At its meeting on Tuesday 17 July 2012, the University Council discussed the proposal it first considered at its meeting in February, that the University should cease direct employment of staff (Associate Lecturers and academic related staff) based in Continental Europe (CE), subject to appropriate information and consultation processes in each country.
The University has reviewed the way it operates in Continental Europe and considers that the current model of employing staff directly in country (excluding the UK and the Republic of Ireland) is not sustainable for the future.
One of the key reasons for the proposed changes is the complexity associated with maintaining business operations and direct employment in ten countries across Europe in addition to the UK and Republic of Ireland that are fully compliant with the varying regulatory, legal and fiscal regimes in those countries.
In February, Council agreed in principle with the proposal, subject to a report on the outcomes of the consultation process. At the July meeting, Council considered a paper which detailed the consultation that had taken place with the recognised trades union, the University and College Union (UCU), and with the Works Council (Betriebsrat) which had been established in Germany, in addition to statutory meetings in Belgium. A number of submissions from individuals and groups of affected staff were also made available to Council.
The University is confident that it has arrangements in place that will ensure that it can continue to provide excellent support to students in Continental Europe which for the great majority of students will be unchanged from current support. The University will continue to develop and evolve its model of support to meet new markets and changing circumstances.
This decision has not been taken lightly. The major impact this will have on staff has been recognised and the University is committed to working supportively with them to achieve the University's objectives whilst seeking to mitigate the impact on individuals.
There are Q&As giving more details on the background to the decision. This also provides contact details for further questions.