February branch meeting — February 22, 2017

February branch meeting

Our next branch meeting is taking place this Friday 24 February in the IHR
Mezzanine, 3rd Floor Senate House  at 12.30.

Amongst other things, we will be discussing:

*       Security guards strike update
*       Aramark
*       Asbestos update

English classes begin again —

English classes begin again

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English classes have started up again. They will run on Saturday, with a drop-in class that everyone is welcome to attend,, and an ESOL 2 class. Please contact our education officer Andres if you want to find out more: andressaenz@iwgb.co.uk

Las clases de inglés han comenzado de nuevo. Ellos correrán el sábado, con una clase que todos están bienvenidos y una clase ESOL 2. Póngase en contacto con nuestro oficial de educación, Andres, si desea obtener más información: andressaenz@iwgb.co.uk

 

IWGB issue Cordant with deadline — February 21, 2017

IWGB issue Cordant with deadline

IWGB met with Cordant representatives on Monday 20 February. As Danny reports:

The IWGB presented three demands to Cordant. It was promised that the first two would be resolved:

  1. With regard to payslips, it was agreed that Danny would liaise with John Preston, to ensure all staff were receiving payslips with a full breakdown of hours, overtime hours etc.
  1. With regard to zero-hour contracts, it was agreed that Danny would provide to John Preston a list of staff who were on contracts that did not reflect their hours, and that these would then be resolved.

All members currently on zero-hour contracts, or who would like to have a contract which reflects their hours properly should contact Abdul as soon as possible!

The third demand has not yet been met:

  1. With regard to pay, the IWGB position was that differentials should be restored to their 2011 levels.

The union has provided a deadline of Friday 24 February at 5pm. If we have not received an offer along these lines, or an invitation to a serious negotiation with Cordant and the University about these issues, we will start the procedures to ballot for a strike.

We can’t let Silicon Valley companies and their spin undermine workers’ rights — February 16, 2017
UoL security officers sign up to the IWGB en masse as strike over pay looms — February 15, 2017

UoL security officers sign up to the IWGB en masse as strike over pay looms

strike3.jpg

Many more UoL security officers have now joined the IWGB following last week’s meeting over pay, at which the prospect of strike action was raised and wholeheartedly endorsed.

Security officers have seen their pay differentials vastly eroded over the last six years, from nearly two pounds above the UoL minimum in 2011 to just 19 pence in 2017.

IWGB officials and security guard reps are scheduled to meet with bosses from security contractor Cordant on Monday 20 February, and intend to make the following demands:

  • That differentials be restored to 2011 levels (by our calculations this would mean an hourly rate of just over £12)
  • That zero-hour and so-called 365 hour (per year!) contracts be abolished
  • That proper payslips showing a clear breakdown of hours worked and overtime be provided.

Please do get in touch with dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk or abdul.bakhsh@outlook.com for more information.

Asbestos issues at the University of London! IWGB members plan formal grievance! —

Asbestos issues at the University of London! IWGB members plan formal grievance!

BREAKING NEWS! Since this article was published this morning the University of London have been in touch with the IWGB with partial answers to the issues raised. Get in touch (uol@iwgb.org.uk) if you want more details!

IWGB members working in the maintenance team are to launch a formal collective grievance against the University and its contractor Bouygues following a series of failings relating to the re-discovery of asbestos across the University of London site.

The site had been declared asbestos-free following a series of previous scandals, most recently in 2002-3 at the then  Institute of Germanic Studies.

However, it recently transpired that these tests had not been carried out properly, and that areas which had been declared safe were in fact contaminated.

Staff who have been working in those areas are understandably extremely concerned as to the danger they might have been exposed to. However, despite the gravity of the situation, the University has thus far only provided vague and generic assurances that the asbestos is now being cleared, and that the risks were minimal.

Meanwhile:

  • The University has refused to confirm that an investigation will be conducted into how areas were declared safe when the asbestos had not been removed
  • Staff are still being pressured to go into affected areas without adequate training or protective clothing
  • The University has refused to release the detailed sample reports from the most recent surveys
  • The University has failed to address a series of detailed questions on this issue submitted by the affected staff in December
  • The University has failed to inform other potentially affected staff, visitors, or residents at the its Halls of Residence, of these ongoing asbestos risks

As such the IWGB, who represent maintenance workers at the University, will be submitting a formal grievance this week, and pressing, among other things, for a full formal enquiry.

Please feel free to get in touch with any concerns via uol@iwgb.org.uk.

London Legal Support Trust accreditation — February 13, 2017

London Legal Support Trust accreditation

The IWGB has been given a grant of £10,000 from the London Legal Support Trust (LLST), to help support the activities of our  Legal Department, and as part of the process of becoming an accredited LLST Centre of Excellence. As well as an ongoing independent review of our activities, this will allow us to access more advice and support from the Trust and apply for further funding.

Watch this space for more info!

Weekend news roundup —

Weekend news roundup

Radio Free Brighton’s Davy Jones podcast this week featured Tim, a Deliveroo rider, and our General Secretary, Jason Moyer-Lee: https://www.mixcloud.com/RadioFreeBrighton/rfb-davy-jones-interviews-tim-a-local-deliveroo-rider-and-jason-from-the-iwgb-about-deliveroo/

And the BBC has produced this handy explainer on the gig economy and what it means for workers in different industries: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38930048

IWGB asks for clarification on Cordant contracts — February 10, 2017

IWGB asks for clarification on Cordant contracts

Yesterday IWGB Treasurer Danny Millum wrote to Kim Frost, raising issues around cleaners’ contracts and the University’s negotiations with Cordant. The text of the email is below, with an example zero-hours contract letter. We look forward to his swift response…

 

9 February 2017

Dear Kim

I am writing on behalf of cleaning staff working for the contractor Cordant to bring to the University of London’s attention serious failings with the way certain aspects of the contract are being handled.

Shortly after Cordant took over, a number of permanent cleaning positions were advertised internally, and various cleaners applied for these, and were interviewed.

These posts were of great importance – many of those applying work just three hours a day, and these extra hours would have allowed them to earn closer to a full-time salary while remaining in the same workplace.

However, following the interviews:

  • no appointments were made
  • no outcome was provided to any of the applicants
  • despite numerous enquiries, no explanation was provided as to why the appointment process had been suspended
  • following union intervention, Cordant stated in September that the process had been halted while a revaluation of the contract was done, but that this would be resolved shortly
  • instead these posts continued to be filled by temporary summer staff, who had never applied for the positions or been interviewed, but whose contracts were extended beyond the normal September cutoff point
  • following numerous other requests for information, the employees eventually filed a collective grievance on the 13 December, which was not heard until the 16 January, and for which an outcome was only provided today, on the 9 February
  • the outcome gave no detail, but merely stated that negotations were ongoing bewteen the University of London and Cordant, and that no timescale could be given
  • in the meantime, despite assurances to the contrary, temporary staff are now being issued with zero-hour contracts (see attached) while they continue to fill these posts.

We have been given no option but to bring this matter to the University’s attention, and ask:

  1. Is the University aware that its contractor has left staff who attended interviews in good faith for nearly a year with no outcome?
  2. Is the University aware that its contractor (until forced to do so by a formal grievance) failed to respond to staff requests for information for months on end?
  3. Is the University aware that its contractor is now employing staff on zero-hour contracts?
  4. Is the University aware that its contractor is claiming that negotiations over the contract have taken over ten months – and are still not resolved?
  5. Is the University aware that the consequence of this has meant that a significant number of permanent cleaning positions have been left unfilled for over ten months – with the work being done instead by temporary staff who were not required to interview?
  6. It cannot be the case that resolving the hours required on this contract should take so long – either Cordant or the University are responsible for this. Which is it?

The affected cleaners feel extremely disrespected and poorly treated – they simply wish for these posts to be awarded fairly to those who originally interviewed for them.

They are in the process of appealing the decision, and considering legal action. In the meantime, we would ask the University to clarify the contract, and compel its contractor to fulfil its obligations to staff. In addition, if it turns out that the University is condoning the use of zero-hour contracts by Cordant, we will be calling attention to this by all means possible.

If you could respond to this as soon as possible that would be much appreciated.

