91 Anna Di Ronco University of Essex
90 Philip Hancock University of Essex - EBS
89 Mark Harvey University of Essex, Sociology
88 Claire Jackson-Prior Sutton
87 Frances Cornford British Library Alarmed at this treatment of academic staff.
86 Tom Flynn University of Essex
85 Federica Genovese
84 Edward Higgs Unuversity of Essex I have already seen on promising academic driven to a mental breakdown by such 'support' and she has now left academia.
83 Mariachiara Barzotto University of Essex
82 Georgi Grahovski University of Essex, Department of Mathematical Sciences
81 Alexandra Cox
80 Laura Montanaro University of Essex
79 Katie Groves University of Essex
78 Dr Jörg Schaub University of Essex
77 Anil Yilmaz University of Essex
76 Marjana Johansson EBS
75 Andrew Fagan University of Essex
74 Rael Dawtry University of Essex
73 Rick O'Gorman Psychology, University of Essex
72 Stevphen Shukaitis University of Essex
71 Nicholas Beuret University of Essex
70 Thoko Kaime University of Essex
69 Emily Jones School of Law, University of Essex
68 Andrew Larkin University of Essex
67 Dounia Bissar University of Essex
66 Audrey Guinchard University of Essex fully support the petition - bear in mind also that capability procedures have been used to manage the side-effects of disability
65 Dilly Meyer University of Essex
64 Maitrayee Deka University of Essex
63 Sheri Markose Economics Dept University of Essex
62 Judith Bueno de Mesquita School of Law, University of Essex
61 Dominique Knutsen Department of Psychology, University of Essex
60 Doug Arnold University of Essex
59 Gerald Williams University of Essex
58 Amy Cole University of Essex - TDC
57 Tom Cornford School of Law
56 Michelle Paul University of Essex
55 Robin West Dept. of Sociology, University of Essex
54 Angus Holford University of Essex
53 Laure Sauvé University of Essex
52 Laurie Hawkins
51 Jackson Adams EBS at Essex University Colchester
50 Peter Gurney University of Essex
49 Anne Kavanagh University of Essex
48 Renee Luthra University of Essex
47 Matt Lodder University of Essex
46 Emily Dyson St Marylebone School, London
45 David Stewart Newcastle University
44 Steffan Kennett Department of Psychology
43 Marianna Marra
42 Louisa Sadler University of Essex
41 Edward Mitchell University of Essex
40 Owen Robinson University of Essex
39 Danielle Tucker University of Essex
38 Constantin Mehmel University of Essex
37 Helge Gillmeister University of Essex
36 Douglas Giles University of Essex It is a shame that universities no longer seem to care about teaching. We are supposed to be educators, yet here we are arguing about how many publications people have and who should be fired for not having enough. What about people who can teach?
35 Nicholas Cooper University of Essex
34 Martin Reed University of Essex
33 Mario Burghausen University of Essex/Essex Business School/Colchester
32 Elia Valentini University of Essex Colchester
31 Kate Seymour University of Essex
30 Jan Jakob Bornheim University of Essex
29 Caterina Cinel Essex
28 Caroline Carney
27 Pasi Ahonen University of Essex
26 Karen Brennan University of Essex
25 Mohammed Khair Alshaleel University of Essex Colchester
24 Kholoud Mohsen University of Essex
23 Claire Delle Luche University of Essex COLCHESTER
22 Eirini Konstantinidou University of Essex
21 Christian De Cock University of Essex - Essex Business School I would like to add that in my former capacity as Head of Group (MMO at EBS) I pointed out that the University is clearly failing in its Duty of Care towards employees in its implementation of these policies. The only response I got back from my line manager is that I should not put such matters in an email (or any written communication)
20 Rosie Worsdale University of Essex
19 Monika Schmid University of Essex
18 Nicolas Geeraert University of Essex, Psychology
17 Devon Wybrow University of Essex
16 Lorna Finlayson University of Essex
15 Richard Cornes University of Essex
14 Clara Sandoval University of Essex Colchester
13 Isabel Crowhurst University of Essex
12 Mohammed Shamsul Karim University of Essex, Essex Business School / Southend
11 Sophia Skoufaki University of Essex
10 Helen Rand University of Essex
9 Matthew Stone University of Essex
8 Daragh Murray University of Essex This petition should also ideally reference the Stern report, and the requirement that not all staff submit 4 pieces. I would also like to counter the idea that staff who do submit four will someone resent if others submit less, because of different circumstances (which include professional workload). I absolutely reject that assertion, which I believe undermines a collegiate atmosphere.
7 Stephen Sangwine University of Essex
6 Peter Patrick University of Essex, Language and Linguistics
5 Darren Thiel dept sociology, essex
4 Colin Samson University of Essex
3 Chris Fox University of Essex
2 Michael Bailey University of Essex
1 Linsey McGoey University of Essex

Documents relevant to probation

  • Ordinance 34 reads as follows:
    “DEFINITION OF ACADEMIC STAFF
    ‘Academic Staff’ means all persons holding appointments as Professors, Readers, Senior Lecturers, Senior Research Fellows, Lecturers, Research Fellows, Senior Research Officers or Research Officers of the University…”
  • We note that probationers have letters of appointment.
  • Recent procedures and guidance relevant to probation are available here.
  • One document dated March 2017 is titled “Guidance for Probationary Academic Staff”.
  • The first point after the VC’s own intro message reads: “As a new member of our academic staff you are required to serve a period of probation”
  • Point 1.1 of the document “Probation – Academic and Research Staff Notes for Guidance for Heads of Departments and Probationary Supervisors”, dated Oct 2013 updated Mar 2017, reads:
  • “The standard period of probation for Academic and Research staff appointed to a permanent contract at, or below, Grade 9 is three years”
  • We note that all of these recent documents state, assume or imply that probationers are members of “academic staff”. The declaration by management that they are not appears to be at odds with the University’s own policies and procedures.
  • The Nolan Principles may be found here.