The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) is a law designed to protect the rights of employees when a business transfers from one owner to another.
There is a lot of helpful information about this on the internet:
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) website explains what rights an employee has under TUPE: What a TUPE transfer is: Employee rights during a TUPE transfer – Acas
The UNISON website is here: TUPE and TUPE+ | Contracts | UNISON National
The Unite website is here: Employee rights during a TUPE transfer (learnwithunite.org)
The UCU website is here: TUPE and Contracts of Employment
The Government website also explains what a TUPE is: Business transfers, takeovers and TUPE: Overview – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
On 1st March 2022 University staff working in Insurance, Internal Audit and central Health & Safety were TUPE’d into Cervus Plus Consulting LLP. These people are no longer University employees, they are the employees of Cervus Plus Consulting LLP.
Staff working in Information Governance have been through formal consultation with the University and are expecting to be TUPE’d into Cervus Plus Consulting LLP on 1st May 2022.
Cervus Plus Consulting LLP was set-up (incorporated) at Companies House on 18th October 2021.
The Companies House website details public information about Cervus Plus Consulting LLP: CERVUS PLUS CONSULTING LLP overview – Find and update company information – GOV.UK (company-information.service.gov.uk)
Representatives from UNISON and Unite were involved in the formal consultation ahead of the transfers taking place on 1st March 2022.
Initially terms being offered to employees transferring to Cervus Plus Consulting LLP included an employers matched pension contribution of 6% with no lump sum provision payable on death in service. The table below sets out a comparison of the offering before consultation and after consultation vis-à-vis the existing University offering:
|Initial pension offering from Cervus Pus Consulting LLP||Existing USS pension||Pension provision by Cervus Plus Consulting LLP after consultation|
|Employee contribution (as percentage of salary)||6%||9.6%||9%|
|Death in service lump sum||0||2.5 x salary||4 x salary|
The campus unions are not opposed to change at Surrey and will support this when it benefits our students and staff. However, we are deeply concerned by the potential for further outsourcing. We have not been presented with any evidence that this is warranted or how this would benefit the University community. We shall vigorously oppose any action that would damage the University of Surrey and we shall continue to collaborate to resist any attacks on the overall benefits of University staff.
On 28th February 2022, the campus unions (UCU, UNISON, Unite) asked what future plans there were for other members of University staff to be transferred. This was the response from the University:
‘No firm decisions have been taken on this yet. Affected employees will be informed and consulted at the appropriate time.’
Both the open letter and the response from the University are published here.
We noted that in mid-April the University advertised a role for a full-time HR Business Partner with a salary of £ £42,149 to £50,296. The job specification stated that “Knowledge of TUPE and Union interaction” is “Essential”.
We also note that the University advertised for a new full time HR Advisor with a salary of £33,309 to £40,927 . The vacancy advert states that “Demonstrable experience of supporting change management programmes or TUPE is an essential requirement for this role”.
The University has not provided us with any details, and we do not know the full extent of any outsourcing plans. However, we are aware that new companies have been set up at Companies House. For example:
The University has confirmed to us that “Affected employees will be informed and consulted at the appropriate time.” We would anticipate a consultation period of at least 30 calendar days. This means that current members of staff would no longer be employed by the University and they could be transferred to another company after a very short period.
This is a new Company set up at Companies House. You can see the public information here. This page confirms that the University’s Chief Operating Officer is the sole Director of the company and that its registered address is the Duke of Kent Building on campus.
We do not know why this company has been set up.
This is a recent Company set up at Companies House and is a shareholder of Cervus Plus LLP. You can see the public information here. This page confirms that the University’s Chief Operating Officer is the sole Director of the company and that its registered address is the Duke of Kent Building on campus.
We know nothing of this company other than that it is an LLP Designated Member of Cervus Plus Consulting LLP (see above).
We cannot predict the exact arrangements and we would not know until a consultation had ended. However, we can look at the previous TUPE as a guide.
Those colleagues are no longer University of Surrey employees. They no longer have the same pension. They no longer work on campus. They don’t have the same level of access to University services. Their pay rates are not set by the University.
For new staff joining these companies directly, their pay rates will not be set by the University, and as home-based workers their salary would likely depend upon the market rates in their home location: they may be paid more or less than the University staff who are transferred across.
There has never been a better time!
There are three recognised unions on campus. Each of them broadly represents a different group of staff.
You can click on the links above to access membership information.
The campus unions are constantly negotiating policies that impact terms and conditions of employment for University staff. We also support staff with casework (disciplinary, grievance, sickness etc.), redundancy and TUPE situations.
Read our post “Why join one of the campus Unions?“
You can contact one of the Unions directly or submit anonymous questions below.
Answers to questions will be published regularly on this website, and please be assured, all published questions and answers will remain anonymous.