Questions raised by IWGB over pension implications for UoL HEE staff — September 19, 2018

Questions raised by IWGB over pension implications for UoL HEE staff

Following recent reports that the UoL is considering transferring staff to HEE, the IWGB has flagged up various issues – including that of pensions…see below for full correspondence and ask Danny (dannymillum@iwgb.co.uk) if you have any questions:

Dear Simon

Thanks for getting back to me, and sorry myself for this slightly delayed response. I note that you should now have met with HEE HR, and look forward to hearing more.

I am sure this will have been covered in your discussions, but I wanted to flag up the issue of pensions.

Staff have essentially been assured that there are no plans as yet to transfer them to HEE, and if they are transferred they will keep their UoL terms and conditions (as per TUPE).

However, we are not clear as to whether this would cover pensions. My experience of TUPE is limited to transfers to and between outsourcing companies, but in these instances the pension scheme does NOT transfer.

Can you therefore confirm that should HEE staff currently employed by UoL be TUPE’d to HEE, they would not just retain their terms and conditions, but also membership of the SAUL / USS pension scheme?

Best wishes

Danny

From: Simon Cain
Sent: 10 September 2018 17:10
To: Danny Millum <Danny.Millum@sas.ac.uk>; Elaine Walters <Elaine.Walters@sas.ac.uk>

Subject: RE: TUPE transfer of HEE staff – URGENT

Dear Danny,

I would first like to apologise for the delay in providing you with a response.

I will be meeting with my HR counterpart from Health Education England (HEE) on 18th September, after which I hope to be in a position to comment further on this matter as it relates to the University’s obligations under the ICE regulations.

In the meantime, I note that you have been forwarded a communication issued on behalf of HEE and UNISON, which clarifies that there is currently no discussion underway to transfer UoL HEE staff onto AfC contracts.

On a final note, I would like to reassure you that in that event that there is a transfer of staff, myself and my HEE counterparts, are fully aware of our respective obligations under the TUPE regulations.  The University would of course also ensure it complies with its obligations under the ICE Regulations.

Best wishes,

Simon

From: Danny Millum
Sent: 09 September 2018 19:08

Dear Simon

I have still not had a reply to the email below – would you be able to get back to me as a matter of some urgency?

I understand that you have confirmed to UNISON that even if a transfer of staff from UoL to HEE were to take place, staff would be able to retain their existing UoL terms and conditions.

I would like to clarify that this is in fact the legal position – that under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE), an employee’s terms and conditions of employment are protected when a business is transferred from one owner to another. In other words, it would be illegal for HEE to force staff onto AFC terms and conditions.

I would further note that that staff are still suffering the consequences of the massive workforce cuts implemented in 2016, and any suggestion that these staff should pay through worsened terms and conditions for an accounting error by HEE / UoL is completely unacceptable.

Best wishes

Danny

From: Danny Millum
Sent: 06 September 2018 11:29

Subject: TUPE transfer of HEE staff – URGENT
Importance: High

Dear Elaine and Simon

I understand that there are discussions underway to transfer UoL HEE staff onto AFC contracts.

Could you confirm full details of these plans if this is the case, and explain why these proposals have not been brought before the ICE forum in line with ICE Regulations?

This is a matter of some urgency so I would appreciate a response as soon as possible.

Best wishes

Danny

Danny Millum

IWGB ICE Representative

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First aid allowance — August 8, 2018

First aid allowance

One of the issues raised by IWGB representatives at the Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) forum at the end of July related to payments to first-aiders by the University of London (UoL).

It was pointed out that the allowance, which is currently £8.50 per month, has not increased for 15 years and is not in line with other organisations. Moreover, at the time of the meeting, it transpired that some first-aiders are not even being paid at all.

The university was asked to review this, and IWGB can now report that the human resources and organisational and staff development departments are looking into the issue. This includes a review of what other higher education institutions pay for such a role.

In the meantime, any first-aiders who are not getting paid for their duties or have any questions regarding back pay should email Elizabeth.Morcom@london.ac.uk.

Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) forum update — August 1, 2018

Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) forum update

Last Wednesday was the third meeting of the Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) forum.

HR’s official minutes will be posted on the intranet soon (with old ones kept here) but in the meantime, detailed notes taken by one of your IWGB staff reps is available here. It was a long meeting with lots of discussion, so edited highlights are below.

As always, please feel free to contact ICE representatives with any questions, comments or matters to raise next time.

