Union activists expected to question SNP cabinet minister on implementing recommendation to admit trade union reps onto university governing bodies


UCU activists in Scotland are poised to tackle the SNP education minister on whether he will accept trade union and student reps onto university governing bodies.

Mike Russell is expected to be quizzed on his plans for higher education at UCU Scotland’s annual congress in Edinburgh today.

Conference delegates are expected to back a motion calling for the full implementation of the Review of Higher Education Governance’s report into how Scottish universities are run.

The report, in response to UCU’s concerns over crises in university governance, recommended:

·         Protecting academic freedom and institutional autonomy

·         Appointing two students and two members of the staff trade unions to university governing bodies and committees

·         Greater transparency in appointments and remuneration of senior management

·         Election for chairs of governing bodies

·         A broadening of the experience of governing body members and greater transparency in appointment procedures

UCU Scotland president, Gordon Watson, said: “Michael Russell instigated this review and now needs to ensure the report’s recommendations are fully implemented. We need greater transparency and accountability in our universities.

“It is right that there should be greater transparency and more scrutiny of senior management’s remuneration, appointments and decisions.

“The report puts control of universities back into the hands of the academic community and, at a stroke, removes the dictatorial management systems which have led to many of the other issues we will be discussing today.”

Delegates will also debate other issues, including management systems, workloads, outsourcing, satellite campuses and health and safety and there will be a special session on constitutional reform and the implications for higher education.

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