Collective bargaining and the balloting process
Staff within the Education & Research job family, up to and including Reader, are currently represented collectively by the University and College Union (UCU) through a formal body known as the Joint Academic Consultation and Negotiation Committee (JACNC). Historically, this group has not represented the Professoriate at Bath, and, at present, all contractual agreements with members of the Professoriate are individual contracts. UCU have now put forward a proposal to amend this in order for professors to be included in the collective bargaining process.
Collective bargaining covers the terms and conditions of a group of employees (for example, pay, holiday, working hours). Collective bargaining is a negotiation between management and recognised Trades Unions. If a collective agreement is reached, it will apply to all members of that group of employees, both Union members and non-members.
Another approach is sometimes known as a ‘works council’ or ‘joint consultative committee’. Under this arrangement, management agrees to consultation through a formal body representing a group of employees; in this case the Professoriate. Members of the joint consultative committee would be elected for a fixed term by the Professoriate.
The difference between consultation and negotiation is that, negotiation requires both parties to reach agreement on the issues concerned*. Consultation does not require agreement, but does involve genuinely seeking views and considering any representations made.
For example, if the University was considering the introduction of a pay scale for Professors:
• Under the current arrangements, management would consult individually with all members of the Professoriate before deciding whether any formal pay scale should be introduced;
• Under a collective bargaining agreement, UCU would represent the Professoriate at the JACNC and seek to negotiate terms, on behalf of professors, for a new pay scale which would apply to all;
• Under a ‘joint consultative committee’, management would consult with the Professoriate’s elected representatives before deciding whether any formal pay scale should be introduced.
You, the Professoriate now have a choice to make:
• To remain with the current arrangement where Professors can negotiate their own individual terms with management;
• To enter into a collective bargaining agreement where the Professoriate is represented by UCU;
• To set up a joint consultative committee specifically for the Professoriate.
All current members of the Professoriate are being asked to vote for one of the above options.
Questions and answers
Below are answers to your questions submitted on collective bargaining and the balloting process.
This page is updated on a daily basis with any new questions submitted and their answers.