Thursday, 1 February 2018

UNISON Senate House and Edexcel Branch and Senate House UCU FM Services Review: Submission to the Board of Trustees



As the recognised Trade Unions representing all staff at the University of London, both UNISON and UCU branch committees have consistently argued that the University should end outsourcing and bring all outsourced workers back in-house. Our members in both the outsourced companies and the University strongly support our position. We assert that the outsourced workforce would benefit significantly through direct employment by the University, through greater stability and job security, career development and progression, better terms and conditions and workforce policies as well as fairer working practises.

UNISON and UCU pressed the University on the 21st June 2017 to reconsider and reassess all outsourced contracts and welcomed the FM Services review. UNISON’s successful campaigns and decisions made at SOAS and LSE to bring services In-House demonstrate that the tide is turning across the Higher Education sector and that the University of London is in a unique position to lead the way. The recent collapse of Carrillion raises serious questions regarding the risks of awarding of contracts to private companies and potential consequences of doing so.

UNISON and UCU urge the Board of Trustees to take steps to bring all outsourced workers back in house in a timely manner, whilst also acknowledging that some limited specialist services may remain outsourced and are willing to work with the University to determine the scope of this.

In addition to our assertions that the outsourced workforce would benefit greatly from being directly employed by the University, we ask the Board of Trustees to take into account the following when considering the recommendations of the steering group:

  • An In-House provision offers greater flexibility and an ability to adapt to new circumstances without major cost revisions. The University would be able to respond to changing needs, priorities, emergencies and opportunities without lengthy delays or having to pay a premium.
  • Through an in-house provision, the University will have greater control over the quality and efficiency of services delivered. It would also ensure greater co-ordination and integration with other departments within the University, such as the Halls of Residences, Marketing, Conference and Events Teams as well as Student Central. This would allow for greater innovation and potentially a more lucrative commercial offering.
  • Delivering services in-house will ensure fair work practices, oversight of the implementation of Living Wage payment for the lowest paid staff and fair pay awards and grading, as well as secure forms of employment.
  • The review has uncovered key issues regarding monitoring of contracts, service delivery and KPIs and a lack of governance structure within the University. In order to rectify this, the University will need to invest additional resource. However, even with additional inspection, monitoring and use of contractual procedures, this is no substitute for having direct control over quality and delivery.
  • An assessment of risks and costs should include a consideration of the cost of contractor failure (as demonstrated by the recent Carillion insolvency) as well as the costs of procurement, for example legal fees, consultant’s fees, staff time spent on negotiation and mobilisation that would be avoided through an in-house solution.
  • Changing contractor every three to five years is therefore costly as well as disruptive both to the outsourced workers and the University.
UNISON and UCU continue to engage in the FM Review Steering Group in good faith, and will continue to be involved in discussions and negotiations so long as an In-House service remains on the table in order to ensure a fair, consistent and detailed analysis is undertaken before any decision is made.

Franco Henwood, UNISON Chair
Tim Hall, UCU Chair

UNISON and UCU Senate House Branches, 29 Jan 2018

Monday, 22 January 2018

Outsourced Staff - Update

Members will recall that on Weds 21 June 2017 we put our concerns re outsourced staff to management, signalling our intention to begin negotiations to bring staff back in-house. 

The University agreed to review conditions of outsourced staff shortly thereafter.

Since then, UNISON and UCU have been fully involved in the review. After six months of negotiations, we have managed to narrow down the range of options from seven to two, to be presented to the University’s Board of Trustees:

1.      in-sourcing of the 5 contracts included in the review, or

2.
       a mixed provision with some coming in house and some remaining outsourced.

(Maintaining the status quo was one option but both unions were emphatic that this was not acceptable; this option is off the table).

In both cases some work will continue to be outsourced such as specialist maintenance of lifts or specialist compliance inspections.

UNISON will, however, continue to work to ensure all of our members and all outsourced workers are brought in house.

UNISON and UCU will continue to be involved in discussions if these options are taken forward to ensure fair, consistent and detailed analysis are undertaken before any decision is made.

UNISON and UCU  argued that the views of both outsourced and directly employed staff should be considered as part of this review.

As a result, all staff employed by the University will be able to participate in a survey on the current Facilities contractors and the future of these services . If you have any questions or concerns, please get in contact with us.


