Tribunal orders university to pay union members after breaking employment law

Ulster University must pay 143 staff 90 days’ pay after a tribunal ruled that it broke employment law in a redundancy process in 2015.

143 staff left the university under a voluntary redundancy programme, but a tribunal has ruled that the process was a “sham” and said that the university failed to consult properly with trade unions.

Employment law states that employers, when embarking upon a potential redundancy process, must consult recognised trade unions with the aim of reaching agreement on ways to avoid redundancies and mitigate their effects.

The tribunal found the UCU was not only deliberately kept in the dark, but actively misled by senior management at the university. The union said the university failed to engage properly with it at every stage and that staff were pushed into taking second-rate deals.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “Ulster University went out of its way to carry out what the tribunal described as a sham redundancy process and failed to engage properly with us every step of the way.

“Our members did not volunteer for severance but were told to take an enhanced package or be dismissed with a reduced payment. The university must pay the 90 day salary compensation payment as a matter of urgency.”

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