IWGB has written to RCM on behalf of members who are deeply concerned about plans by the College, and Tenon FM, to cut cleaners’ hours in half. The text of the letter is below – If you’ve got any questions or concerns, get in touch with Danny.

Dear Professor Lawson

I am writing on behalf of IWGB members who work as cleaners at the RCM and have recently transferred via TUPE to a new cleaning company, Tenon FM.

When Tenon took over the contract, they immediately and illegally started telling workers that their hours would be changed and reduced. It was only following a challenge from the IWGB that they paused this process.

However in the last week these workers have been called in for 1-1 ‘consultations’ and told that the original proposals will now be implemented.

These proposals are unbelievably ridiculous and draconian – each employee’s work will be halved AND their hours will be changed (which is disastrous for many workers as these new hours clash with other jobs).

Tenon claim that these proposals have originated from the RCM, hence we are writing to you directly.

These are employees of long-standing, who have faithfully served the College for more than 5 years in many cases, and who are already underpaid, in that they work unsociable hours for no additional recompense.

The Royal College of Music’s most recent accounts state that it made a surplus of £2.3m – so there is no financial justification whatsoever for these changes, which will reduce the hours and income of these already low-paid vulnerable night workers by 50% and force through a change of hours which will further adversely affect them.

Unless we receive confirmation by Thursday 19 October that these plans are being abandoned, the IWGB will immediately:

  • ballot our members for industrial action
  • commence a campaign to publicise the Royal College of Music’s Actions via leafletting, protests, social media, press, television and radio (see our website for our previous such campaigns)
  • take the appropriate legal action against Tenon and the RCM

Can you also confirm how this decision was taken, whether other workers will be involved, and who else will be affected?

Rest assured – unless this process is halted, the RCM will suffer massive and deserved reputational damage and its treatment of its most vulnerable workers will be brought to the attention of stakeholders, students, staff and potential donors.

Best wishes

Danny Millum

Branch Secretary

University of London IWGB

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