Best wishes,

Danny Millum

Treasurer

IWGB

The Guardian on the gig economy — February 8, 2017
Assistant Branch Secretary and Communications Officer elections — February 7, 2017

Assistant Branch Secretary and Communications Officer elections

At the last round of branch meetings we held an election to the new position of Assistant Branch Secretary. This post was established to take some of the workload and pressure off our very hardworking Branch Secretary, Catherine. Rebecca Dooley stood for the post and was elected – so congratulations to Rebecca, and good luck!

Rebecca’s election left a vacancy for the post of Communications Officer. Matt Mahon was elected to the post – and he’s still getting to grips with all the logins, but normal service will resume soon…

IWGB and University of London feature in new novel – come to the launch! — February 1, 2017

IWGB and University of London feature in new novel – come to the launch!

an_ounce_standard-175x259The IWGB’s Leo Zeilig has just published his second novel – and it revolves around a lightly fictionalised account of the 2013 3 Cosas struggle at the University of London!

Leo tell us:

‘As I mentioned it is a strange story (about a very distracted blogger/ lecturer on a temporary contract, who gets involved in a struggle at his university of cleaners and security guards and then travels to Zimbabwe). Obviously the story is, in part, a celebration of the battles that workers at Senate House have been involved in.’

There have clearly been some other elements of poetic licence taken, as one reviewer refers to a novel of ‘digital activism and sex’ – Leo was obviously on a different picket line to us!

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Dr Leo Zeilig doing his best impassioned activist impression…

Anyway, all members are welcome to come to the launch! Leo has promised booze and music, and it will take place on 28 Feb, G22/26, Senate House, University of London, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU – 6pm.

Just drop Leo a line (leo.zeilig@sas.ac.uk) if you fancy it…

Security Officer pay – meeting planned for next week —

Security Officer pay – meeting planned for next week

business-commerce-pay_rise-pay_reviews-pay_rises-stingy_boss-mean_boss-cza0592l-jpgOver the last 5 years, pay increases for security officers at the University of London have fallen behind those of other staff.

In 2012 a security officer could expect to earn nearly two pounds an hour more than a cleaner.

Now the difference in many cases is only 19 pence.

This takes no account of the extra training and qualifications required by security – or of the extra risks that they take to protect the University.

The IWGB is organising a meeting for all security staff to discuss this issue and what we can do about it.

Please contact Abdul Bakhsh at abdul.bakhsh@outlook.com  or on 07595950448 and let us know the time that suits you the best.

Members and non-members welcome.

JOB OPPORTUNITY – Legal Department Co-ordinator —

JOB OPPORTUNITY – Legal Department Co-ordinator

jobs_imageThe IWGB is proud to announce that it is currently hiring a new Legal Department Co-ordinator! There is a full job description along with an introduction of the IWGB in the link. To apply, please email your CV and a cover letter to Jon Katona (IWGB Vice-President) at jonkatona@iwgb.co.uk.

Deadline for applications: 12.00 (noon), Saturday 4 February 2017.

Please also include the details of two professional references.

The role

The main responsibilities of the post are to:

  • ensure union members are allocated to a case worker when they have a case
  • manage a case load of grievances, disciplinaries and (when sufficiently experienced) employment tribunals
  • guide a maximum of two volunteer caseworker(s) through cases and ensure the quality of training and legal work in the department
  • provide regular legal surgeries/advice clinics to the public on employment law matters
  • prepare tribunal claims and bundles, documentation etc.
  • ensure the smooth operation of the IWGB Legal Department
  • instruct barristers for Employment Tribunal cases
  • communicate with and regularly update the union’s management about the work of the Legal Department
  • maintain data management processes and keep members informed while acting in accordance with their needs
  • undertake any other duties appropriate to the post and help other staff maintain the smooth running of the union’s head office.

Person specification

Essential

  • Hold a law degree and have a good knowledge of UK employment law.
  • Have extensive experience of employment-related case work.
  • Grasp the IWGB’s approach and be personally committed to social justice and the improvement of working conditions.
  • Have demonstrable supervisory and/or managerial experience.
  • Have good computer skills, including a knowledge of MS Office including Excel.
  • Have a high level of personal organisation and an ability to deal with a demanding and stressful job.
  • Be able to work independently and in a team.

Desirable

  • Have a high level of spoken Spanish or a facility with another Southern-European language.
  • Have been an active member of a union or have knowledge of the trade union movement.
IWGB fights for payrise for UoL security officers — January 25, 2017

IWGB fights for payrise for UoL security officers

Security officers at the University of London are currently in talks with management over this year’s payrise, which has seen a further erosion of differentials with other staff.

See below for the letter the IWGB sent to Cordant yesterday (and please do contact dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk with any questions).

We are writing following receipt of your letter inviting us to an open day to discuss this year’s pay increase.

While we welcome the opportunity to engage over this, we would like to stress that this is a collective issue rather than an individual one, and needs to be resolved as such.

As you know, since the implementation of the London Living Wage at the University of London in 2012, the differentials between security staff and lower-paid workers have been eroded year-on-year.

Whereas once the hourly pay rates for security staff were almost two pounds higher than those for cleaners, the difference in many cases now is just a few pence.

While we are pleased that our colleagues have enjoyed these pay increases, it is unfair that we have been treated differently, especially as Kim Frost (then Director of HR) promised when the LLW was introduced that pay differentials would be maintained.

As such, we do not believe that 1.65% increase is adequate. Instead, we would request as a minimum that the rate for security staff be raised to at least £1.00 above that of the LLW minimum (eg £10.75 from November 2016) and that Cordant and the University in the future commit to restoring our previous differentials as per 2012.

We will be happy to meet with you as a group to discuss this issue on Wednesday, and would like to be accompanied by our trade union representative.

Best wishes

Members of your security team

Branch meeting this week – Friday 27 and Saturday 28! — January 24, 2017

Branch meeting this week – Friday 27 and Saturday 28!

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All members are invited to attend the first branch meetings of 2017, which will take place on:

  • Friday 27 January, 12.30, IHR Lower Mezzanine Room (accessed via 3rd floor Senate House)
  • Saturday 28 January, 1.30, IWGB Office (12-20 Baron Street, N1 9LL).

As ever, there’s already a lot going on, and we’ll be discussing (among other things) the Aramark campaign, the Women’s March last Saturday, security guards pay, voluntary redundancy issues at Health Education England and London Living Wage issues at the Royal College of Music.

You will also get the opportunity to vote or even stand for the positions of Communications Officer and Assistant Secretary.

Any questions or suggestions for the agenda, please do get in touch with catherinemorrissey@iwgb.org.uk.

“With mediation, there are 2 outcomes: either it fails, or everyone goes away disappointed!” – ICE latest — January 19, 2017

“With mediation, there are 2 outcomes: either it fails, or everyone goes away disappointed!” – ICE latest

The initial ICE meeting with Oliver Segall QC took place last week – see below for Mark and Rebecca’s update…

Happy New Year! We are writing with an update on the ICE negotiations.

Following the ballot at the end of last year, where staff voted to reject the proposal put forward by the University, Unison and UCU, the University has decided to take a new approach to securing an agreement and has employed a mediator.

On Friday all five representatives met with Oliver Segal QC (http://www.oldsquare.co.uk/our-people/profile/oliver-segal-qc) to see whether we thought he would be suitable for this role.

We came away reassured as to his experience and expertise (and neutrality!), and we were also happy with the role he proposed for himself, which would largely be as a facilitator, seeking common ground among the different parties.

As he jokingly put it, “with mediation, there are 2 outcomes: either it fails, or everyone goes away disappointed!”.

The plan now is have a full day meeting, with the hope that the outcome will be an agreement we can all sign up to – this is taking place on 10 March.

We won’t sign up to anything that we think isn’t in the best interests of staff, and any agreement must ensure proper representation for staff in Levels 1-6.

We will write again after the mediation has taken place, hopefully spreading good news of an agreement!

As always, please get in touch with any questions or suggestions (rebecca.dooley@london.ac.uk).

Best wishes

Rebecca and Mark

Levels 1-6 ICE negotiation representatives

IWGB Sadiq Scholarship – first ESOL certificates awarded — January 18, 2017

IWGB Sadiq Scholarship – first ESOL certificates awarded

presentation

Last Saturday saw the awards ceremony for the IWGB’s Sadiq Scholarship, with students receiving their ESOL certificates of completion.

This course has been made possible by the generosity of our funder, who got in touch having read news reports of the IWGB’s activities and wanted to help in a practical way.

The intensive classes have enabled the reps who took them to make massive progress, and in further good news we have secured funding for the next set of classes, which will commence in the next few weeks.

