Over the last four years, we have worked with open proposals and reached consensus that resulted in a List of Job Posts for Administrative and Services Staff. However, these agreements did not materialise due to a failure to obtain approval from the regional administration. These proposals contained the basic principles of job approval and suitability, and were agreed by a majority consensus. In view of the fact that it is impossible to carry them forward in every aspect, a new proposal has been negotiated over the last year that makes it possible to combine strict compliance with budgetary restrictions and legal limits. These proposals to amend the List of Job Posts will make it possible to resolve past conflicts and take a step towards adapting the workforce to current times for the university, now and in the future. We are open to dialogue and negotiation until a consensus is reached. To this end, we have created the appropriate negotiating fora, both the General Board and other collective negotiation boards, that have made it possible to reach agreements, such as those relating to improvements for staff over sixty years old, or work-life balance and remote working, which is helping us adapt to the situation caused by the pandemic.
With this same spirit, and with our very best efforts, we will develop job relations according to the needs of a modern university. We will review the levels of different jobs to adjust them to the principle of same job responsibilities — same job level. We will incorporate the entire group of employees with an indefinite contract into the List of Job Posts for the workforce. We will negotiate new regulations for setting the parameters for transfers and for work placements, overtime, collaboration in workplace protocol, opening study classrooms, and other extraordinary situations of service provision. We will develop an internal promotion plan that guarantees equal opportunities in professional careers.
We will consolidate our agreements by expanding and improving rights in terms of personal, family and work life balance; regulating planning measures and actions that increase and improve the rights of older workers; and developing a strategic talent hiring plan to ‘curb ageing’ and rejuvenate the workforce, as well as by carrying out processes of stabilisation and consolidation of staff who are in temporary employment.
With regard to the workforce, we will continue to negotiate collective agreements, adapting the provisions and rights contained therein to new regulations, consolidating better working conditions and expanding our subjective scope to include trained research staff and technical staff with unique skills who provide services in the field of research. The new agreements will be implemented once we have overcome the budgetary and legal restrictions our institution is subject to by law with regard to expenditure in the public sector.
As in other public administrations, the administrative and services staff in our institution have an average age that is too high — 52 years old. This situation will lead to a high retirement rate in the next decade. In this context, it is essential to continue strategies to get ahead of the upcoming need for new staff. This must be carried out through procedures that hire young people who strengthen and renew different services and work units. Some of these areas are particularly important, such as computer and research services. In this hiring process it will be very important that the staff have the ability to communicate in English.
We will adapt our selection processes, encouraging the hiring of people with knowledge and skills in the field of administrative, contractual and economic management, with knowledge of specific university regulations, languages and electronic administration.
We will work on the staff management policy in this matter, strengthening the possibilities that the Law on General State Budgets establishes for Public Employment Offers. We will explore and make the most of applications to the Government of the Principality of Asturias, as in the last four years, during which we managed to approve the largest number of public employment places in the last decade. We will adjust our budgetary needs and regulatory requirements, as well as commitments to inclusion, formally drawing up all the disability quotas legally required in our open positions. By opening Public Employment Offers, with all due authorisation, we have covered more than 75% of the necessary positions.
This task, which is one of the key achievements of the management team, needs to be continued with the same diligence in order to achieve a policy that is based on two basic objectives: fair promotion among our staff, and the hiring the necessary new staff members for our workforce.
On the other hand, all public administrations agree that there need to be processes in place to stabilise their human resources. In the case of the University of Oviedo, the execution of successive Public Employment Offers has not been able to reduce the rate of temporary staff contracts below 8%. This comes despite the fact that the university has developed an extensive process to fill vacancies. We must continue along these lines until we achieve full job stability for the pool of temporary staff in our workforce.
The reduction in the number of temporary staff and the increase in structural posts are an indispensable objective for us. We will negotiate with the Principality of Asturias with a view to securing broad public job vacancies that will provide enough stable and forward-looking administrative and services staff.
