Union enter redundancy dispute with Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Staff at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh could lose their jobs.Staff at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh could lose their jobs.
Staff at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh could lose their jobs.
Around six jobs are at risk at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE), it is understood, as union bosses enter into a formal dispute process over planned job cuts.

Unison has challenged the job cuts and claimed the compulsory redundancies are part of cost-cutting measures planned by the Royal College rather than due to the pandemic.

The union is challenging the RCPE’s claim that the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent impact on income and cash flow and have claimed the employer did not “seriously explore” potential voluntary redundancies which would have avoided forced exits.

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It is understood the staff affected are in several different areas of the RCPE’s activities, including events, administration services and housekeeping.

Unison also claims the RCPE has taken advantage of business interruption loans from the Scottish Government during the pandemic.

Unison regional organiser Lorcan Mullen said: “It is disappointing that Unison has been forced to take this step, but an august institution like the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh should only use compulsory redundancies as a genuine last resort.

“Although the pandemic has had a real impact on the college, there is enough latitude for senior management to take a less drastic approach.

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"We urge senior management to engage in a more constructive fashion, with serious exploration of all workable alternatives to forced job losses. It is not too late to change course.”

A Royal College spokesperson said the redundancies form part of a “reorganisation” designed to battle the impact of Covid-19 and that a consultation with employees and unions was underway.

The spokesperson said final decisions on redundancies would only be made after that process is complete.

“The financial repercussions of Covid-19 are impacting upon all organisations and, unfortunately, the college is no exception to these financial challenges,” the spokesperson said.

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“The college has proposed a reorganisation to enable us to respond to these challenges, ensure we are financially sustainable, and enable us to continue to meet the needs of our fellows and members around the world.

“We are consulting fully with our colleagues across the organisation, including Unison members, on the proposed reorganisation. Decisions will only be made once all feedback has been received and considered following this consultation period.”

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