University of Birmingham Unison Branch has launched this petition on working conditions and pay in response to the continuing changes being forced on its members. These new contracts are being phased in as contracts expire or places emerge. Many the university employees on these contracts are on the universities three lowest pay bands, as such are already working below the official poverty line.
This is a quick post for students explaining the points & why you should sign and share the petition.
“Maintain the current rate of pay for bank holidays and closed days and for them to be voluntary not compulsory;”
The university is changing contracts to remove higher pay for working bank holidays, weekends. Further they are making working on these days compulsory rather than an optional with the incentive of higher pay.
This is not because they are having trouble getting people to work on bank holidays, weekends or closed days for a bit of extra pay. Instead this is simply part of a vicious cost cutting exercise and it is not matched by any restraint in pay rises at the top.
“ To not increase the number of weekends staffs are required to work;”
“5 days in 7” contracts mean that employees will be expected to work “any” five days within a week that their bosses require. Rather than the Monday-Friday working week, with the weekend being optional days covered with extra pay. These contracts effectively abolish any contractual reference to the “weekend”.
This point in the petition is for the employees who have been already moved onto working “5 days in 7” contracts as there is no longer and built in contractual protection to stop the university throwing them onto difficult weekend shifts.
Weekends are obviously important to those working with families, and working weekend shifts is obviously difficult for parents. For those without families regular weekends allows for the pursuit of leisure activities and a personal life. Being able to make your employees work irregular 5 day weeks, may be convenient to the university bosses but it will be tremendously difficult for most working people.
This point calls on the university to not play around with working hours, despite the fact they now have the power to do so under the new contacts.
“ No extension of ‘any 5 day in 7’ contracts;”
For the employees already given the new “5 day in 7” contracts it is important that these contracts are, replaced with contracts returning to the built in protection for the working week. The University of Birmingham needs to commit to removing these contracts from use as soon as possible. This leads onto the 4th & 5th points which outlines the contents of the new contracts.
“Provide contractual guarantees for staff on annualised hours that protect the health and well being of staff;” & “Ensure staff working late at night have a safe means of transport home.”
These changes shouldn’t be taken on their own. They should be seen as part of wider attack on the pay and conditions of support staff at the university. This attack includes; direct pay cuts by the university, increased use of insecure temporary contracts and the contracting jobs out to private providers who cut wages & conditions even further.
Anyone working for the University of Birmingham can Join the Unison branch here