Monday, 9 July 2018

HE pay offer consultation

Our branch, along with other Higher Education branches around the country, is being consulted on the current pay offer for 2018/19. Today you will have received an email with full details of the offer and your e-ballot paper. If you have not received an email please check and update your information on My UNISON. The consultation runs from 9 July to 27 July 2018.

UNISON has been calling for an increase of 7.5%, and a real living wage for all higher education staff.

Following an offer that came in mid April and was for an increase of 1.7% or £325 a year, higher education employers have now made a new pay offer of a 2% or £425 pay rise, whichever is greater, on all pay points for the 2018/19 pay round. 
The final offer follows the latest meeting between the higher education unions – UNISON, Unite, the GMB and academic unions UCU and EIS – and the University and Colleges Employer’s Association.
UNISON National Secretary Jon Richards said the offer “does not meet our claim in full, but we welcome the improvements on the employers’ initial offer”. 

The Higher Education Service Group Executive Committee (HESGE) met on Thursday 24 May to discuss the offer and, following a detailed discussion, agreed to consult members with a recommendation that they vote yes to reject the pay offer. This is in line with a decision taken at UNISON’s 2018 Higher Education Conference to recommend the rejection of any offer that did not meet the claim agreed by all unions.

The HESGE were clear that the offer falls well short of our aims. Recent years have seen a series of below inflation pay rises that are making it increasingly difficult for HE support staff to make ends meet, and the HESGE calls on the employers to improve their offer.

If a significant majority of UNISON members vote yes to reject, then the HESGE committee will request a full industrial action ballot and seek to co-ordinate with other unions, which could lead to escalating industrial action to make the employers improve their offer.
If you aren't already a member, join UNISON today to have your say on HE pay.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Facilities Management Review special meeting 10 July

Do you want to learn more about the Facilities Management Review?
Do you have any unanswered questions about the statements senior management have made about bringing back in-house outsourced workers?

If yes, come along to a special meeting being held in Chancellors Hall on Tuesday 10 July from 10.30 – 11.00am.

This meeting will replace a short presentation about the FM Review scheduled at the ASM.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Open letter to the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Operations): bringing outsourced workers back in-house

Dear Pro-Vice Chancellor (Operations),
As the recognised unions at the University of London, although heartened by management’s reiterated position to remove all use of zero hour contracts, we would like to express our disappointment with the most recent statement issued by the University of London regarding the ongoing project to bring our valued colleagues back ‘in-house’.
We reaffirm our belief that all who call the University of London their regular place of work, should be directly employed and, therefore, entitled to the same protection and benefits available to them as UoL employees.
We believe this latest statement did little to address the concerns raised following both the email sent on 25 May 2018 and SharePoint update on 06 June 2018 and again fails to address the very real concerns of members of staff over who, when and how our colleagues will be brought back in house. We remind you that in a previous statement from management, we were told that “in practical terms, these initiatives will be progressed over the next 12-18 months with some services being brought in house in 2018/19”.
We request that Senior Management address the following issues;
  1. Use of language
    We note that the statement issued did not include one instance of words or terms such as ‘worker’, ‘people’, ‘in-house’ or ‘bringing people in house’. This is unsettling given that some of these terms have been used within the previous communication and given that this issue is primarily about how people are employed. When communicating regarding this issue, these phrases should be used to avoid confusion and to provide clarity over who and what is being discussed.
  2. TimetableWe also note that we have yet to receive a timetable of who will be brought in house and when. The only recent reference made to a timeframe related to a possible customer service model and student residential life programme being presented to the Board of Trustees in the autumn. We request that a more detailed timetable be provided, to demonstrate the current stage of planning. Whilst we appreciate that such plans may be in a draft form, it is important that colleagues have sight of provisional plans as these also provide reassurance that the University remains committed to this issue. This should include reference to our cleaning colleagues as they were not directly addressed within the most recent statement.
  3. Implementation groupIt has been suggested by senior management that an ‘in-housing implementation group’ is established. We request that the unions have full consultation on the Terms of Reference for and membership of this group.
  4. Security reviewThat the unions also have full consultation on the upcoming security review including agreeing the Terms of Reference, which security and technology experts are selected, and input into the methodology used for the review. Union involvement in this process is paramount, particularly now it has been communicated to staff. This is a health and safety issue and there will be many questions. Additionally, particularly in light of recent media coverage, reference should be made to the recent expenditure of University funds on enhanced security and what this has achieved over the last few weeks.
  5. Zero hours contractsClarification over which service providers are currently reviewing their zero hours contracts. We are aware Aramark are reviewing their zero-hours contracts but the statement suggests that all contracted out service providers are doing this and perhaps the University itself ‘across our estate’.
  6. Residential Student Life programmeThe link between the Residential Student Life programme and the FM review is unclear. This needs to be unpacked and explained. If the University remains committed to seeking outcomes that are mutually agreeable to employer and employees, then clear, transparent and suitably detailed information must be offered as a key part in achieving this.
We look forward to receiving a response that addresses each of these issues in turn.
UNISON & UCU Senate House branches

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