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#CovUniShame: Lecturers protest outside Graham Sutherland building on Graduation Day

Staff are rallying against sham union called ‘Staff Consultative Group’

Amongst graduation day celebrations, staff from Coventry University have gathered outside the Arts and Humanities building today to protest "disgusting behaviour" from their employers, the Coventry University Group.

Members of the Coventry University Group are protesting against their employers for registering them to a 'sham union', the 'Staff Consultative Group' (SCG,) which prevents them from being represented by their preferred union: University and College Union (UCU).

Signs at today's protest featured slogans such as "no to sham unions", "recognise UCU" and #CovUniShame".

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Stephen Cowden, chairman of UCU, told The Tab Coventry: "We are not in anyway demonstrating against the students. Our issue is with the University management and their refusal at recognising proper trade unions."

As a result, staff members who work at Coventry University and are a part of the SCG cannot negotiate pay, contracts or working conditions as they do not have an independent union to represent them.

Stephen Cowden remarks "We don't live in a dictatorship, we live in a country where people have the right to join trade unions."

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The protest occupied the steps of Graham Sutherland building today and security could be seen outside the doors of the building as a safety precaution. This comes as a shock to the Coventry University campus, which was untouched by the recent pension strikes and protests, unlike many other UK universities.

Staff who were at the rally have raised their frustrations at having to negotiate their membership to a proper union for a year, only to find out that they had been placed unknowingly into a 'management run union'.

The CU Group has continued to refuse it's members a right to be recognised as a union and has been criticised over claims that the creation of SCG was deliberately planned.

"Coventry University, by doing this, is placing us amongst the UK's worst employers" Cowden argues.

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Speakers during the protest also include Jane Tellist, who is the President of the Trade Union Council in Coventry. She stated that:

"The situation here in Coventry about an employer using tactics like this is absolutely disgraceful especially when you see at the tops of these organisations these people are paying themselves more and more."

Another demonstration has been planned on the 16th of May in the hopes that CU group will recognise that staff want UCU to represent them to achieve proper negotiations on pay and other conditions.

Coventry University have been contacted for comment.

We will bring you more on this story as we have it.