Robert Gordon University, in Aberdeen, recently terminated it’s recognition agreements with both the University and Colleges Union (UCU) and Unite. UCU were immediately derecognised, while Unite, owing to a slightly different agreement, were given 6 months notice.

The university claimed, in a letter to Unite, that going forward they required a more “effective and efficient collective bargaining infrastructure”, and that Unite and UCU were effectively too small for the university to deal with.

The unions, on the other hand, point out that they had recently taken a strong line against cuts and privatisation at the university, and suggest this may have been the real reason for their change in conditions. UCU state

We are concerned that this unilateral decision, taken suddenly after 10 years of working in partnership, may have been taken because of our recent criticism of the university, in particular our refusal to negotiate pay locally instead of via the agreed national procedure, and our objection to the privatisation of international recruitment.

De-recognition effectively gags our members and constitutes an attack not just on our unions but on the union movement as a whole in Scotland

This attack is unnecessary, regressive and places the university outside the normal practices of industrial relations.

Today UCU are lobbying the university governors to have this decision reversed. If anyone can make it to Garthdee Campus outside Faculty of Health & Social Care Building, Garthdee Road for noon today you can help them in that endeavour. If you can’t make it down, and it is short notice and in Aberdeen, they’re also asking people to tweet the vice-chancellor Ferdinand von Prondzynski (@vonprond) and the university (@RobertGordonUni) in support of re-recognition, and to use the hashtag #noRGUderecognition.

There is also a petition, currently at around 2500 signatures at time of writing this, which I’d encourage you all to sign. Union rights are already hugely restricted in this country, don’t allow these workers to lose what little they have simply for standing up to the university management.

About Alasdair Thompson

Alasdair co-founded Bright Green Scotland in 2009.