During this term, we have updated our training of administrative and services staff with new courses and topics. Education and training have to be a priority, as they deepen our efforts to modernise and increase the value of our university governance system. That is why we will encourage training schemes that are tailored to the specific needs of jobs and enable new skills and acquire new abilities. In particular, we will deal with knowledge of IT tools and language skills.
We will complement our training with collaborations from the G-9 public universities group and different public administrations. In addition, we will hire specialised private entities for more specific training programmes, for example, for aspects related to quality certifications (ISO 9000, ISO 2000, ISO 23500, etc.). We will strengthen, expand and increase the allocation of study grants. Participation in national and international exchange programmes will also be given an important role, particularly through the Erasmus+ programme.
Updating our administrative processes must allow us to improve management. In many cases, because of the restrictions imposed by the law and administrations we collaborate with, and on other occasions because of our own traditions, the processes can be tedious and extremely complex. This needs to be changed. That is why we will set up a committee for ‘innovation in administrative processes’. This commission will be chaired by a person from the administrative and services body, and will aim to review all administrative processes, proposing how to improve them to reduce the time and work necessary to carry them out.
In the same vein, we will work on updating the work positions of administrative and services personnel, both in terms of furniture and computer equipment. We will put a programme in place for laptops and dock-stations to allow for mobility, remote working and work-life balance when deemed appropriate. This, combined with cloud services and virtual platforms, will allow remote working not to be more complex, but to be an advantageous situation.
We will also take action in terms of facilities. Our improvement plan involves creating new spaces so that administrative and services staff can work under better conditions, with a greater distance between work stations. For example, the restoration of the building in the passageway in Plaza de Riego will make it possible to gain space in terms of accessibility conditions for the Vice-Rectorates, the International Postgraduate Centre and the Doctoral School.
Despite years of financial crisis, the University of Oviedo has maintained its participation in the University Accommodation Exchange Programme since its foundation in 1984. We are aware of the high demand for this among administrative and services staff, and the Rectorate has opted to maintain and strengthen the Programme, gradually increasing the number of places to the current four hundred of them.
Equally, Social Action is an element that has been consolidated further, contrary to the actions taken by other public administrations, with a commitment to achieving a balance, not only adaptation to needs, but also to the demands of each group.
Similarly, we will continue to process calls for projects that we have managed to restart. We will provide continuity relating to the Pay Rise Supplement for administrative and services staff, upholding the current level of funds so that such raises can be carried out immediately. In compliance with the provisions of the Collective Agreement, we will grant liability bonuses to staff who do not currently have access to them.
We will continue to encourage early retirement and will fight to improve and expand substitute contracts in accordance with state regulations and the criteria of the Principality of Asturias.
We are firmly committed to fully recovering the rights lost during the economic crisis we have been facing since 2009, as well as in increasing the funds earmarked for repayable advances. We will increase the funds earmarked for repayable advances by increasing the amount and maximum repayment term.
With regard to the prevention of occupational hazards and occupational health and safety, more work will be done on top of the projects carried out over the last four years. There will be continued and increased resources for specific health campaigns. A more dynamic management of the Health and Safety Committee will be put in place, so that it has the power to put actions and agreements in place that are similar to the line of activity followed during the pandemic. In order to consolidate this, training and information will be encouraged that allow staff to be co-responsible in compliance with occupational health and risk prevention; in areas such as Emergency Plans and Evacuation of buildings, the use of defibrillators and further specific training in various health and prevention matters.
In this term we have updated the training of administrative and services staff with new courses and topics.
We will ensure that training plans are tailored to the specific needs of jobs and allow new skills and abilities to be acquired.
We will put a programme in place for laptops and dock-stations to allow for mobility, remote working and work-life balance when deemed appropriate This, combined with cloud services and virtual platforms, will allow remote working not to be more complex, but to be an advantageous situation.