The University of Sussex is reportedly attempting to lay off a philosophy lecturer while at the same time advertising a new position to teach the very same courses he does.Sussex has declared James Furner “redundant“. According to the the Sussex University and College Union (UCU), “Sussex’s Redundancy Procedure allows for a redundancy if ‘the University’s requirement/s for members of staff to carry out work of a particular kind’ is/are ‘expected to cease or diminish’.” Yet at the same time, the university is advertising to fill a new position, and “the only activities described in the advert for the new post as ‘expected’ are the four UG modules that James convenes.”
Furner had been employed on a “poorly paid” and part-time basis, according to the UCU, while the new position is a full-time post, but the responsibilities of each position appear to be the same.
Sussex UCU Branch President, Jo Pawlik, says:
This decision flies in the face of the progress on anti-casualisation that we have been making with our employer at Sussex over the last year: it is as baffling as it is enraging. Refusing this current employee job security continues the pattern in the sector of treating academic staff as though they are expendable. It is irreconcilable with the University’s ambition to be an employer of choice.
The UCU notes that Furner’s current employment ends at the end of this month, and encourages those who object to the administration’s plans to contact Vice-Chancellor Sasha Roseneil ([email protected]) and HR Director Colin Shipp ([email protected]) to “ask them to halt this unprincipled and wrongful decision, which will set a terrible precedent for how Sussex University and the Department of Philosophy treat its staff.”
You can read more about the case here.