The Combined Joint Negotiation and Consultation Committee (CJNCC) met for the start of the academic year on 13th September.
The committee, which meets 4/5 times per year and comprises members from all the campus Trade Unions and management, covers a range of topics raised by both trade unions and management in equal measure. In the spirit of partnership working the main points of the September meeting are summarised below as a joint communication.
We noted that student recruitment is very positive with high expectations that we will meet our top level recruitment targets for the first time in several years. This means the University Executive will soon be in a position to revise the budget projections for the year and the usual tight reigns on staff recruitment pending finalisation of the budget are being loosened. However, it was noted that there is still a need for savings and Vacancy Management Group (VMG) be exercising restraint in filling vacant posts. It was acknowledged that there is pressure on staff when posts remain unfilled and it was agreed that members of the VMG will take this into account when approving posts.
The NSS results published over the summer were very positive for the University and we rose to 35th in the UK for student satisfaction. Congratulations were expressed to all staff, academic and professional services, who contributed to this significant improvement in the student experience.
CJNCC welcomed an updated from Lynda Johnstone, Global Director of Estates and Facilities about a new style of staff recruitment fair to be held on the Edinburgh Campus over the Autumn. These will feature a simplified application, the ability to have immediate interviews and campus tours.
Ann Marie Dalton-Pillay provided an update on the Building Our Commonality project and CJNCC noted that the majority of Division Heads have now been appointed in each Directorate. Other posts will be advertised with the aim of having all posts filled by 31 December 2019. The next stage is to allocate staff to professional services directorates and families/Divisions and the intention is for all staff to receive a letter confirming their place within the new structures by the end of December. All the campus Trade Unions will continue to engage closely with this process.
CJNCC welcomed the review of maternity pay options which concluded that there should be two options for receipt of payment, i.e. the reintroduction of the option removed in 2017. This followed feedback received in the last staff survey.
Gill Hogg, Deputy Principal Staff Development and Engagement, gave an update on other actions following the 2018 Staff Survey and plans for the 2019 survey, which will go live w/c 28 October and run until 5th December 2019. BMG Research have been engaged to run this survey and the Working Group, which includes TU representation, is finalising the questions. All members of CJNCC agreed to promote this survey with their colleagues to maximise response rates.
Other items that were raised by TU colleagues include the need for improved guidelines for managers for time off in lieu, the introduction of the new VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) and the need for staff training, an update on the Working Group on Day to Day Management led by Richard Claughton, Global Director of HR, which is also reviewing PDR, the creation of the unitary business school and the review of technical services. These will all come back to CJNCC at future meetings.
The meeting was held in the week before the Global Climate Change strike and management and TUs welcomed the opportunity to show support for this action with a 30 minute stoppage between 12-12.30 on 20th September and drop in sessions ahead of the Watt Forum on Sustainability which was held on 25th September 2019.
Issued on behalf of the Edinburgh Campus Trade Unions and University Management members of CJNCC.
For more information or questions, please contact Professor Gill Hogg, Chair of CJNCC.