For more information please contact Andres, our Education Officer (andresrogarth@gmail.com).

Treasurer’s report / Informe del tesorero — January 17, 2017

Treasurer’s report / Informe del tesorero

The Treasurer’s Statement presented to our December general meeting is now available here. If you have any questions or would like any additional information please just contact Danny at dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk.

La declaracion del tesorero presentada en la reunion de los delegados generales en diciembre esta ahora disponible online en http://bit.ly/2iDgA65. Si teneis cualquier pregunta mandad un mensaje a Danny en el 07783719479 / dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk.

ICE talks resume this Friday — January 11, 2017

ICE talks resume this Friday

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Oliver Segall QC

Just a quick notice to remind you that after a series of postponements at the end of last year we will finally be meeting the University’s proposed mediator, Oliver Segall QC, on Friday.

At this first meeting the IWGB’s indefatigable negotiating reps, Rebecca Dooley and Mark Murphy, will aim to find out exactly how this planned mediation will work, and we will be sure to feed back to staff as soon as possible re the details.

Watch this space!

Radical voices exhibition opens next week – Senate House Library — January 10, 2017

Radical voices exhibition opens next week – Senate House Library

radicalvoiceslogowithblogstextWe thought that this exhibition might be of interest to members – it’s just upstairs in the library on the 4th floor of Senate House, and is well worth checking out!

Senate House Library is hosting a free exhibition and series of events running from the 16th of January through March 2017, displaying and promoting the library collections of those who defined themselves as radical in the specific late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British sense, as well as those who more generally advocated for societal improvements through reform. Senate House Library has organically developed into a hub for collections of radical voices of the last few centuries. Revealing this strand in the library collections not only sheds light on enormously influential but subsequently neglected figures, campaigns and organizations, but also on the University’s own institutional history, and potential futures. 

Tickets to view the Radical Voices exhibition are free and are available at the membership desk on the fourth floor of Senate House. Please see the library’s operating hours before planning your visit.

In addition to the exhibition, the library will be hosting a series of events, including film nights, conferences, concerts and an ephemera road show. Please see the website for more information about these events and to register to attend.

 

IWGB wins landmark tribunal case! — January 8, 2017

IWGB wins landmark tribunal case!

magsYou may have seen (in the Guardian, in the Evening Standard, in the Financial Times, on Radio 4 (from 21.25), on Radio 5 or on the BBC website) that the IWGB’s Maggie Dewhurst won her case against the cycle courier firm CitySprint.

The tribunal claim was for two days’ unpaid holiday pay, but the real argument was whether couriers should be classified as “independent contractors”, or “workers” in the eyes of UK and EU law.

This victory means that not just Maggie, but thousands across the courier industry, will be able to claim holiday pay and other basic rights they were hitherto denied.

Three more cases are going forward against other companies, as the IWGB is determined to transform this hitherto exploitative industry!

Read full details here!

Help our Deliveroo branch win recognition! — December 19, 2016

Help our Deliveroo branch win recognition!

deliveroofistsSince November, the IWGB has been attempting to gain recognition (a collective bargaining agreement) from Deliveroo in London. If we are successful, it will be the first collective bargaining agreement in the UK’s so called “gig economy” and will force Deliveroo to recognise their riders as workers. This will give them the right to the minimum wage, paid holidays, legal protection against discrimination and more.

Deliveroo has rejected the initial request, but the union remains determined to succeed and a tribunal case is currently pending. But it shouldn’t take a tribunal case to compel Deliveroo to do the right thing. They should recognise their drivers as “workers” and should recognise the union for the purposes of collective bargaining now.

Please help your fellow IWGB members and sign the LabourStart petition – http://www.labourstart.org/go/deliveroo

 

Anti-Aramark redundancies campaign continues — December 16, 2016

Anti-Aramark redundancies campaign continues

aramarkFar from winding down for the Christmas period, we are thinking of ramping up the anti-Aramark redundancies campaign with a bit more leafletting next week.

We got a great response last time and haven’t been able to do any since, so next Wednesday we’d like to hand out leaflets during the lunchtime rush again, and maybe during breakfast too. Please let us know (catherinemorrissey@iwgb.co.uk )if you can volunteer to do a festive good deed and help out for half an hour.

The latest on this is that the company conducted 5-minute ‘consultation’ meetings with affected staff, except those fortunate/wise enough to be IWGB members, who had decent support and thereby forced the managers into a more appropriate discussion of the options.

At these meetings it turned out that Aramark hasn’t conducted an equality impact assessment, and the managers in attendance – including the Director of Operations – had no idea why it might be a good idea to do so! Needless to say the indefatigable Danny Millum has now enlightened them…

Just a final note to finish: last year, Aramark’s annual profits were a mere $14.3 billion. Small change for most of us eh! So if anyone’s wondering whether they ‘need’ to make these people redundant … let them draw their own conclusions.

Please do remember to sign and circulate the petition too!

And you can read about other anti-Aramark campaigns here.

Fiesta de navidad! Sabado 10 de diciembre! — November 30, 2016

Fiesta de navidad! Sabado 10 de diciembre!

clipart-christmas-party-riay5rbilTe invitamos a celebrar la fiesta de navidad con tu sindicato IWGB el sabado 10 de diciembre desde las 6:30pm hasta el amanecer!

Habra servicio de comida, bebidas y fiesta!

Lugar: Instituto de Historical Research / Senate House – Malet Street WC1E 7HU.

Estacion de metro mas cercana: Russell Square.

Cualquier pregunta: 07922810798 (Henry)

Entrada gratuita para todos los miembros! Te esperamos!

IWGB Christmas Party – Sat 10 December! All welcome! —

IWGB Christmas Party – Sat 10 December! All welcome!

clipart-christmas-party-riay5rbilPlease make sure to come to our Christmas party on Saturday 10 December 2016, which we’re running jointly this year with our comrades in the United Voices of the World union.

The party will take place in the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street WC1E 7HU, and will start at 6.30pm.

Entrance is free for all members, and there will be food, drink and music from acclaimed SOAS DJ Luis Aramando!

Any questions at all call IWGB President and party maestro Henry Chango Lopez on 07922810798, or email catherinemorrissey@iwgb.co.uk.

See you there!

Branch meeting this Friday – please come and support your Aramark colleagues! — November 22, 2016

Branch meeting this Friday – please come and support your Aramark colleagues!

aramark

Our branch meetings this week will take place on Friday at 12.30 in the common room next to the cafe,and then on Saturday at 1.30 in the union office.

The main item on the agenda this month is the Aramark restructure – we will be handing out fliers and petitions at the meeting, so please make sure to come if you can and support your Aramark colleagues.

The full agenda is:

  1. Aramark
  2. ICE elections
  3. Christmas party and delegate event
  4. Kingdom tribunal over cleaners’ unpaid wages
  5. English clases
  6. LSHTM outsourcing
  7. Proposed creation of new Assistant Secretary post

Any suggestions or ideas please contact catherinemorrissey@iwgb.co.uk.

 

Aramark redundancies latest – IWGB submits consultation response! —

Aramark redundancies latest – IWGB submits consultation response!

aramarkUPDATE: If you would like to help Aramark staff facing redundancy this Christmas, please write a letter of objection to University Pro-Vice Chancellor of Operations Chris Cobb (Chris.Cobb@london.ac.uk)and Vivienne Shinner of Aramark (Shinner-Vivienne@aramark.co.uk) and sign our petition on the 38 Degrees website – http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-redundancies-of-aramark-staff-at-the-university-of-london.

Suggested email – please adapt!

I am writing to express my concern about the planned redundancies among Aramark staff at the University.

I understand that the reason given for this is that hospitality revenues have been falling – and yet at the same time new zero-hours staff are being taken on, which suggests instead that this is an attempt to get rid of staff on full-time contracts.

In addition new catering outlets are due to open as part of Programme Beveridge early next year. It would seem sensible to defer this restructure until then, allowing staff to be relocated and avoiding redundancies.

I must say that in an increasingly faceless world of customer service I really value seeing my colleagues at the North Block café each morning.

Our branch secretary Catherine Morrissey has just submitted the union’s response to the planned restructure and job cuts by Aramark in Senate House.

See below for the full thing. Our branch meeting this week (12.30, Friday)  will be held in solidarity in the Common Room next to the cafe, and we plan to flier afterwards – so please come along and support our colleagues!

