One more motion to the board.

The Trustee Board are planning on holding a vote of no confidence in me as a trustee this Monday (read this). I have offered my defence in full in writing here, however I can’t go to the meeting as they have picked a time when I am at NUS conference.

I haven’t had the time in office to get my manifesto fulfilled & I have faced significant opposition behind closed doors in getting my manifesto implemented. One of the issues I campaigned upon, which I require to be a trustee to fulfil, is my promise to try and get living wages for students & staff working in the guild.

In the Guild of Students student have had the power to make any financial decisions taken away from us in 2008. Now only the Trustee Board has this power, so my removal as a trustee will completely remove my ability to fulfil this campaign pledge. Therefore in case I am removed today I have just submitted this below motion to the board, while I am still a trustee to ensure it gets discussed at the next meeting.

I’m asking students to e-mail me at e.bauer@guild.bham.ac.uk messages of support for fair pay in the guild, so I can pass their thoughts onto the board.

What I want to do and why

At my first board meeting I found the Guild attempting to force an effective real term 11.5% pay cut over three years on all part time, full-time, student & non-student staff. Many of whom were already earning wages below the poverty line.The majority of Guild staff are students working in the Guild some struggling to make ends meet.

In June when I found out about the pay cut, as a trustee I immediately sent round an e-mail to all Guild staff explaining what was happening and asking them if they had any concerns. Asking if they could write up there thoughts for me to pass onto the board. However the CEO and another officer deleted my e-mail from every Guild employee’s inbox in a matter of hours and I was warned never to contact staff again without approval from the HR committee.

Later at the board meeting many trustees were surprised to hear what I had to say and most had no idea that any Guild staff worked below the poverty line, although the motion passed it was only done so as a “financial necessity” to save the Guild £20,000.

However, since the motion was passed there have been windfalls in cash from the signing of Costa Coffee, the opening of Santander as well as other unpredicted savings the Guild has now more than made up this difference and can return the money to its employees who have worked for it.  For the next year some of this money has been earmarked for new spending, however, both of these revenue streams are long term. The Guild has significant savings so there is absolutely zero risk of the Guild going into the red through returning this cut in staff pay. In the long term the Guild will remain above its target surplus. Further I am proposing restoring the pay for every Guild staff member with the exception of the three senior managers who can keep the cut in pay in the spirit of “all being in it together”. Not restoring pay for the three highest paid will still be a very significant saving on the payroll for the Guild

To those who say this will be money out of services to students in the Guild firstly the vast majority of those working for the Guild are students themselves.  Sadly the students who spend leisure time in the student union are predominantly the wealthiest, while those working are often those who can afford the free time to use the guild the least. If the guild is cutting their pay to provide more money to societies is it not exploiting the poorest of its members for the benefit of its most privileged? Secondly, this is not taking any money earmarked for anything else, it is simply the return of a recent and painful cut in pay into the pockets of those who have worked hard all year for it.

The text of my motion that I have just submitted as a trustee for the next board meeting.

 “The Trustee Board believes that the cut in pay passed at the June board meeting should now with the recent increases in revenue be unnecessary, as the saving has been made up for in other areas.”

“As such the board mandates the Finance Committee to as a matter of urgency to calculate the cost of first restoring the cut in pay passed at the June Trustee Board meeting, with the exception of the three senior managers. Secondly, the cost of restoring the pay lost this year by the cut passed last June by Guild employees, with the exception of the three senior managers, in the form of a bonus to all Guild employees”.

“These calculations should be done as matter of priority, to report back to the board for the May meeting. They should be treated as a priority as it has been communicated to trustees that many Guild employees are feeling the tight financial burden of the pay cut”

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