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UCU says Coventry University could become “pariah institution”

The University and College Union (UCU) issued a warning to Coventry University that it could become a “pariah university”: according to the UCU, Coventry University is “employing dirty tricks to wriggle out of giving staff proper pay and conditions”.

The UCU claims that Coventry University is taking advantage of a legal loophole that prevents its staff at one of its subsidiary companies, Coventry University Group, from being represented by the trade union.

The University is accused of setting up a “sham” trade union, the Staff Consultative Group, and signing an agreement with it, thus stopping the UCU and any other trade union from representing staff members of the said company according to trade union law.

The UCU claims that staff at the Coventry University Group have a lower remuneration than their Coventry University counterparts and that they are also on worse terms and conditions.

Universities are not covering themselves in glory at the moment but these dirty tricks by Coventry University represent a new low for the sector

— Sally Hunt, General Secretary UCU

The trade union is calling for an academic boycott – which involves action similar to strike action currently being taken by UCU members over the pensions dispute – if Coventry University’s management does not stop their “underhand tactics”.

UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt said: “Universities are not covering themselves in glory at the moment but these dirty tricks by Coventry University represent a new low for the sector. Coventry is going to get a reputation as a pariah institution if it does not abandon this shameful approach to its staff.”

When contacted for comment, Coventry University told The Boar: “All staff within the CU Group are represented by a Staff Consultative Group (SCG), which was established for around 18 months as a staff association before it was set up as a trade union in its own right.

“CU Coventry has always made clear that it’s open to further discussion with UCU, and has agreed to continue talks around the potential to enter into a voluntary recognition agreement with them.

“We look forward to engaging in these conversations.”

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