With the exception of information about policies they’re updating, everything we’ve discussed so far has been originally raised by staff so it really does work. In particular, please do let us know your views on the issue of the London weighting debate being reopened as this has the potential to positively impact staff in all areas.

IN BRIEF – matters discussed 25.7.18

London weighting

IWGB reps raised that the final amount from the previous agreement will be paid in August but the issue can be re-opened because the London Living Wage rose by more than 6 per cent (it rose by 11.5 per cent).

There will be a JNCC meeting on 6 August about it but all staff cannot attend. We will push for another meeting on this – we want your views. We will continue to raise this and keep you posted.

Business World (BW)

It was noted that staff are not happy with the delivery of the system, although Ghazwa Alwani-Starr (GA-S), present in a managerial capacity, said her impression is that everyone in her department thinks it’s great.

Reasons cited for issues with BW were that UoL (University of London) had to move quickly from Northgate (old system) to Business World in a short period of time to deliver the basic requirements needed. Market was tested and apparently Agresso is the only thing that can deliver ‘what we need’.

A lot of work was done, especially on background functions, but did not have enough time. Also issues with ‘holes in the data’ inherited from Northgate.

Problems were particularly raised re Saturday working in the Library: system was unprepared for this. The manager responsible undertook to meet library employees to discuss.

Facilities Management services review

A robust discussion took place.

G Alwani-Starr reported that a revised customer services/security model will be put to the Board of Trustees (BoT) in November.

ICE reps noted this is irrelevant. What the workers want to know is when they will be treated equally. There is a deadline for that. If that is not met, their campaign continues. Every worker who was shown the Uni’s statement on this was uncomprehending or angry. Noted that UoL is taking completely the wrong approach to this.

GA-S responded that the BoT has stated they are concerned about charitable objects and return on investment.

IWGB ICE reps noted that workers in these fields weren’t always outsourced in the past so there is no contradiction with the university’s charity or business aims, just a return to the state of 15 years ago. Reps invited Board of Trustees to come to the ICE forum and discuss it if this is confusing.

Asbestos

A standing item after the re-discovery of asbestos that had supposedly been removed.

The asbestos management plan is being finalised and will go to Chair of Health and Safety committee for comments/approval soon.

Referrals should be made to Occupational Health for anyone concerned.

DM: Kim Frost promised for 6 months that he would provide us with history of how asbestos issue has been handled, and left before doing so. Asked for this to be supplied.

USS pensions reform

The ‘deficit’ has been revised already – from £17bn quoted before, now saying £8bn.

Nonetheless, a proposal will be put to staff to increase contributions from 8 per cent:18 per cent to 8.8 per cent members’ contributions, 19.5 per cent employers, followed by further increases.

Information will be on intranet and Q&A sessions for staff will be held in autumn.

Dignity at work policy

… has been finalised. Much discussion about whether or not it also applies to outsourced staff. To be confirmed by next meeting.

Family friendly policies

… are being reviewed, including redundancy policy. A full list of policies under review will be communicated and circulated for comment once finalised.

University to confirm whether these policies will apply to HEE staff on UoL contracts.

First aid policy

IWGB Reps raised that payments to first-aiders have not increased for 15 years and appear not to be in line with other organisations. Some first aiders are not even being paid at all. The university was asked to review this and report back.

SAS website costs

Quote is £0.25 million. EW confident we will not pay that amount.

Lower ground floor access

CW noted staff had enjoyed use of staircase briefly. GA-S said Deller Hall staircase will reopen soon.

 

Summary of 20 March ICE meeting — May 15, 2018

Summary of 20 March ICE meeting

ICE Forum report
20 March 2018
Wolfson 1, IHR

 

Introduction and apologies

Present representing University management:

Mark Newton, MD of CoSector

Mark Harrison, head of inclusion

Ghaz Alwani-Starr, director of Properties and Facilities Management (P&FM)

Reps’ Apologies: Marty (SAS), Lewis (HEE) and Angela (Finance)

(Jelony dialled in on phone)

 

Minutes from last meeting

No comments on the minutes.

Matters Arising:

  • Dignity at Work: in November 2017 policy was undertaken to be revised by April 2018, the working group was composed of MH, HR, UCU and Unison reps
    1. All new policy regarding harassment
    2. New policy regarding discipline
    3. New policy on student policy with regard to harassment
    4. A new relationship code of conduct for staff

Feedback (mostly positive, changed pronouns, extended it to HEE and CoSector) from individuals, UCU and Unison, SAS student reps and the committee fed in and policy was updated, so now awaiting final approval

student guidance will take longer for approval

DM: raised question of outsourced staff, asking if contractors will have to comply

GA-S: Yes, contractors have to adhere to the policies

TH: People need to understand that the University is going to apply this policy to past/historic situations and that needs to be communicated.

