An open letter to the Dean of the Faculty of Science
Reading you stance on the situation of RCPTM’s employees came as great disappointment. I suppose that our attitude has been completely misunderstood, and, as a result, we were labelled as principal enemies. This proves that the conflict has escalated. With respect to the fact that we were never given a chance for negotiation, we can do nothing but adopt this approach to speaking out against your stance.
Firstly, I’d like to emphasize that there are more reasons why we are ready to take strike action. A job opening for the position of the RCPTM General Director is only one of them. Basically, the problem lies in you ignoring the conclusion drawn by the RCPTM Managing Board, with you being its member. It is clear from the minutes of that particular meeting, available on RCPTM website, that September 2020 was regarded as the end of the RCPTM General Director’s term. The conclusion that was made later during the meeting was unanimously approved. The minutes of the meeting were not questioned either. In addition, the RCPTM Managing Board secured Prof. Otyepka’s mandate until September 2020 in order to avoid misunderstanding, and asked you to rescind your decision in an attempt to prevent a court hearing due to the co-existence of two directors, which would only lead to destabilisation of the centre, losing key scientists and the impossibility of finishing ongoing projects worth of hundreds of millions of Czech crowns.
We were preparing for the strike action in May already, when the situation worsened as a result of doc. Tuček’s health problems. However, subsequent negotiations and the aforementioned agreement led to reassuring the staff, and, therefore, we stopped preparing for a potential strike and got back to our duties. The fact that this agreement has been violated deeply upset us, destroyed our trust in the faculty authorities, and consequently led to us being ready to take strike action. Another reason is that a few RCPTM’s employees have already left the centre or expressed such an intention due to increasing worries over the future.
We strictly reject your statement that being ready to take strike action should cover up the data manipulation case. Instead of communicating with us, you assaulted Prof. Zbořil again, perhaps in order to divert the attention elsewhere. This we definitely disapprove of. We emphasize that our statement does not contain any request concerning Prof. Zbořil. However, it is necessary to say that we have already expressed our support for Prof. Zbořil. Our attitude has not changed. We consider this case to be calculated lynching with a pre-selected convict. However, with our issued statement we wanted to point out that the current situation greatly affects even ordinary employees that have been totally ignored so far. Also your statement about the request to stop investigation of our colleagues is seriously misleading. By no means we request the end to the investigation or glossing the case over. However, due to the absence of trust in impartiality of different boards at the Faculty of Science we request that the materials are handed over to the Rector and any potential investigations are conducted at the level of the Rector’s office. In addition, we strictly reject the statement that we are attempting to cause scandals. RCPTM employees resent being abused in personal conflicts, and, by contrast, they request to calm the situation.
The purpose of being ready to take strike action was to invite you to a dialogue, negotiate and find a conciliatory solution to the situation of ordinary employees of the centre. By no means it was an aggressive attack. It was just a desperate step taken in a tense situation. We do not let our statement be abused as another attack against Prof. Zbořil.
Dear Dean, please allow me again to explicitly express our attempt to calm the situation and begin mutual negotiation. Even your statement proves how rapidly the situation escalated and how polarized the faculty has become. It is understandable that the employees are worried about their future. If you believe these worries are unfounded, please take any steps to dispel them. We assume that being able to do this is a quality of a good manager who wants his institution to be working well. The reason why we decided to write an open letter is that your statement makes us seem to be your public enemy. I assure you that we are neither enemies of the Faculty of Science Authorities nor anybody else’s. We are employees of the faculty and your colleagues and we expect that you can help us to find a solution.
Dr. Jakub Navařík
On behalf of RCPTM employees who are ready to take strike action