Since June 2017, UCU and UNISON have been arguing the case for outsourced workers to be returned to direct employment by the University of London. We are pleased that the University of London has acknowledged that in-housing, in principle, is the right thing to do and has started to implement a programme to end outsourcing arrangements for these colleagues.
UCU and UNISON made strong representations at formal meetings with the University on 4 April and 9 April expressing the tremendous pressure everyone involved is currently under. This pressure stems from uncertainties about the precise timetable for in-housing, the mechanisms for reviewing contracts, and the very serious consequences of the current Senate House boycott on the work of some of our members.
As a result of this, at an all-staff meeting on 11 April, University leadership expressed a willingness to explore ways of accelerating the in-housing of both the cleaners and grounds maintenance staff. We welcome that further detail about the process has now been published on the internal staff intranet and that the Vice Chancellor has acknowledged the need for the University to offer support to staff members who are adversely affected by current events.
However, members are anxious about the risk of cuts to research funding and possible job losses should the Senate House boycott continue for much longer. We are therefore lodging the following further requests:
- A clear written statement explaining the University’s financial situation, including estimated costs of the first phase of in-housing (whereby a group of workers will be UoL employees by 20 May 2019) and projected costs for the remaining phases.
- Monthly written updates for internal and external audiences about the progress of the in-housing programme. These communications should be written in straightforward terms and make reference to any action taken to accelerate the process.
- Pastoral support for any member of staff impacted by the Senate House boycott. Support should not discriminate against staff based on their position on this topic or, in the case of colleagues in the School of Advanced Study (SAS), the choices they have made relating to managing events.
- Clear guidance for staff in relation to the Senate House boycott outlining:
- How the University expects staff to handle events potentially affected.
- What the University will do to support workloads and activities that are affected.
- Given that it is the primary focus of the boycott, can the University of London explain what it is doing to ensure the continued success of the School of Advanced Study?