MH: Once the policies are signed off, that will be included

DM: raised question of how Stop messages work, pointing out the ambiguity in the policy and that messages can cause more difficulty in place of going straight to HR

MH: the policy is an informal route than can be taken by anyone, does not rely on Stop messages being done first; senior managers can be volunteered as dignity and respect representatives (as well as other levels), creating a number of routes for staff to decide

Joseph: Can it be shared with non-UoL employers who manage UoL staff?

CR: Yes

  • Holiday Allowances

DM: raised issue of grades and holiday leave as based on the HR-provided figures showing that gender and ethnicity are factors

MH: gaps have been identified and are indicative of this, just as with the Gender pay Gap; University recognises it is unacceptable and actions are being taken, see the Annual Report on the intranet. (It is monitored by senior management and an oversight committee)

TH: This is a historic request from unions: where can historic requests from unions be taken?

CM: staff do find it unjust and it is important issue to raise.

  • MFA

Thirteen complaints have been received, mostly from staff outside of the UK
The main worry was about the use of personal devices
Emergency overrides can be requested
Phones are available for use by those not wanting to use their own devices or who do not have their phones – available through the Service Desk

EW: The University’s handling of the launch was not great

  • Vacancies process

CR: Vacancies will remain open but HR will accept expressions of interest

TH: These vacancies need to be explained more on the Intranet to make them known

EW: there has been an expression of interest from one person in VC/HR area

  • HEE contracts

CR: this is not something the University has control over

Joseph: Asked about switching contracts when employees are promoted (from UoL onto agenda for change)

CR: Unknown

Communications

EW: read from her email sent 26 January 2018, asking not to use union tags, saying that ICE reps are individuals not union reps; these are not campaigning roles and are representing roles; representatives cannot carry out their role as they see fit; the University is not trying to limit ICE reps’ roles and are allowed to disagree when they see too much mention of unions

DM: disagrees, refers to his own email; the main issues concern what ICE representatives can do, also that staff cannot be intimidated; asked if senior managers can be advised of that. Also asked if the HR-provided mailing lists can be used by reps

CM: Questions how reps can’t carry out their roles as they see fit: there is nothing on this in the Regulations; the issue of confidentiality is only applied in certain cases. Important that staff know who to give feedback to and for staff to be kept informed; email restrictions can limit one’s role

EW: There is no preventing communicating

EM: disagree, inability to use HR-provided mailing list in all departments

TH: These are big issues, as he would like to share UCU links on pensions, as UCU has done so much work on the subject, so he is limited

MM: There was an opportunity to apply these restrictions when ICE was being formed and the University chose not to do so, so now that the restrictions are being attempted, they cannot be enforced as the time is past when they would have been agreed

JL: Agree with TH, can an accessible location for information be made?

CM: How can this be resolved? Senior managers should bring these issues up to the University for discussion in the forum not directly to representatives.

DM: There has been an example of a senior manager taking issue directly with ICE representatives.

CR: That should not be discussed here.

EW: She will talk to Simon Cain.

TH: What are the distribution lists for? Can they be used?

NO ANSWER AT THIS TIME

FM Review

GA-S: the finished staff surveys narrowed down to two options, decision postponed until May so Board of Trustees can ‘see full picture’ (postponed form March)

DM: This was a missed opportunity for the University; all workers should be brought In house for reputational reasons and there will now be more strikes in April

EW: these are huge issues, FM Steering group needs time

GA-S: the steer from the Board of Trustees meant things were limited by the bottom line

TH: He was surprised the meeting was deferred due to ‘industrial action’, restated that UCU wants everyone back in house

MM: Urgency felt now is based on the issue not being engaged with for more than a year, i.e. the University didn’t prioritise it and deferring the meeting gives the impression the University still doesn’t prioritise it

GA-S: She dealt with it as soon as she could, University doing its best, ‘we’ll continue to do the work’. Also stated that the Board of Trustees has insisted that any changes made to contracts must have no impact on the University’s bottom line.

