Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Oxford Staff Rally over Employment Rights Review

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Oxford Staff Rally over Employment Rights Review

Article excerpt

A review of the University of Oxford statute put in place to protect employment rights after tenure was abolished by Margaret Thatcher's government is likely to spark fierce debate at the institution.

The Oxford branch of the University and College Union said it was "strongly opposed" to any changes to Statute XII, which details the processes required for the redundancy, dismissal and grievances of academic and academic-related staff, including senior administrators, librarians and computing staff. It covers about three-quarters of the workforce.

Oxford's personnel committee is calling for views on whether to limit the coverage of the statute to academics and senior research staff only, as other professionals have "no special need relating to academic freedom".

Oxford UCU said that it "firmly opposed" withdrawing any groups from the statute.

Views are also being sought on clarifying dismissal procedures and introducing local-level grievance procedures.

Gill Evans, emeritus professor in medieval theology at the University of Cambridge, said the Oxford disciplinary procedure was overly cumbersome but that it was important not to water it down so much that it "ceases to protect fairness".

The initial consultation, which will run until June, will establish whether there is agreement that the statute should change. …

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