Friday, 16 May 2014

Garden Halls Update

With 30th June moving ever closer, we wanted to update our members on the current situation with the Garden Halls redundancies. The university is demolishing the buildings in order to build newer, modern halls of residence for their students and unfortunately 80 jobs will no longer exist, Cofely will not be funded by the University of London for these jobs.

Cofely are continuing to consult with staff and with UNISON. The staff forum reps have been briefed and will take collective issues or questions directly to Cofely on behalf of their staff members. If any Cofely staff are unsure who their reps are, don’t hesitate to ask. Alternatively, UNISON members can bring their concerns to our UNISON reps or UNISON regional officers who can answer questions or pass them along. UNISON held a meeting with members at the Garden Halls recently and have passed along such questions to Cofely, members will then be informed of the answers ASAP.

One to one meetings are another opportunity for staff to raise their concerns directly with Cofely managers, a chance to discuss individual circumstances and ask questions that they may not want to discuss in a group setting, such as individual redundancy pay. These are valuable opportunities and staff should already be expressing their interest with one to one meetings scheduled over the coming week. If members are concerned they haven’t yet been given an appointed they should contact their UNISON reps. Reps can be taken into these meetings in order to help ensure that the members ask the questions that they want to ask, help clarify answers and can help take notes or discuss the meeting afterwards with members.

Cofely also have a duty to try and mitigate the number of redundancies. They have decided not to offer voluntary redundancies but have advertised jobs across Cofely as well as in other contracts. If staff decide to take up these opportunities then they will retain their current terms and conditions of employment (holiday, sick pay and pensions) which will be a great relief to many. There will also be vacancies at the University of London advertised with the intention to redeploy as many staff as possible. Staff that are interested should apply for these jobs ASAP, the selection and interview process will be as fair and transparent as possible (with a selection matrix to be used). The interview will be conducted as any other job interview would be.

Cofely have also offered to support staff through a reasonable level of training should it be needed to take up new employment within Cofely. UNISON and Cofely would like to put on ESOL classes, however only a few members of staff have expressed interest. An ESOL qualification would help with finding future employment as well as helping staff develop personally. If staff would like classes and can guarantee the attendance of at least 12 people, UNISON will help facilitate this. Private classes can cost over £1000, UNISON, in conjunction with Cofely, will offer them for free.

Please don’t hesitate to contact our local reps, Jill Coldrick-Chappell (, 07900598817) and Marta Gryc (075 16 861255) with any questions. Jo Galloway (07961044951) and Dario Lopez (07904342453) are also on hand to offer support and advice.

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