Aramark restructure November 2016 – Collective response from IWGB

Summary

Aramark’s regional Manager Vivienne Shinner announced in a staff meeting on 8 November 2016 that Aramark intends to ‘restructure’ a pool of ten people at the University of London site, resulting in the loss of three permanent jobs in catering at the University site.

This pool includes only staff on contracts with guaranteed hours. No zero-hours staff or their posts have been included in the pool.

Aramark’s stated justification for the intended restructure is falling revenues at the Senate House site due to a drop in catered hospitality bookings.

It should be noted that hospitality bookings are managed by the University’s Conference Office, which is staffed by direct employees of the University.

It has been claimed by Aramark managers in meetings with affected staff that the ‘pressure’ to make redundancies has come from the University itself. To date this assertion has not been confirmed by the Conference Office Business & Development Manager.

IWGB believes redundancy should be an absolute last resort and should not be considered until all other options have been tried and failed.

In this case IWGB does not believe Aramark and the University have done all they can to avoid redundancies. There are several grounds on which it can be shown that this restructure is precipitate and has not been properly managed, detailed below.

IWGB calls on the University of London and its subcontractor Aramark to halt these plans for one year, to allow time for the many possible solutions that would enable affected staff to continue their employment to be tested.

Further, IWGB believes that a failure to do so could result in any redundancies made under this process being challenged in court as unlawful and will give its full support to all staff wishing to take such a case forward.

We very much hope that this will be unnecessary and that suitable employment can be found for the affected staff, within the University site itself.

Detail

Grounds on which IWGB and affected staff believe this restructure is unnecessary and potentially illegal are as follows.

Suitable alternative employment on site or nearby is being withheld

  • The company is under a legal and moral duty to seek to offer suitable alternative employment rather than make staff redundant.
  • However, three people were employed by Aramark on zero hours contracts just weeks before three redundancies of permanent staff were announced.
  • Earlier in 2016 (August) 30 new staff were employed by Aramark in a new unit just a short walk from the Senate House site.
  • The new café scheduled to be built in the Senate House basement in 2017 will be run by Aramark. This will be a large café catering to hundreds of University staff. Experienced, reliable staff will be needed to manage and run this. It makes no sense to make three such staff redundant mere months before this.

The new structure disproportionately affects ethnic minority staff and may be discriminatory

  • There has been no equality impact assessment about how this proposed restructure, and the pool as it has been selected, impacts on ethnic minority staff.
  • Had there been, it would be obvious that ethnic minority groups are at risk of being disproportionately affected. Looking at the current structure and the proposed new structure, it is clear that current managers and administrators, all of whom are white British or Irish, can slot easily into the new roles. Ethnic minority staff are not so fortunate and at least three out of four of them are at high risk of losing their jobs.

The consultation has not been genuine or appropriate

  • The consultation period is too short – Aramark formally announced it in November and allowed the statutory minimum time for ‘consultation’. However, staff are aware that managers have been planning this restructure since August 2016. Employers are under a legal duty to consult for as long as possible. Aramark has failed to do so in this case.
  • A few weeks before this restructure was formally announced, affected staff were asked to come up with ideas for how to make cost savings and/or increase revenue on site. Many staff did so. However, at the first formal ‘consultation meeting’, which to date is the only further staff meeting held on the subject, they were not asked for or given opportunity to say what ideas they had.
  • IWGB believes this is because Aramark wishes to get permanent staff off its payroll and gradually replace them with zero-hours staff, while paying lip service to protecting jobs.

The redundancies are not genuine and are therefore illegal

  • Seven people cannot do the work of ten and maintain the same level of service. For example, a Deputy Manager cannot be an effective deputy, supervising work in the basement kitchens and doing high-level administration in the office, while at the same time taking on the full-time tasks of the busy ground-floor Café Supervisor. In the new structure this person will have to be supported by staff on zero-hours contracts whose roles are not detailed in the plans. Therefore the role of Café Supervisor is not genuinely redundant at all.
  • Replacing a permanent staff member with a zero-hours staff member in this way would constitute constructive dismissal and will be immediately challenged in court by IWGB.
  • Additionally, there is no rationale for including the Senate House café in this restructure and yet excluding the much quieter Institute of Advanced Legal Studies café. If it were a genuine case of wishing to make cost savings the pool should take into account where revenues are generated.
  • Affected staff are currently still being put under pressure to attend work even when ill, which further indicates that far from being redundant, their roles are in fact essential.
  • High levels of overtime are currently being performed by staff affected by this restructure. Aramark state that they have ‘the aim of avoiding, if possible, any compulsory redundancies’. If these levels of overtime continue while redundancies are made, it will be clear that they were avoidable, and that Aramark has failed to pursue its stated aim in this regard. Instead, overtime should be stopped and these hours should be shared among affected staff.

Claims about falling revenue have not been evidenced

  • There is no evidence of a need for this restructure. Figures have not been provided either by Aramark or the University to justify the claims of ‘falling revenues’ in terms of catering at Senate House.
  • The University has recently taken on the management of a new suite of conference venues, in the former students’ union on Malet Street (Student Central). Aramark were awarded the catering contract for its café and conference hospitality. It seems highly unlikely that with this new revenue stream, revenue can be said to have fallen.
  • The Conference and Events Sales Manager in the Conference Office has been on maternity leave for much of the past year. While she has been on leave she has not been replaced. It should be considered that the lack of this key staff member could be largely responsible for the perceived drop in hospitality revenue overall and that this should therefore be regarded as a temporary problem that does not justify three staff losing their jobs.
  • Even if it can be proven that hospitality revenues on average are falling, the Senate House café staff should not be included in the pool. The café remains busy and sales are actually increasing. IWGB regards the inclusion of the Café Supervisor in the redundancy pool as a deliberate attempt at constructive dismissal and will use past evidence of attempts to intimidate and discredit this long-serving staff member as supporting evidence of this should the case reach an employment tribunal.

There are several other easy ways to reduce costs or save jobs

Other ways to cut costs have not been appropriately trialled and considered. Staff have come up with several suggestions about how the alleged problem of falling revenues can be addressed, for example:

  • As mentioned above, it should be obvious that the lack of a dedicated and experienced sales manager will impact on overall revenues. The University and Aramark should wait for this staff member to return from leave and reprise the role for several months before assessing whether the drop in revenue was a temporary or permanent trend.
  • Aramark management have only recently arranged for access to the dry food store to be restricted. The current Café Supervisor has been asking for six years for this to be done due to theft of stock from the previously open area. This created waste and decreased profits. Time should be taken to see the effect of managing this appropriately.
  • Prices have just gone up in the café. Again, the University and its subcontractor Aramark should allow a few months to see what impact this has on revenues.
  • Overtime is extensively used by senior staff (the same staff who are likely to slot into the new roles in the proposed new structure). This will be having a disproportionately negative impact on the apparent profitability of catering at Senate House. Overtime should be stopped immediately to see what effect this would have on profits. Again, such a change should be monitored for several months.
  • As mentioned above, as part of its flagship ‘Programme Beveridge’ the University of London is creating a large new staff café in the basement of Senate House. It has already been confirmed that this café will be managed and staffed by Aramark. Building work is already ongoing and is scheduled to be complete in April 2017. The three staff who do not fit into the proposed new structure should be retained in their roles until this café is opened, at which point they can be offered roles there.

IWGB believes that the above is overwhelming evidence that there is no need for any redundancies among Aramark staff at the University of London site.

IWGB calls on Aramark to halt these proposed redundancies immediately.

IWGB calls on the University of London to step in publicly, to prevent its collusion in the discriminatory practices against ethnic minority staff on its site and against the attempted constructive dismissal of a longstanding member of staff.

UoL cafe and hospitality staff face redundancy — November 16, 2016

UoL cafe and hospitality staff face redundancy

index.jpgUPDATE: If you would like to help Aramark staff facing redundancy this Christmas, please write a letter of objection to University Pro-Vice Chancellor of Operations Chris Cobb (Chris.Cobb@london.ac.uk)and Vivienne Shinner of Aramark (Shinner-Vivienne@aramark.co.uk) and sign our petition on the 38 Degrees website – https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/stop-aramark-redundancies-UoL.

Suggested email – please adapt!

I am writing to express my concern about the planned redundancies among Aramark staff at the University.