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Cordant Staff Xmas Pay

Prior to Christmas it was brought to the attention of UNISON and UCU that the December payroll for Cordant workers was scheduled to take place after Christmas. Following pro-active engagement and lobbying by the recognised Unions Cordant agreed to run the December payroll before Christmas. As a result all Cordant staff were paid before Christmas in line with other staff working at the UoL.

Friday, 13 October 2017

17th October Pay Lobby and Rally - Letter to UNISON Branch Secretary

Dear Branch Secretary,

Apologies, I am aware that you will have been bombarded with emails from the national office, the national service group and the region on the TUC Pay Lobby and Rally  on 17th October.

However, it is a huge opportunity to put pressure on the Government to change their position and take seriously the issue of public sector pay. Although this year’s pay round for Higher Education has been concluded, next year’s pay claim will be submitted early in the new year- this is also an opportunity to show UCEA that University Support Staff deserve a pay rise!

If you live in a constituency with a Tory MP, please consider lobbying your MP or reaching out to your reps and members and asking them to get involved. Support is available from us if you, your reps or members aren’t sure how to do this.

Even if you or your reps live in a constituency with a Labour MP (or another party), please consider joining the lobby anyway! It’s useful to have allies and to give MPs first hand accounts of the effect of below inflation pay rises.

If you can’t attend the lobby but still want to be part of the Pay campaign, there will be a Rally in the evening 6.30 to 8.30pm in Parliament Square. If you, your reps or members would like to attend, want more information or to meet up with some friendly faces, please get in contact with me or another organiser. Even if you can’t stay for long- show your face and wave a UNISON flag!

Or if you are feeling creative, follow in City University Branch’s footsteps and make your own placards!


If it’s all in hand and your branch has plans in place, please let me, Vicky or Colin know if you haven’t done so already so we can feed this back and get an idea of numbers.

Hopefully see you next week!

Thanks,

Jo Galloway
UNISON Regional Organiser

Secretary to Regional Higher Education Committee

Outsourced Workers at the University of London

UCU and UNISON have consistently raised concerns around outsourcing since the Facilities Management contracts were tendered. Following the successful campaigns by UNISON and UCU at LSE and SOAS the Senate House branches of these unions have increased their efforts and have been involved in discussions with University of London management regarding the feasibility of returning the outsourced workers to University employment. This process has required a great deal of discretion and the University has been persuaded to continue to engage in these discussions despite some unhelpful interventions over the summer like the serious breaches of health and safety which occurred on the 27th September.

We have been encouraged by these discussions and the University will be making a more substantive announcement about a review of the Facilities Management contracts in which all options will be considered in the next few days.

If you work at the University of London and are affected by this or you know someone who is, we would like to hear from you. Please contact UNISON or UCU branch representatives, or email unison@london.ac.uk or ucu@london.ac.uk.


Monday, 25 September 2017

UNISON & UCU Joint Statement on Outsourced Workers

UNISON and UCU Senate House Branches want to repeat our stated position that the University of London should seek to end outsourcing and bring existing outsourced staff back in-house.

We ask the University to look at the examples set by LSE and SOAS following discussion with UNISON at those institutions, which resulted in positive outcomes for outsourced staff at both these Universities.

We call upon support from our members to make this happen.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Meeting to discuss University of London International Academy (UoLIA) QSG Review – 12:30 pm Thursday 17th August 2017 (Venue TBC)

As you may be aware, the University of London has decided to review the Quality Standards and Governance Department in the University of London International Programmes.

UCU and UNISON have been involved in discussion with Mr. Craig O’ Callaghan and Dr. Mary Stiasny and we are aware of the proposed reviews for Marketing, Executive Office and Global Engagement departments in UoLIA.

The review has been requested by the University’s Member Institutions to find out whether they are getting value for money.  Our understanding is that this is not a cost-reduction exercise and there is no suggestion of staff redundancies.

UCU and UNISON will work hard to ensure that these reviews are transparent and fully involve the staff in these departments and ensure that they have the opportunity to submit evidence.

We will not accept the validity of any review which fails to respect these core principles. Above all else, we will oppose vigorously any compulsory redundancies (if these are proposed at any stage).

We would like to hear from you.  Please come along to the meeting ( venue to be confirmed) or if you have any concerns that you want to discuss before the meeting, please contact UNISON ruth.buckingham@london.ac.uk and UCU kumar.singaravelou@london.ac.uk  


UNISON/UCU Senate House.


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