Saco-S disagrees on new handling in the Staff Disciplinary Board
The Vice-Chancellor will decide on changes to the procedure for the Staff Disciplinary Board (PAN). Saco-S considers these changes to be very unfortunate. Here we have gathered documents, procedures and minutes of negotiations so that you, our members, can also familiarise yourself with the issue. Anyone who ends up in a lawsuit is in a vulnerable position and thus rarely willing to express themselves. The number of cases to the Staff Disciplinary Board is increasing and therefore the members should inform themselves about the upcoming processing procedure.
Previous changes in practice have already been written about in Universitetsläraren. At that time, it was about employees who are accused of something that could lead to dismissal for personal reasons or dismissal not being allowed to submit their own statement regarding the allegations.
With LU's new working methods and administrative procedures, employees will not be allowed to attend the board's meeting. The employer argues that members should instead be represented by the employee organizations in deliberations that precede the staff disciplinary board's meeting, in order to investigate the allegations and find a possible negotiated solution. This is done in the rest of the labour market with the support of LAS, but at most higher education institutions and government agencies there is instead a staff disciplinary board, which is supported by both the Higher Education Ordinance and the Government Agencies Ordinance in our case. So even though the Staff Disciplinary Board will remain at the agency, its function and working methods have changed fundamentally. In the past, Saco-S has also been able to support our members in the Staff Disciplinary Board and we have had great confidence in its work. The Swedish Agency for Government Employers, which supports Lund University in its role as an employer and represents at a central level, is clear in its support material that the union representative must represent the member during the meeting. Saco-S at Lund University believes that the employer should follow the advice of the Swedish Agency for Government Employers, with union support, to allow statements and participation in meetings where members' future working lives can be decided.
We also believe that it is inappropriate for the HR Director to be a member of the Board because the reporting officer and the PAN group work very closely with the HR Director. In the administrative procedure, it is proposed that "the HR Director appoints rapporteurs and substitutes for rapporteurs. The HR Director appoints a secretary, who is responsible for drawing up summonses, keeping minutes of the Board's meetings, dispatching decisions and registering meeting documents." With such proximity to cases, suspicion can arise about his independence and the HR Director is one of those who can report cases to the Personnel Disciplinary Board. The Swedish Agency for Government Employers writes in the State Employees' Service Responsibility (2023) that "(d)a person who makes a report should not be a member of the staff disciplinary board with regard to the conflict of interest rules in FL". The fact that Lund University chooses to go against advice from the Swedish Agency for Government Employers is symptomatic of how it now chooses to work with difficult personnel matters.
The proposed procedure also proposes that "(v)erksamheten is responsible for compiling the inquiry's documentation and preparing documentation for rapporteurs for the Board's meeting". This means that the faculties' HR must do the preparatory work themselves before the board's meetings. Reasonably, and hopefully, this will continue to be a rare task in the future at the faculties. The cases that we have had over the past year have been handled with a new interpretation of the old procedure and thus we have already seen certain consequences of the proposed way of working. Hence the great disagreement over this decision on this point too.
The proposed procedure does not increase transparency or legal certainty for the PAN process. The employee organisations therefore urge the employer to develop a clear procedure that supports the handling before and during the PAN process.
Så fort den nya Handläggningsordningen är beslutad av rektor kommer vi to update the article with a further analysis of the implications.
Note: the links below all go to documents and web pages in Swedish.
- Read SULF, Saco-S and OFR-S's positions on the minutes of the MBL negotiations
- Union representatives critical of Lund's new Pan process (link to article in Universitetsläraren)
- Disagreement on new PAN process in Lund (link to article in Universitetsläraren)
- The HR web's information about the Staff Disciplinary Board (PAN)
- Liability of government employees (see page 31 on the right to representation/counsel)