I understand that the reason given for this is that hospitality revenues have been falling – and yet at the same time new zero-hours staff are being taken on, which suggests instead that this is an attempt to get rid of staff on full-time contracts.

In addition new catering outlets are due to open as part of Programme Beveridge early next year. It would seem sensible to defer this restructure until then, allowing staff to be relocated and avoiding redundancies.

I must say that in an increasingly faceless world of customer service I really value seeing my colleagues at the North Block café each morning.

Aramark, the company to which the University of London outsources its catering, has announced plans for a restructure which will lead to at least three staff being made redundant.

Staff have been told that this has come about at the request of the Conference Office due to falling conference revenues and a desire to cut costs.

However, no details have yet been provided, and many fear that Aramark are using this as an opportunity to shed the few remaining staff on permanent contracts, to be replaced by workers on the zero-hour contracts which are the norm for this notoriously cost-cutting company.

The IWGB has written to Aramark and to the Conference Office, and is determined to fight on behalf of members, several of whom have been at the University for many years and who are justifiably extremely concerned at the prospect of imminent redundancy.

These redundancies are particularly unnecessary given that the University and Aramark will be opening a new cafe as part Programme Beveridge next spring / summer.

As part of our campaign to stop these cuts, we are calling on all staff to contact Conference Office head Charlie Vernon (charlie.vernon@london.ac.uk) and ask him to reconsider his decision and find an alternative that avoids redundancies.

University of London to pay new London Living Wage rate of £9.75 an hour — November 10, 2016

University of London to pay new London Living Wage rate of £9.75 an hour

london-living-wage-nov-2016
Sadiq Khan announces the new London Living Wage

The IWGB has had confirmation from the University of London that all staff, in-house and contracted, will receive at least the new London Living Wage of £9.75 an hour.

The increase will be effective from 1 November, and marks a rise of 35p per hour from the previous £9.40 rate – an increase of about 3.7%.

The IWGB is pressing to have this increase also applied to supervisory staff, to ensure that differentials are maintained.

We are determined to continue to fight for improvements in the terms and conditions for the most vulnerable staff at the University – please do get in touch with catherine.morrissey@iwgb.co.uk if you are not being paid the LLW, or if you have any other questions.

We will also be pressurising other nearby Universities to ensure they follow suit.

 

IWGB on Radio 4 last week! — November 3, 2016

IWGB on Radio 4 last week!

indexIWGB General Secretary and University of London branch member Jason Moyer-Lee was on the Today programme last Saturday talking about the Uber ruling.

It’s great publicity for the union, and also for our own IWGB Couriers court case, which is extremely similar to the Uber one.

Have a listen from 1 hour 13 minutes in. There’s a funny bit where the expert from the Brighton thinktank talks about the need for a ‘third category’ of worker, and Jason points out that this category already exists, and that’s exactly what the court case is about!

Radio 4 interview with Jason Moyer-Lee after Uber decision.

Victory for the ‘NO’ campaign – IWGB wins chance to negotiate new deal for staff —

Victory for the ‘NO’ campaign – IWGB wins chance to negotiate new deal for staff

photo 1If you haven’t already seen them, please click here for the ICE ballot results. It’s a ‘no’ from the staff!

The University’s proposals to exclude IWGB have been rejected by roughly 55% of those who voted, just as they have been twice rejected by the UK courts. This means that we’ll be returning to the negotiating table with the aim of improving staff consultation here in a meaningful way – which is what we have been proposing all along!

We’d like to say thank you to everyone who took part in the ballot, however you voted. It’s great that so many people are engaging with staff consultation – it was always our aim to get more people involved and we hope to be able to follow through on that in the weeks to come.

Our campaign for a ‘no’ vote was always about inclusiveness, openness and transparency, and the suggestions we’ve made throughout the consultation process to achieve these aims have been perfectly reasonable. So, hopefully we can now engage in mature and constructive dialogue with those who campaigned for a ‘yes’ vote in order to come to an arrangement that excludes no one and is genuinely in the best interests of all staff. With good will, good faith and a willingness on all sides to compromise it should easily be possible to come up with a new deal that means all groups of staff are properly represented in future.

Please do get in touch with any suggestions, comments or questions at all.

Very best wishes,

Mark (mark.murphy@sas.ac.uk) and Rebecca (rebecca.dooley@london.ac.uk)

Watch our video: ‘What is the ICE ballot all about’ — October 10, 2016
Staff Ballot opens 17 October – Have Your Say! — October 6, 2016

Staff Ballot opens 17 October – Have Your Say!

temper-tantrum-cartoon
The ICE negotiations didn’t go quite the way we’d hoped…

We’re posting this to update you on what’s been happening in the ICE negotiations, which have now ended, and to ask for your support in the next step!

Nearly two years ago the IWGB submitted a request to the University of London for an Information and Consultation (ICE) Forum, based on the ICE Regulations 2004.  We did this because many people were dissatisfied with the current arrangements, in which only UCU and UNISON are formally consulted on behalf of all staff.

The University responded by agreeing with UNISON and UCU that only their reps would have a hand in designing the new forum.  The IWGB argued that deal was unlawful.  We won the argument in court, twice.

Following the tribunal decision, the University held proper elections.  Grades 1-6 elected two IWGB reps.  Grades 7-10 elected two UCU reps and one UNISON rep.  The reps’ role was to negotiate an agreement whereby the University would inform and consult staff in compliance with the legislation.

Rebecca and I negotiated in good faith.  To seek common ground, we suggested that a reformed union recognition agreement, in which all three unions would be represented, could work.  We all made a number of positive suggestions for how it might function.

As UNISON, UCU and the UoL weren’t keen on IWGB recognition, we made a second proposal: to create a new ICE Forum constituted on the employee side entirely by elected staff reps.

However, at the final meeting last week we were asked to vote on a joint UNISON/UCU/UoL proposal, written up by Kim Frost.  The proposal was to reform the recognition agreement along the lines of our suggestions BUT to exclude the IWGB entirely.  Because UNISON/UCU have 3 reps and IWGB only have 2, the proposal passed by a 3-2 majority.

We believe that a proposal that excludes level 1-6 staff’s chosen union is divisive, unjust and counterproductive to good workplace relations.  The good news is that the proposal was not passed unanimously, so you now have the power to overturn it.

We are therefore asking for your support for a NO vote in the coming referendum (which opens 17 October and closes 28 October), which will enable us to return to the negotiating table and work out a solution that is fair to ALL staff at the University of London.

Please do let us know any thoughts or feedback you may have (uol@iwgb.org.uk)

Mark Murphy and Rebecca Dooley (Levels 1-6 Negotiating Reps)

Kingdom threatens to sue IWGB for highlighting failure to pay cleaners at Royal College of Music —

Kingdom threatens to sue IWGB for highlighting failure to pay cleaners at Royal College of Music

kingdom
Not sure that the logo designers really fulfilled their brief here…

In a bizarre attempt to transfer responsibility for their own incompetence, Kingdom (the company to whom the Royal College of Music, the Royal College of Art and Heythrop College outsource their cleaning services) has threatened legal action against the IWGB after we brought to the attention of college senior management their failure to pay some cleaners for  two weeks.

The sorry saga began on 23 September, when IWGB members at the colleges reported that they had either not been paid, or had been paid only a fraction of their normal wages.

Mistakes happen – and so we assumed that all we would need to do would be flag up the issue and it would be resolved.

Instead, two weeks later, and following innumerable complaints and emails from the IWGB, and complacent assurances from Kingdom, many workers have still not been properly paid.

This is a disaster for low-paid workers living from one wage packet to another – indeed, one of our members reported today that she will be evicted tomorrow if she does pay her rent.

However, rather than concentrate on paying their workers, or even answering our phone calls, leading Kingdom managers instead took umbrage at the IWGB’s email to RCA, RCM and Heythrop staff and started texting our General Secretary instead:

“Jason I hope we are the platform you desperately require.  I also hope that all information published is indeed factual as if there is just one anomoly [sic] we will be legally pursuing.”

Later, in an email mistakenly sent to all staff (and subsequently ‘recalled’) the same manager stated:

“Kingdom will act accordingly to uphold its reputation as a moral and ethical UK employer.”

Veiled threat or not, we would suggest that the best way to do this is to pay your staff.

The legal boot may in any case be on the other foot, as the IWGB has just written to HMRC presenting evidence of Kingdom being in breach of minimum wage legislation, as well as commencing an ET claim for unlawful deduction of wages.

