St John’s professor sues University over ‘forced retirement’

first_img“The EJRA for both the college and university which applied to me applied a retirement age of 67 years that retained the status quo from the mid-1980s.“This age is far too low and I can see that I would be able to carry on working, as would many of my colleagues, well into my mid-70s.“I felt it was unfair that I had to try and ‘convince’ the university and college panels that my continued employment was appropriate.”The English Fellow added: “None of these other institutions have reduced their standards by not forcibly retiring staff. There is no evidence to support the need to ‘refresh’ the academic workforce in terms of turnover.“The university is effectively seeking to justify discrimination on the grounds of age in order to promote equality and diversity of other protected characteristics.“I fully accept the importance of equality and diversity. I am myself from a working class background and the importance of these kinds of social aims weighs strongly with me.“I did not wish to retire, as I did not see the relevance of my age to my ability to carry out the duties of my post in research or teaching for the duties of the Founder’s Fellow.”Professor Pitcher was given the option of reapplying for his job, though appears to have decided against the move.He noted: “Trying to satisfy an unreasonably high threshold test that I am virtually indispensable to the university when I had given decades of impeccable service is degrading and humiliating.”There have been successful internal appeals against the University’s compulsory retirement age in the past. In 2014, Denis Galligan, a law professor at Wolfson College, challenged his set retirement age of 67. Peter Edwards, a professor of inorganic chemistry at St. Catherine’s College was also allowed to keep his job at 69.Cambridge is the only other Russell Group university to have such a policy.The University of Oxford declined to comment. St. John’s College were contacted for comment. A fellow at St. John’s College claims that he was forced to retire two years ago in order to meet workplace diversity expectations, an employment tribunal has heard.Prof. John Pitcher, an English professor who has taught at the college since 1982, had plans to work past the university retirement age of 67. However, he was allegedly told by the College that he would have to retire from his job, which brings an annual salary of £83,000, at the age of 67.Although an initial retirement date had been set for 2012, Pitcher was made a Founder’s Fellow of the college, with a fixed contract until 2020. He undertook a fundraising position within the college under the assumption he would be employed up until then, and now claims he was “forcibly retired” four years prior to the agreed date.The move by St John’s to enforce the initial retirement date apparently came under Oxford’s Employer Justified Retirement Age (EJRA) policy, which sets a compulsory retirement age at 68.Pitcher has since taken his case to an employment tribunal, where he is now suing the University for £100,000 for loss of earnings after an internal appeal was rejected.Court documents from the case indicate that the college believed the move was necessary to “safeguard the high standard” and to move towards “inter-generation fairness”, with “succession planning” and “diversity” also used to justify the move.President of St. John’s College, Maggie Snowling, echoed these documents in a witness statement: “The EJRA helped both the college and the university take steps towards a more diverse academic body and will continue to do so.“It is a proportionate means of ensuring increasing diversity and intergenerational fairness.”Professor Pitcher said: “I believe that decision was discriminatory because of age and was not justified and was also unfair.last_img read more


China car sales slump 92 percent in first half of February on virus

first_imgChina car sales plunged 92 percent during the first two weeks of February as the coronavirus outbreak kept buyers away from showrooms.It was even worse in the first week, when nationwide sales tumbled 96 percent to a daily average of only 811 units, the China Passenger Car Association said in a report released earlier this week. Deliveries this month may slide by about 70 percent, resulting in a roughly 40 percent drop in the first two months of 2020, the association said. The figures exclude minivans.“There was barely anybody at car dealers in the first week of February as most people stayed at home,” PCA Secretary General Cui Dongshu wrote in the report. Dealers gradually restarted operations in the second week of February, when daily sales of passenger cars stood at 4,098 units, still a decline of 89 percent from a year earlier, he said. The situation is expected to improve in the third week of February, Cui said in an interview Friday.The numbers underscore the extent by which sales have been affected in the world’s largest market for automobiles. Even before the outbreak, auto sales in China were heading for an unprecedented third straight annual decline because of a slowing economy and trade tensions with the US.China’s commerce ministry said Thursday it will work with other government departments on more measures to stabilize auto sales and reduce the impact of the epidemic on demand. Separately, Chinese policy makers have been discussing extending subsidies for electric-vehicle purchases beyond this year to revive sales, people familiar with the matter have said.Topics :last_img read more