November Branch News-Green Paper, Pay,Redeployment and more

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November Branch News

In a busy month, the government published its Green Paper on HE, a campaign started over the 2016 pay claim and amount spent on Sheffield’s high-earners was uncovered.

Earlier this month, UCU responded to the government’s Green Paper with concerns over the negative impacts of a metric-driven framework for assessing teaching quality, pointing at manageable workloads, good working conditions and job security as essential for the provision of excellent teaching (see In Sheffield, our VC has made a number of blog posts about the proposed Teaching Excellence Framework, and we are broadly supportive of his comments.

A campaign is beginning for a fair pay settlement in 2016, with Leeds UCU publishing a collection of blog posts on the subject ( Additionally, a Freedom of Information investigation by a national newspaper revealed that 96 members of staff earn over £100k in Sheffield, with 11 earning over £200k, and two over £300k. We calculate that the £12.8m going to these top earners could pay the salaries of 336 new lecturers (

In line with the motion passed at the October General Meeting, we wrote to the Vice Chancellor regarding the valuation of the USS pension fund, requesting a working group be established to look at the details (see We were also pleased to learn that Jane Hutton of Warwick University, a strong critic of the actions of USS last year (see and, has been appointed to the USS board of trustees as one of the three UCU-nominated directors.

Locally, we are focusing some attention on the redeployment procedure for staff whose contracts come to an end; at the moment, those on the redeployment list have priority over newly advertised jobs for just 48 hours, which we want to see extended significantly in order for people to be able to prepare proper applications. Relatedly, we were pleased to learn that the rights of staff covered by the University’s Statutes, which we helped shape, are being used as an exemplar to other institutions in the region.

Finally, you may be interested by an interview with the University’s Director of Human Resources in HR Magazine. Fortunately, there was no repeat of the claim that those who weren’t excelling would be asked to leave ( There was, however, talk of commercialising further HR functions at the University. You can read and comment on the article here:

Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs)

Do you have experience of being on a Performance Improvement Plan? Do you know someone who has? We are looking for experiences of staff, both positive and negative, to help our discussions with management. We have big concerns over how they are sometimes being used, with some people being set up to fail. Any information (what was it for? was it appropriate? was your case well handled? did it help? were HR involved?) gratefully received at

Support the Open University!

Open University staff are striking over the threat of the closure of regional centres in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Gateshead, Leeds, London and Oxford. Around 500 jobs are at risk. Sign the petition at; more details available at, and messages of support for the Leeds strikers can be sent to

HE Green Paper: can you help?

We have an active committee in Sheffield, but we’re so busy that some things don’t get the attention they deserve. Anyone following closely the discussion around the Green Paper and TEF would make an excellent contribution to local discussion. If you are interested representing Sheffield UCU on such matters, please do get in touch (

Dates for the diary

Thursday 21 January: Sheffield UCU meeting for departmental contacts, 1pm, Octagon Council Chambers.

Wednesday 27 January: Sheffield UCU General Meeting, 1pm, Octagon Council Chambers.

Noteworthy events

Wednesday 25 Nov, 5pm: Protest against the spending review, 5pm, Town Hall. Sheffield UCU’s Sam Morecroft is one of the speakers.

Saturday 28 Nov (Sheffield) and 29 Nov (London): People’s march for climate, justice and jobs.