Hasta la victoria siempre!

 

 

HE pay dispute latest – report from branch meeting — September 28, 2016

HE pay dispute latest – report from branch meeting

19000
Obviously it’s just a metaphor…

Thanks to everyone who came to the packed branch meeting last Friday! One of the main issues under discussion was pay, and this was an opportunity both to bring people up to date and to see what members wanted to do next.

For those who weren’t there, the basic situation is this

  • the current NATIONAL pay offer is 1.1% – this has NOT been accepted, but the University has decided to start paying it anyway
  • the IWGB has voted YES to strike action
  • UNISON voted YES to strike action, but on such a low turnout that they have decided NOT to strike
  • UCU still have a LIVE strike ballot, and are currently meeting at a national level to decide what to do next.

The meeting decided quite sensibly that we would be guided by the UCU decision – if they called strike action so would we, BUT we would not strike on our own.

As soon as we hear we’ll send updates – but do get in touch at uol@iwgb.org.uk with any questions.

Response to IWGB open letter from Julie Screaton —

Response to IWGB open letter from Julie Screaton

See below for the full text of a reply from Director Julie Screaton to Jason’s letter of 8 September regarding the Health Education England job cuts

Dear Mr Moyer-Lee

RE: Response to IWGB open letter (8th September 2016)

We note the open letter posted on your website on 8th September 2016 regarding the proposed restructure of the Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education (PGMDE) support functions for London and the South East. I understand that you represent a trade union that is not recognised by the NHS nor the University of London although I am aware that you have some members within the team who are affected by this change

The NHS is changing how it delivers care to the population of this country. Our ambition is to improve services closer to peoples’ homes and to radically improve prevention to reduce demand on services and improve the health of the nation. To help enable the NHS to successfully transform in this way means we have to deliver the services that administer the support for training and recruitment in the most efficient way possible to allow us to increase the amount of funding we provide for doctors, nurses and other NHS staff to deliver better care. This is part of the wider challenge for the NHS to ensure resources are being used in the most effective way for the delivery of frontline care to patients and communities.

The London and Kent, Surrey and Sussex (KSS) post graduate medical and dental education teams came together in Stewart House at the end of 2015 to create the Healthcare Education Team (HET). This coming together of the teams was an important step in creating a more efficient and cost effective support function to our Post Graduate Deans who oversee the training of 16,000 junior doctors. The London team had worked hard to digitise thousands of papers records to save space. This enabled us to move the KSS team from expensive offices in London Bridge into Stewart House, saving thousands of pounds in rent. Together, the two teams under new leadership have invested months in reviewing their business processes to reduce duplication and save time. Our ability to become more efficient was supported further by the fact that London was the last PGMDE office in England to introduce the intrepid computer system already in place across the rest of HEE, having in place 20 year old technology that was no longer fit for purpose.

The consultation on the proposed changes within the PGMDE team ended on 7th September 2016 and no decisions have yet been made. Engagement with our staff has been ongoing for months and will continue. This along with strong partnership working with our recognised trade unions, notably UNISON, is critical to ensuring we develop better ways of working to improve how the team works, the service we provide to doctors in training and releases resources to the front line of the NHS. Any decision we make on the future structure of the teams will take full account of the impact on our staff and stakeholders, including the minimisation of compulsory redundancies.

Yours sincerely

Julie Screaton
Director

Staff ballot soon – have your say! —

Staff ballot soon – have your say!

voteAfter months of negotiating to try and improve information and consultation of employees at the University, yesterday was the final meeting between the five staff negotiating reps and the University.

In the end, the three representatives from Unison and UCU used their majority to vote through a proposal about information and consultation of staff which the IWGB reps rejected as it does not increase representation for ALL employees one bit!

All of our suggestions were accepted, except the key point: that everyone should be allowed to participate in the new ICE forum on an equal basis. The University and the other three representatives have decided that Unison and UCU alone will represent all staff. No other representatives will be allowed into the forum, even as observers.

This final proposal was actually written by University management, not by staff representatives. It’s fairly obvious that a proposal written by the employer doesn’t represent the best deal for staff! Unsurprisingly, it’s pretty much exactly the same as the old consultation arrangements, with some window dressing. The range of voices the University will hear isn’t being expanded at all.

In these negotiations we did everything we could to compromise in order to get a forum that would increase staff participation in a meaningful way. We put forward two different proposals which didn’t exclude anyone, thus extending information and consultation without undermining Unison and UCU’s current position as recognised unions.

However, there is hope! Because the negotiating representatives didn’t agree unanimously, the University’s proposal still has to be ratified by you! It will therefore be put to a ballot in the coming weeks. If you reject it, the University and the staff negotiating representatives will have to get back around the table and negotiate a deal that is fairer to everyone.

You have the power to help us make this change! We’ll be campaigning over the next few weeks, and we will be hoping for your support. We do believe a negotiated solution is possible if you give us a mandate to keep pushing.

Ballot results out – IWGB members vote YES to strike action! — September 21, 2016

Ballot results out – IWGB members vote YES to strike action!

The results of the strike ballot over the current pay offer are in, and we can report that the vote was as follows:

Are you prepared to take strike action?

Yes: 66% No: 34%

Are you prepared to take industrial action short of a strike?

Yes: 85.4% No: 14.6%

Turnout was a very respectable 50%, especially given the shortness of the balloting period and the fact that a few members didn’t get them in time!

(In other news, the national HE ballot by UNISON on pay was announced this week – roughly 55% voted YES).

We need to decide at this week’s branch meeting whether we will now proceed with strike action given this mandate. Any strike action will coincide with national UNISON / UCU action.

It’s vital we get feedback from everyone, so please make a special effort to come – 12.30pm, Friday 23 September, IHR Lower Mezzanine Room, 3rd Floor Senate House – come to 3rd floor reception and we’ll come find you, or give Danny a call on 07783719479 if you get lost!

 

 

Read HEE staff member Joseph Parrott’s letter to local MP Keir Starmer — September 15, 2016

Read HEE staff member Joseph Parrott’s letter to local MP Keir Starmer

IWGB member and HEE employee Joseph Parrott has written to local MP Keir Starmer to request his help in the ongoing campaign against the HEE cuts – see Joe’s full letter below.

Dear Sir Starmer

My name is Joseph Parrott and I am currently working at Stewart House, Russell Square in your constituency. I work for Health Education England (HEE), the organisation responsible for the recruitment and training administration of junior doctors. We have recently finished a consultation period where HEE are proposing to cut 41% of staff members. The scale of these cuts could seriously jeopardise patient safety, junior doctors rotas are already at crisis point, and cutting the people responsible for administrating their training and recruitment is only going to further exacerbate the problem. No risk or equality assessments have been carried out so it is impossible to tell how these cuts are going to affect the service that we provide. We are already working at close to full capacity and management are at this moment having to hire temporary staff to cope with the next phase of implementation.

Please see 2 links below to 2 separate responses from Trade Unions that represent staff members at HEE and spells out in more detail the concerns that staff members hold.

https://iwgb.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/pgmdeconsultationfeedback1.pdf

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwiuK2beH7CBdXFUbkZUOHlPeFU/view

I am currently involved in a campaign to stop these cuts and we were hoping to gain your support with this. Would you be willing to do any of the following in support of our campaign?

–          Release a press release stating your opposition to the cuts.

–          Tweet in support of the campaign

–          Submit questions regarding HEE cuts to the Oral Health Questions in parliament.

I understand that you must be very busy and I would be more than happy to draft any of the above if you or your office does not have time to do this.

These cuts are facing London and the South East so I am planning on writing to all MPs whose constituents will be affected by these cuts. I have also written to my own local MP Chuka Umunna.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Joseph Parrott

ICE Forum – Important Update! — September 12, 2016

ICE Forum – Important Update!

photo 1
They were laughing then. Four meetings later suddenly things don’t seem so funny…

As you know, we’ve been trying to negotiate better information and consultation for all staff for months now, having spent over a year forcing the University to accept that things have to change. Staff in Levels 1-6 especially have clearly expressed that they don’t feel properly consulted about what goes on here and have twice voted for IWGB reps to represent them in trying to get a better deal.  Staff in Levels 7-10 are represented by reps from UNISON and UCU.

Our job is to negotiate what the forum for information and consultation would be like. We’ve met regularly with the University and put forward detailed proposals and constructive ideas to make sure that everyone can be fully involved, and we’ve kept you updated about this as we promised at the start.

