Row over employment practices at Coventry University

The University and College Union (UCU) says the university is denying their staff a “union voice”

In a row over employment practices at the award-winning Coventry University, the UCU has accused them of using comparable tactics to the sports-goods retailer, Sports Direct.

(UCU), The University and College Union, have accused the university of adopting “shameful employment practices”, after a number of staff members, who’ve just won their union recognition battle, were made to join an agency which does not recognise unions, or lose their jobs.

UCU have said that Coventry University were denying “vulnerable” members of staff “their union voice” and has written to them, disapproving the conduct of the universities subsidiary company, CU Services.

Row over employment practices at Coventry University

© Copyright Keith Havercroft and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

At the beginning of September, some staff members at CU Services, teaching English to international students who go on to Coventry University to study afterwards, won their fight for union recognition.

Nearly three quarters of members voted unanimously, to have the University and College Union represent them. However, UCU have stated that CU Services have now said that they’re “reviewing their business model”.

According to the union, staff members have been told, that if they wish to carry on doing the same work, they must register themselves as agency workers with a company named thefutureworks, the trading name of Coventry University Enterprises, which is owned by Coventry University.

More importantly, the union understands that the company, thefutureworks, does not recognise unions.

Coventry University have responded to the criticism, saying that CU Services had employed English teachers on short, fixed-term contracts and that it was “standard practice across the sector”.

They claim that the new contracts with thefutureworks, have actually made the terms better, including a 1.1% pay rise.

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