October 02, 2006

Warwick - Leaked report reveals widespread disaffection amongst university staff

Bullied, harassed, ignored

Written by Donna Bowater, Claire Simon, Catherine Farrant and Lucinda Neal, from the Warwick Boar

Exclusive: Leaked report reveals widespread disaffection amongst University staff

A leaked report into staff attitudes at Warwick reveals shocking levels of bullying and discrimination of both academic and manual staff.

The report, obtained by this newspaper, show that 730 University employees have been harassed or bullied at work in the last 12 months, whilst 585 members of staff have been discriminated against.

80 percent of those staff members do not believe that their complaints can be resolved through the current system, and almost half of all members of staff are currently “actively seeking alternative employment” as a result of their working conditions.

An investigation by this newspaper has revealed several severe incidents of bullying and harassment of manual staff.

The University have moved quickly to allay the problems highlighted by the report, drafting a new ‘Bullying and Harassment Policy’. A spokesperson admitted: “Some of these problems are caused by poor management.” The revelations come as a series of other industrial problems threaten to disrupt campus. A national Association of University Teachers (AUT) strike over pay and conditions will see many lectures and seminars cancelled next Tuesday. Members are also being balloted over industrial action in response to changes in lecturers’ pensions.

The AUT revealed earlier this week that University lecturers effectively work for free until March 9th according to the average number of unpaid hours they work every year. This would amount to an additional £10,216 a year, adding to the longstanding dispute between lecturers’ unions and universities. The leaked survey also revealed widespread frustration at levels of pay at the University. 60 percent of all respondents were dissatisfied with their pay in comparison to people doing similar jobs in other organisations.

Warwick lecturers could yet call a further local strike, upset at the introduction of a “single pay spine”, with all academic staff to be renamed ‘Professors’.

Academics are currently graded as Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, Readers and Professors. The new proposals would see all permanent academic staff named as Professors and the number of grades reduced to three: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and full Professor.

However, the proposals have met serious opposition from the Warwick AUT. “No one really benefits except lecturers, while these added changes to terms and conditions in the new offer mean actual detriment for members. All the campus unions are united in their views about this,” a spokesperson said.

Criticism of University management has come from all levels of staff, with 59% of both academics and manual workers claiming that line managers and supervisors do not deal with poor performance effectively.

Questions have also been raised over the efficiency of communication at Warwick, with 68 percent of staff disagreeing with the statement that, “there is good communication between the various parts of the University.”

From: http://www.warwickboar.co.uk/boar/news/bullied_harassed_ignored/

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