The good news is that all negotiating reps and the University agreed with nearly all of the ideas we suggested.  Principally, we have proposed that the appropriate forum is a reformed JNCC which has an online portal, allows staff to submit agenda items, minutes and reports back on the meetings properly and runs open meetings for staff.  The only difference in our positions is that the University, UNISON, and UCU don’t want the IWGB to be a full member of this forum, instead relegating your reps to mere “observer” status.  Obviously we cannot accept a forum where the union Levels 1-6 have chosen to represent them has inferior status so in an effort to reach consensus we have proposed a second option: to establish a separate forum for information and consultation, constituted on the employee side by 4 reps for Levels 1-6 and 4 for Levels 7-10, all democratically elected (see the attached for details).

If the University and Levels 7-10 reps ram through their preferred option despite our protestations and offer of an alternative, then by law the option would have to be put to a vote of all University staff.  We think this would be costly, time-consuming, and easily avoided.  However we will continue to push for a fully functional and participative forum in which Levels 1-6 have an equal seat at the table.  This is what you have elected us to do.

The next meeting is this Friday – please let us know any thoughts or questions by emailing rebecca.dooley@london.ac.uk.

IWGB President Henry Chango Lopez challenges University of London over worsened terms and conditions on new outsourced worker contracts — September 8, 2016

IWGB President Henry Chango Lopez challenges University of London over worsened terms and conditions on new outsourced worker contracts

'I like to think my workers THRIVE in an intolerable working environment.'

It has come to the IWGB’s attention that new employees of Cordant and Nurture are being employed on statutory minimum terms and conditions.

We wrote to the Vice-Chancellor and received a reassurance that this was not the case, but having looked into the matter further it is clear that either the University is lying, or it is ignorant of what its own contractors are up to!

See below for Kim Frost’s reply to our original email, and Henry’s response…

If you are on, or know of anyone on, a contract at the University of London which only offers statutory minimum holidays and sick pay let Henry know immediately at henrychangolopez@iwgb.org.uk.

Dear Kim

Many thanks for your reply, and for your confirmation that the University is committed to maintaining the enhanced sick pay and annual leave allowances for outsourced staff.

I would like, however, to flag up three major issues with this.

Firstly, there is no need for an ‘appropriate qualifying period’ before new permanent staff ‘transfer’ to the enhanced allowances.

The Cofely contract which included the enhanced allowances makes provision for a qualifying period – it stipulates that staff qualify for more holidays / more sick leave depending on service.

This is the same as a University of London contract, and is normal practice. It does not make sense to say that staff will be issued with one contract when they commence employment, and then be given a new contract x months later – nor does this provide any guarantee to the employee that this second contract will in fact be supplied.

Secondly, as you will see from the attached contract, which has been issued to a permanent Cordant employee on the University of London contract, you will see that in practice NO MENTION is made of the enhanced allowances (indeed, the contract is of questionable legality full-stop, omitting as it does information relating to pay rates, holidays and sick leave; for these latter two, it simply refers employees to a ‘handbook’).

In other words, Cordant are employing staff on the University of London contract on statutory minimum terms and conditions.

Either the University is aware of this, in which case it is in breach of the commitments you express below, or it is not, in which case Cordant is in breach of its contract with the University.

Thirdly, you will doubtless be aware that Nurture have taken over the landscaping contract. Staff in this area were previously on Cofely contracts with enhanced sick pay and annual leave allowances, but new staff working for Nurture here at the University of London have also been issued with statutory minimum contracts.

This is clearly unacceptable, and unless within a week from today we are given a clear commitment that this situation will be investigated and rectified immediately, we will have no option but to publicise the fact that the University of London’s actions are drastically different from their public boasts.

Best wishes

 

Henry Chango Lopez

President

IWGB

http://iwgb.org.uk/
—– Original Message —–

From:

“Kim Frost” <Kim.Frost@london.ac.uk>

 

To:

henrychangolopez@iwgb.org.uk” <henrychangolopez@iwgb.org.uk>

Cc:

“Vice Chancellor” <Vice-Chancellor@london.ac.uk>, “s.beaumont@nabarro.com” <s.beaumont@nabarro.com>, “emma.burns@rbs.com” <emma.burns@rbscom>, “Steven.Fogel@eu.kwm.com” <Steven.Fogel@eu.kwm.com>, “mark.storey@alcuincapital.com” <mark.storey@alcuincapital.com>, “jane.andrewartha@clydeco.com” <jane.andrewartha@clydeco.com>, “david.latchman@ucl.ac.uk” <david.latchman@ucl.ac.uk>, “master@bbk.ac.uk” <master@bbk.ac.uk>, “r.carter@bbk.ac.uk” <r.carter@bbk.ac.uk>, “principal@qmul.ac.uk” <principal@qmul.ac.uk>, “Paul.Layzell@rhul.ac.uk” <Paul.Layzell@rhul.ac.uk>, “principal@rvc.ac.uk” <principal@rvc.ac.uk>, “Kim Frost” <Kim.Frost@london.ac.uk>, “Chris.palmer@cordantservices.com” <Chris.palmer@cordantservices.com>, “lee.smith@cordantservices.com” <lee.smith@cordantservices.com>, “jasonmoyer-lee@iwgb.co.uk” <jasonmoyer-lee@iwgb.co.uk>, “agata.torres@cordantservices.com” <agata.torres@cordantservices.com>

Sent:

Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:39:22 +0000

Subject:

Cordant – new contracts of employment
Dear Mr Lopez,

 

The Vice-Chancellor has asked me to reply to your email of 16 August.

 

All permanent staff working for Cordant on the University of London contract are entitled to the same enhanced sick pay and annual leave allowances as the existing staff who were recently transferred to them under TUPE from our former contractor.

 

I understand that all new permanent employees on the University of London contract will be offered employment on a standard Cordant contract and after the appropriate qualifying period will then be given the enhanced T&Cs, including enhanced sick pay and annual leave entitlement. This matches the practice under the previous Cofely contract.

 

Casual summer season cleaning staff employed for a fixed period have always under the previous Cofely contract been employed on statutory T&Cs and this will continue.

 

I hope this reassures you that the employment practices of our contractors have not changed and that the terms and conditions offered remain very competitive.

 

With best wishes

 

Kim Frost

Director of Human Resources

University of London

Stewart House

32 Russell Square

London

WC1B 5DN

Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8029    Web: www.london.ac.uk

Open letter regarding planned job cuts at Health Education England —

Open letter regarding planned job cuts at Health Education England

cumming
Ian Cumming, looking unfazed…

Please find below a letter from IWGB General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee to HEE Chief Executive Ian Cumming

Dear Professor Cumming

My name is Jason Moyer-Lee, and I am writing in my capacity as General Secretary of the IWGB trade union.

As you know, yesterday marked the end of the consultation period for HEE PGMDE staff over a proposed restructure which if introduced will see a 41% head count reduction.

Over the last 6 weeks it has become clear what an unmitigated and unnecessary disaster these proposals represent. Each day new stories emerge of the shortage of doctors and dentists. The continuing junior doctors dispute is already massively disrupting this year’s recruitment. And yet you have chosen this moment for a 41% cut in staff, predicated on the introduction of barely tested technology and ill-defined new working structures.

I say chosen because the most astonishing thing is that this has not been forced upon you. Most NHS Chief Executives, when asked by the Secretary of State to make 30% budget cuts by 2020, would have vehemently argued the case for their organisation and its funding. You decided instead to implement the cuts by March 2017, and to weight them so that the impact fell disproportionately on frontline staff.

Let me therefore be clear – if these proposals go ahead, they will have a calamitous impact on HEE employees, NHS trainees and patient safety. And you will be held publicly accountable for this.

This process has already begun. The IWGB is a small union, albeit one with a rapidly growing membership in HEE. However, as those who witnessed our 3 Cosas campaign at the University of London will testify, we are capable of making plenty of noise. We have campaigned vociferously against these cuts from the outset, and will continue to gather signatures, alert stakeholders and protest at recruitment events. Should it come to industrial action we will back staff all the way.

Rest assured that this campaign will continue until any plans for compulsory redundancies are dropped. Now is the time to step back from the precipice and stand up to Mr Hunt. You can fight for a reasonable funding settlement for HEE and avoid being remembered as the man who destroyed NHS education – and we will be right behind you.