EW: work being done now, University is committed to carrying out the work

DM: It must be resolved soon because contracts are falling apart

Asbestos management

GA-S: process is ongoing, report being distributed

DM: employees are being diagnosed with asbestos-related damage

CR: contact HR with any concerns for testing

CoSector

Mark Newton: staff meetings have resumed every 6 to 7 weeks, the newsletter has been changed, feedback has been positive; CoSector has ‘turned the corner’ financially, ‘good performance’, reduce deficit to £340k and Q1 2018 will show a small surplus, making CoSector a net contributor; this has been done by increasing prices and making some reductions

Colin: internal staff inductions and communicating role changes needs to improve; more information about people needs to circulate

UOLIA Review of QSG

Craig O’Callaghan: recommendation were accepted by staff (of reviewed teams); all changes are complete; a review of job descriptions is the next task; investment in global engagement will be reviewed after two years; the review of marketing was considered but deemed unnecessary, so no staff changes but more participation from senior staff

RD: As part of former QSG, the review was very stressful and communication was poor during the review; there was no staff support (which needs to be considered in future reviews); detrimental impact on staff attitudes toward the University

CO: the process agreed with HR was based on one individual and led to a hiatus in communicating with staff; engagement of staff was exemplary, strengthened UOLIA going forward; he was impressed by engagement

TH: now that the review is finished, it’s okay but during the review, it was stressful, lessons have been learned but it should have been handled better

RD: once in consultation, it improved but communications would have made the whole process better

AOB

  • Pensions: Elaine said it was a dispute between UUK and UCU, enough said
    1. TH: it’s about knowing where boundaries are, USS sent an email out yesterday via HR and messages on the intranet represented UUK and USS but there needs to be a balanced view (HR has the power to send to the whole university, Tim is more limited)

BK: 20 February intranet post on actions short of strike were misleading and intimidating

TH: asked HR about it

HR: could not change

CM: HR needed to do better with regard to the strike. UCL for example was clear on policy for staff not crossing picket lines. When staff here asked for clarification, UoL HR director refused to clarify. This is disrespectful of staff and unnecessary.

  • CoSector pensions: the details are all unclear but Tara will deal with the changing plans
  • Business World:

Lindsay: there has been a misconnect and no communications

CR: read latest from HR that it is still not ready

Elaine: due to staffing issues and underestimation of complexity

Next meeting is Wednesday 25 July at 2pm and may be scheduled for 2 hours.

 

 

 

 

Notice to staff in advance of the March ICE meeting — March 11, 2018

Notice to staff in advance of the March ICE meeting

The next meeting of the Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) forum will be on 20 March 2018, and as your representatives we want to let you know what’s on the agenda and to ask if there’s anything else that you would like raising.

You can find the minutes of the last meeting plus the provisional agenda here (https://iwgb-universityoflondon.org/ice-meeting-minutes-and-agendas/) and all ICE updates here (https://iwgb-universityoflondon.org/category/ice/).

The main points that we will be discussing are:

Please let us (danny.millum@sas.ac.uk) know by Wednesday 14 March (apologies for the short notice, but the strikes have been pretty disruptive in terms of communications!) if there’s anything you’d like adding – or just feel free to get in touch!

Report from the first ICE Forum meeting — November 29, 2017

Report from the first ICE Forum meeting

Monday was the first meeting of the Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) forum.

After pushing for this for three long years, we in IWGB are delighted to report that it was a fantastic start!

IWGB now accounts for 16 of the 18 staff reps, so thanks to your support we have finally established a mechanism through which we are informed and consulted, in addition to the two other unions at UoL. Through IWGB, an alternative voice is finally being heard by University management in a formal setting.

Yesterday’s meeting was extremely positive. The University clearly took it seriously as they were represented by three members of HR (including the deputy director of HR services) and senior managers from UoLIA, Finance, Procurement and Estates.

In addition to the University’s agenda items, the IWGB raised a number of issues including appraisals, contracts and holidays for levels 1-6, among others. There was good engagement from management so we hope even more information will follow soon.

See below this email for a brief summary of the topics we raised on behalf of staff; we’ll send a more detailed report as soon as we can. Minutes should be available to all staff before the break. If there’s anything you want to feed back on the points discussed, please do let us know!

If you would like the IWGB reps to raise an issue concerning your particular workplace, or a general issue concerning the University or staff overall then please do get in touch with your local reps (copied in). You’re also very welcome to drop me a line. IWGB has fought long and hard to have an official seat at the table with UoL management.  Now that we have one we are very keen to use it for the benefit of staff.  So please do get in touch with any feedback or suggestions!

The next meeting will take place sometime next term. Don’t forget that you can contact us at any time to tell us about an issue that you think affects staff or that you want more information about. We’ll be glad to take it up for you!

