Meeting Date – 24/06/20
Motion 1: Implement Reasonable Financial Adjustments for BAME Academic Staff in the Time Limited Pay Reduction (TLPR Proposal) (24/06/20)
The branch notes that:
1. Senior management has invoked an equal pay-cut model to be applied to all academic staff above Grade 7, and without considering the adverse impact this measure would have on BAME academic staff, with protected characteristics, who represent 20 % of the workforce in relation to white academic staff in the University.
2. Because BAME academic staff are underrepresented at senior and professorial levels and are over-represented in junior posts at Roehampton, the Time-Limited Pay Reduction (TLPR) proposal impacts only 52.5% (104) BAME academic staff in the University.
3. BAME academic staff stagnate in junior positions, without timely promotion, and do not progress on par with white colleagues because they face widespread discrimination and unconscious bias in the diverse teaching, research, professional development portfolios of diverse Departments in the University.
4. In 2018, the University College Employers Association (UCEA) published a national report titled’ ‘Caught at the Cross-Roads? An Intersectional Approach to Understanding Gender and Ethnicity Pay-Gap in HE,’ and explained how Black/Asian academic staff grapple with double race/gender discrimination in the UK HE sector.
5. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), warned that racial harassment is a common occurrence for many students and staff in British Universities and requested a national response from UK Universities in 2019.
6. Roehampton University responded to the EHRC initiative by updating its Equality and Diversity vision, including its Anti-discrimination, bullying, harassment and victimization policies, under the aegis of the new administration, in 2018-2020.
7. The University and College Union, responded to the national initiatives by organizing national strikes in 2019-20 to address BAME and gender pay gaps, noting that BME academic staff suffer a pay gap of anywhere between 9%-14% compared to their white colleagues, although Roehampton has consistently refused to publish the race pay-gap data.
The branch believes:
1. That the equal pay-reduction model, calculated on the bases of Grade-Bands, is unacceptable because it fails to consider current inequities in pay-gaps between BAME and white academic staff and inflicts further financial disadvantage by denying these inequities.
2. The TLPR proposal is indirectly discriminatory because it fails to recognize race, ethnicity and nationality as protected characteristics and also the ‘protected characteristics provision’ known as (PCP), which stands at the heart of the Equality Act 2010 and informs decisions on employment matters, including discrimination, casualization, pay cuts and redundancies.
3. Section 19 of EqA 2010 clarifies that ‘indirect discrimination occurs where an employer applies a provision, criterion or practice equally to everyone, but which puts those with a protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage and the employer cannot justify that disadvantage. In order to justify a disadvantage, the employer must show that the provision, criterion or practice is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.’
4. To prevent unlawful discrimination, every employer is enjoined to make reasonable adjustments for groups, with protected characteristics, as failure to do so inflicts unjustified group disadvantage and fails to advance equality in employment decisions.
5. Since the BAME academic staff will be indirectly discriminated against through the invocation of equal pay-cuts, it would be appropriate to make reasonable adjustment and proportionate reductions in pay cuts for BAME academic staff in the RU07-RU10 Grade and upwards into the RS03 Grade, and in accordance with the EqA 2010 and Roehampton’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) policies.
The branch resolves:
1. To ask negotiators to demand a wider consultation on pay inequities between BAME and white academic colleagues through collaboration with BAME network and demand that this data is made available to UCU, the BAME network and HoDs of Departments in the University.
2. To ask negotiators to urge HR to collaborate with HoD’s of specific Departments and appoint a BAME Equality/Diversity officer, from within the Department, to critically re-examine all matters relating to research, teaching and professional development, identify impediments that stymie the career advancement of BAME staff, encourage them to avail of equal opportunity, progress to promotion and then, to close the staff attainment gap in a fixed period of time.
3. To demand the creation of a BAME academic staff data base, and the publication of a handbook of diversity rules to be used within Departments to record micro-aggressions and create a culture of equality that supports the University’s Equality and Diversity strategic vision plan for 2020-25.
Additional Clarification on UCU BAME Motion, titled ‘Implementing Reasonable/Equitable Pay Reductions for BAME Academic Staff in Roehampton University’s Time-Limited Pay-Reduction Proposal (TLPR).
On June 4, 2020, Roehampton University published its Time-Limited Pay Reduction (TLPR) and the Equality Impact Assessment (EDI) proposal on the University’s staff portal, with a closing date of June 22, 2020.
On June 24, 2020, a BAME motion was presented to the membership of the University College Union (UCU). The motion challenged both the EDI and TLPR proposals for failing to consider the disproportionate impact pay-cuts would have on 109 BAME academic staff, who represent 20% workforce in the University.
Although UK Universities recognize that BAME academic staff will be impacted adversely in this current period of financial crisis, it is regrettable that Vice Chancellors and HR managers have failed to articulate public policies to protect BAME academic staff, disproportionately impacted by pay-cuts, job redundancies, and mental health issues caused by Covid-19.
The BAME Motion
The UCU BAME motion questioned the flat ‘equal pay reduction policy’ articulated in the EDI and TLPR proposals as being unfair because both documents ignore widely acknowledged BAME race and gender pay gaps, which range from 9-14%, and inflict further financial disadvantage on BAME staff by denying these inequities.
Since meaningful equality is not achievable without equity, the BAME motion urges recognition of BAME status in the EIA and TLPR proposals and the publication of a revised BAME specific time-limited, pay reduction scheme that would acknowledge current race and gender pay gaps, while also considering the adverse impact a one-year pay- gap will have on BAME staff, disproportionately impacted by the global pandemic of Covid-19.
The BAME motion believes that it to be important to articulate a BAME specific public policy on matters relating to pay-cuts and redundancies as fair and transparent public sector policies can provide support to BAME staff and establish benchmarks that can be deployed by UK Universities, who are members of the Race Equality Charter (REC).
The BAME motion also extends beyond TLPR and EDI proposals and provides three specific resolutions to advance Race equality initiatives at Department and School levels of the University.