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Motions to be discussed at next UGM

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Emergency UGM

22nd March


This motion has been passed. Please refer to the minutes for more information!





22nd March 2019



Chair: Ilyas Nagdee, NUS Black Students' Officer
Secretary:  Renugaa Raveen 665941


  1. Ground rules and Introduction

  2. Emergency motion: Oppose redundancies, save exams, prevent a strike




Oppose redundancies, save exams, prevent a strike


Siddharth Chakravarty - 554823


Nayon Ahmed - 648313


This Union Notes:

1.1 That the School is currently going through a process of financial and institutional restructuring under the One Professional Service (OPS) project.


1.2 That all current permanent staff were supposed to hear about their particular role in the new structure by Monday, 18th March 2019, and that at the time of writing, some staff members have still not received their outcome letters or had one-to-one meetings, while the ones who did were given such information later than what it was promised.


1.3 That both trade unions at SOAS (UNISON and UCU) consider that SOAS management have shown a complete and insulting disregard for the wellbeing of staff, enhanced by their lack of clarity and sensitivity when dealing with the OPS restructuring process, especially when it directly affects people’s lives and jobs at its current stage


1.4 That there are high possibilities of compulsory redundancies happening according to the last information released by SOAS management, despite unions’ firm opposition and previous indication that industrial action would be taken in such case.


1.5 That some, among many others, of the concerns raised by staff are linked to the following:

1.5.1 There’s a prediction of 30-40 people being made redundant and losing their jobs; 

1.5.2 109 permanent staff have not been “matched” in the new restructure, meaning that their current jobs do no longer exist in the current proposed structure and they have not been suggested another post to take over;

1.5.3 There is a concerning and unexplainable asymmetry with regards to the members of staff whose job descriptions have been matched in the new structure (e.g. 3 male members of staff in a department being “matched” in the new structure, while female staff are still waiting for an answer).

1.5.4 the Widening Participation team is proposed to merge with Marketing, Student Recruitment and Admissions, under the justification 'to align the Student Ambassador Schemes'. Despite prior agreement by Executive Board to propose WP merged with Centre for Innovation in Learning & Teaching (CILT), such concerning changes are being proposed, leading to WP staff “seeking [student] support in ensuring the department which drives change in access, student success, outcomes and progression is not relegated to a marketing and recruitment tool.”


1.6 That the possibility of industrial action seems highly likely considering the current trajectory management is on, as they have acted recklessly by not entering into meaningful discussions with UNISON and staff members to resolve the situation.


1.7 That such industrial action, considering current legislation, would lead to staff strikes during exam period, which could then hinder students from sitting their exams and/or even graduating.


This Union Believes:

2.1 That the current proposed changes by the OPS restructuring project will have a huge and damaging effect on students and staff at our institution: loss of institutional knowledge, negative impact on staff morale, increase of administrative support burden on staff, worsening of student experience.


2.2 That no compulsory redundancies should be made as a result of the OPS restructure


2.3 That students have the power to put pressure on management in order to push for an agreement in which staff voices and interests are centered in these conversations, and therefore avoid the need for industrial action.


2.4 That the sole responsibility for the dire financial situation SOAS is currently suffering is the senior management team of the university, and therefore staff and students should not experience the harsher consequences of the measures to be taken to solve the situation.


This Union Resolves:

3.1 To support academic and professional services staff in their opposition against the proposed cuts by the OPS project


3.2 That such support could take different forms depending on staff demands, but would be mainly targeted at putting pressure on SOAS management in order to avoid compulsory redundancies as well as measures that would worsen student and staff experiences and wellbeing at our institution.


3.3 To publicly condemn SOAS Senior Management for their incompetence, and lack of transparency and respect in the restructuring process by issuing a public letter in which they are held responsible for the current situation and therefore the burden of preventing industrial action rests with them.


3.4 To support industrial action by both trade unions (UCU and UNISON) in the event of compulsory redundancies being given to any member(s) of staff at SOAS


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