Very best wishes,

Danny Millum

Branch Secretary, SAS ICE rep

IWGB University of London

Notes on the meeting

The University had a few items on the agenda, such as that they are revising the dignity at work policy and grievance and disciplinary procedures, and a discussion of the current Facilities Management (outsourcing) review.

Thanks to your input, the reps also raised several issues staff wanted to talk to management about, including:

  • CoSector – IWGB CoSector rep Colin Watson reported that staff feel there is a lack of strategic direction and poor communication. UoL agreed to consider setting basic standards for staff meetings and took on board the points about strategy and management.
  • Appraisals – IWGB UoLIA rep Bill Kelliher reported that the way they are conducted is uneven, the timing is unhelpful and many staff feel there is currently little point doing them. UoL agreed that this needs to be looked at.
  • Sickness policy – IWGB IALS rep Lindsey Caffin reported that staff couldn’t find the policy, and that it was being applied unevenly –some staff are called in to account for themselves after 5 days, some after 10, some not at all. It was agreed that policies should be easier to find and should be a support for staff rather than something intimidating.
  • Recruitment chill – IWGB Library rep Elizabeth Morcom reported that the criteria for applying or not applying the 6-month chill was unclear, with front-line posts not being recruited while other, less important roles are sometimes advertised immediately.
  • Multi-Factor Authentification – IWGB SAS rep Marty Steer reported staff concerns that MFA was encroaching on staff’s personal devices, and that the way this policy was implemented and communicated was not satisfactory. UoL managers agreed it had not been well-thought through.
  • Grades 1-6 holiday allowance – IWGB SAS rep Danny Millum spoke about the continued inequality of the holiday allowance, under which grades 1-6 receive 27 days and 7-10 receive 30 days. UoLIA UCU rep Tim Hall noted that unions had pushed hard for 30 days when UoL announced the increase from 25. UoL noted the strength of feeling on the issue.
  • HEE and UoL contracts – IWGB HEE rep Joe Parrott asked why it’s the case that any staff members in HEE who get a higher-graded job have to switch from UoL employment contracts to ‘agenda for change’ contracts, and reported that staff are not happy about it. UoL managers present were unable to answer this but promised to look into it and report back after the meeting.
  • UoLIA review/reviews in general – IWGB UoLIA rep Catherine Morrissey spoke about the recent review conducted in UoLIA, and asked UoL to note that conducting such reviews and using them to force through change is not an appropriate tactic. UoL acknowledged that this is a bigger issue that should also be on the agenda for the next meeting. Managers also reported that the teams in the review would be informed about next steps and confirmed that no other teams in UoLIA are on the list for review.

 

ICE Ballot results: All IWGB candidates elected! — November 13, 2017
Don’t forget to vote in the ICE elections – the ballot closes tomorrow! — November 7, 2017

Don’t forget to vote in the ICE elections – the ballot closes tomorrow!

If you haven’t voted already, please make sure to vote in the current Information and Consultation of Employees elections in UoLIA, before the ballot closes tomorrow.

You should have received an email and reminder from ‘Online Voting’. Links and instructions are in there. You get to vote for FIVE people – don’t miss out!

The IWGB are standing FOUR candidates – Catherine MorrisseyNic CharltonRebecca Dooley and  Bill Kelliher – please vote for us to make sure the new forum is a strong alternative voice for UoLIA staff.

Over the last few years you’ve seen the efforts we’ve made in fighting for London Weighting and now to have outsourced staff brought in-house. We want the chance to make similar progress on behalf of everyone who works in UoLIA, so please give us your support.

The first ICE meeting with UoL management will be on 27 November. If elected, we’ll be in touch straightaway to find out what issues you think should be on the agenda.

Please give either Nic, Rebecca, Bill or me a shout if you have any questions.

Don’t forget to vote in the ICE election! — November 1, 2017

Don’t forget to vote in the ICE election!

If you work anywhere in UoLIA, don’t forget to vote in the election to select UoLIA reps for the new staff forum.

The IWGB are standing 4 candidates – Catherine MorrisseyNic CharltonRebecca Dooley and  Bill Kelliher – and it would be great if you could vote for them AND please encourage your colleagues to do the same.

You’ve seen the efforts we’ve made in fighting for London Weighting and now fighting to have outsourced staff brought in-house – we want the chance to do the same thing on behalf of people who work in UoLIA.

You should have had an email with 5 votes – if you can vote for the IWGB candidates and ask others to do the same that would be fantastic!

Hope that makes sense – just let Catherine (catherine.morrissey@london.ac.uk) know if you have any questions.

Voting runs until this Wednesday 8 November!