Best wishes

 

Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee

General Secretary

IWGB

Response to Kim Frost pay implementation email — September 7, 2016

Response to Kim Frost pay implementation email

frost
Director of Human Resources Kim Frost looking pleased with the ‘generous’ pay offer of 1.1%

Our branch secretary Catherine Morrissey has responded to the earlier email from KIm Frost re the implementation of this year’s pay award.

See her email, and Kim’s below:

Hi all,

You may have noticed it’s the annual ‘attempt to disrupt HE pay strikes’ email from Kim!

It now seems a permanent fixture of the HE pay negotiations that the employers make an insultingly low offer, unions object, the employers increase their offer by an even more insulting amount (this year the figure is 0.1%) and rush to ‘implement’ this generous increase in the hopes that employees will be fooled into thinking that’s that.

Well, not this year!

Don’t let Kim’s email fool you – the pay dispute is not over, and action can get us a better offer! None of the unions have accepted the offer of 1.1%, so the pay dispute is still live.

If we want more, we have to push for it – so please, vote yes for strike and return your ballot papers straight away!

If anyone hasn’t received a ballot paper yet, please contact me or Danny for help.

Thanks!

Catherine

Catherine Morrissey

Secretary, University of London IWGB
https://iwgb.wordpress.com/

 

Dear all,

 

I am writing to update you on the outcome of this year’s pay negotiations.

 

The University and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA) made a final pay offer providing a 1.1% increase on base pay at points 8 and above, with more on lower points, at the end of April and the dispute procedure of the national negotiations concluded in mid-May.

 

We believe that this is a fair final pay offer; it exceeds inflation, compares favourably with pay awards elsewhere and rightly targets larger increases to those on the lower pay rates. We have therefore accepted the recommendation of UCEA that institutions should now implement the award. The final pay offer is available here.

 

I am therefore writing to let you know that we will be implementing the award of 1.1%, with more on points below point 8, in September pay and backdated to 1 August.

 

Best wishes,

 

 

Kim Frost

Director of Human Resources

University of London

Stewart House

32 Russell Square

London

WC1B 5DN

Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8029    Web: www.london.ac.uk

Freedom of information requests submitted to Health Education England — September 5, 2016

Freedom of information requests submitted to Health Education England

freedom-of-informationIWGB members and other affected staff have submitted a series of Freedom of Information requests to Health Education England as a result of the ongoing PGMDE consultation process whereby 41% of staff stand to lose their jobs.

The requests, which are due responses in the next couple of weeks, are below. We hope you will agree that they are questions well worth asking, and that the responses should be extremely interesting!

If you would like to submit an FOI yourself, just contact hee.foia@nhs.net.

Under the Freedom of Information Act can you provide how much HEE London and Kent Surrey and Sussex (KSS) spent on agency staff in the financial year 2015/16?

Under the Freedom of Information Act can you provide the equality impact assessments HEE London and the South East have carried out in relation to their current restructuring proposals?

Under the Freedom of Information Act I would like to request the expense that the new IT Systems for HEE London and the South East is estimated to cost after all new systems have been implemented?

Under the Freedom of Information Act I would like to request evidence that the proposed 41% headcount staff reduction at HEE London and the South East will improve the service that the organisation delivers.  

Under the Freedom of Information Act can you provide the contingency plan that HEE London and the South East have in place if the new structure that they are proposing results in a deterioration of the service that the department provides?

Under the Freedom of Information Act can you provide the rationale for reaching 30% cost savings by April 2017 when the organisation is not required to make these savings until 2020?

Under the Freedom of Information Act can you provide the rationale for implementing cost savings for HEE London and the South East first rather than any other HEE region?

Under the Freedom of Information Act can you provide risk assessments that have been undertaken by HEE London and the South East on the impact the new proposed structure will have on patient safety?

Under the Freedom of Information Act can you state exactly which external stakeholders you have informed of the ongoing consultation and expected 41% headcount reduction in staff?

Could Health Education England disclose all relevant emails, meeting minutes and other information relating to the decision which led to Ian Cumming’s letter to the Trust Chief Executives dated 15 February 2016 (https://www.hee.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/documents/IC%20Letter%20to%20Chief%20Executives_150216.pdf)?

Ballot papers are out – please vote YES! — September 4, 2016

Ballot papers are out – please vote YES!

ballotAttention all University of London members! Ballot papers are being posted out to your homes today over this year’s ridiculously low pay offer. Please vote as soon as you can!

This is the sixth consecutive year of low-ball offers, meaning in real terms our pay is going down. The employers’ offer is an ‘increase’ of 1.1%, although all unions had made a claim for 5% to make up for previous years and many vice chancellors enjoyed average rises of 5–6% last year. HE institutions have plenty of money – they just don’t want to spend it on staff pay.

We know our members feel strongly about this, so we need a good, strong result to show the employers that we mean business. Please vote yes to strike action over pay!

Your ballot paper includes two possible modes of action: strike and action short of strike (which would be things like refusing to stay late or do things not in your JD). Please vote yes for both. This gives us more options when it comes to taking action.

A full-day walkout is the most likely, as we aim to support similar actions that will be taken by the other HE unions (also balloting now). If we all act together, we can make a show of force to make the employers think again!

Please vote yes for action – a strong result in the ballot is vital to show that we want a better pay deal and we’re prepared to fight for it!

As always, any questions or comments, please feel free to email Catherine – catherine.morrissey@london.ac.uk.

Health Education England staff issue demands as consultation period nears end — August 31, 2016

Health Education England staff issue demands as consultation period nears end

nhs-nye-bevanHealth Education England (HEE) employees, based in Stewart House at the University of London and involved in the current consultation process, which threatens to reduce posts by 41% among staff who recruit and train junior doctors, have issued a series of key demands.

  • No compulsory redundancies.
  • Current staff to be retained to oversee transition to new technologies.
  • No selection process.
  • Full risk assessment audit to be conducted.
  • Full equality impact assessment to be conducted.

The consultation period closes on the 7th of September, and it is clear that HEE management have been shaken by the degree of opposition to their plans (a petition against them already has nearly 500 signatures), which would see the workforce cut by more than two-fifths on the back of plans which some staff have described as ‘back-of-an-envelope stuff’.

‘It’s astonishing that such a massive decision,with such potential catastrophic effects on doctor numbers and patient safety, should have been made with no proper risk assessment’, said one employee, who did not wish to be named for fear that this would count against them in the forthcoming selection process.

Over 10,000 trainees are currently looked after by just 180 staff – but this number is set to fall to just 111 if the proposals are adopted.

Health Education England claim that these cuts have been forced on them by reductions in the NHS Education budget – but while other regions are delaying implementation until 2020, the London Region have set March 2017 as the date by which the new structure will take effect.

The IWGB is fully supporting its members as well as other affected staff. One member told us: ‘We have to fight this. London is being used as a guinea pig – if they get away with it here, the same cuts will happen across the rest of the country’.

Staff plan to target stakeholders such as the British Medical Association as part of their campaign, and have not ruled out strike action.

For further information please contact Danny at dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk.

 

UOL IWGB issues notice of ballot over pay dispute — August 26, 2016

UOL IWGB issues notice of ballot over pay dispute

UoLIWGBBallotPaperThe IWGB today notified the University of London that it would be formally balloting its members for strike action as part of the ongoing pay dispute.

The current pay offer is a desultory 1.1%, well below the national average.

Members should receive a ballot at the end of next week – please email uol@iwgb.org.uk if you don’t – and we urge you to vote YES to strike action. We have received an effective cut in income of 14.5% since 2009, and the branch believes that only by withdrawing our labour can we demonstrate what it is worth.

We have been in consultation with other unions, so should the ballot be positive any strike action will take place in conjunction with UCU and UNISON, probably at the start of October.

You will need to return the ballot by 20 September! More info to follow!

Campaign against HEE cuts continues — August 24, 2016

Campaign against HEE cuts continues

IWGB members and supporters were out leafleting this lunchtime outside University College Hospital, as we continue our campaign against the proposed 41% cuts to PGMDE staff at Health Education England.

We got plenty of support, and loads more signatures on our petition against the cuts, which has now been signed by more than 400 people – https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-job-cuts-at-health-education-england.

We will have a full update on campaign plans on Friday at the monthly branch meeting so please come along and find out how you can help!

Any questions please email danny.millum@sas.ac.uk .

Sign the petition to stop HEE cuts! — August 16, 2016