March 23, 2012

University of Ulster

The University of Ulster is damaging service to both students and the community through the widespread threat of compulsory redundancies.

The objective of this bullying and intimidation appears to be to:

• Coerce staff into accepting reductions in pay grade
• Pressure staff into accepting poor voluntary redundancy packages or early retirement
• Target individual staff without any clearly defined criteria for doing so

Sign the petition at:


Anonymous said...

That sounds like where I used to teach. The result is that most of the good, competent, and honourable people I knew eventually left.

I haven't been back since I quit. I'd hate to think what it must be like now.

Anonymous said...

I notice in Times Higher Education:

Universities’ black and minority ethnic staff still encounter ‘significant disadvantage’

Isn't the University of Ulster also a part of this game?

Anonymous said...

> Isn't the University of Ulster also a part of this game?

Good question. It certainly used to be. See - UU has been at the top of the UK universities' bullying league.

Consistent with this, a member of the NI Equality Commission once told me that UU had the highest number of staff off work through work stress-related sickness through work stress rate of any organisation in N.Ireland.

I asked if this was in absolute number or %. The answer was "Both. It's one of the biggest employers in NI". I wasn't able to verify these statistics, but it's plausible given the history of bullying.

Also consistent with this, in 2005, UU's VC McKenna was, uniquely in the UK, forced to resign due to questions regarding his years of "bullying, intimidation, harassment and victimisation of staff" (Sir Michael Buckley's report as reported in the Belfast Telegraph).

Other financial shenanigans by him (e.g., handing out contracts to his friends without tender) couldn't be made to stick, primarily, apparently, because, , of the lax financial controls in place. I first read about the whole shambles in Private Eye - which speaks for itself.

UU tried to cover all this up by stopping BT's report, but the High Court overruled them.

What HR/management would allow such a person get appointed in the first place, and, secondly, would then try and cover it all up? What HR/management would allow it to become and remain such a bullying place?

A UU member of staff once described UU to me as a "seriously dysfunctional organisation", and that seems as good a summary as any, given the above.

I strongly suspect McKenna was a symptom rather than the cause of a bullying culture at UU - otherwise he wouldn't a) have got the job and b) been allowed to stay as long as he did.

I also suspect that any major government employer in Britain (especially one with so many highly qualified/expensive staff), with such a record of bullying, likely high levels of work-related sickness and mismanagement would be put under "special orders" in Britain and would have been carefully investigated, and properly trained HR/management put in place.