Update on the pay claim 2018/2019 – demands to be submitted to the university management as part of negotiations
Casualisation, job security, and workload
|Bring staff in the Hotel and Conference Park back in-house||Stop the creeping implementation of any ‘5 in 7’ and ‘annualised hours’ contracts
||End all 9 month teaching and research contracts, with a minimum length of 12 month for standard positions||Fair and consistent workload allocation|
|Support non-EU and EU staff by providing certainty of employment status||Address Trade Unions’ Concerns relating to the new campus in Dubai||Commit to extending sick pay in cases of serious illness and disability-related absence||Where any member of staff has worked on fixed term contracts for more than 4 years, the University must have a policy in place committing them to offering permanent contracts, as required by employment law|
|Stop the pricing out of staff from the Sports Centre||Commit to a single Welfare and Wellbeing Services strategy and ensure proper support structures and safety of College Welfare and Wellbeing staff||Adopt the recommended HEPI (Higher Education Policy Institute) student-to-counsellor ratio, and recruit 21 more accredited counsellors (FTE||Have union representation on disciplinary hearing panels for all staff|
Commit to working with the unions to implement a comprehensive domestic violence and harassment policy
|Formal agreement that all casualised and part-time comittee members of recognised trade unions are entitled to the same level of paid facilities time to carry out trade union duties as full time staff||End vacancy saving targets for Budget Centres and ensure all positions are well-resourced||Ensure that all staff are employed on full employment contracts, with the University as the recognised employer|
|Support the Period Dignity Campaign||Guarantee that the opportunity to enrol on the University’s HEA Accredited PGCHE will be made available to all teaching staff||For all teaching and research staff, full employment contracts should be drawn up with a clear description of the role of the job in question and offered before the start of term so that staff can be paid during the month that they start work|
We are all carers at some point in our lives, but the burden of care for our loved ones falls primarily on women. No one should be put at a disadvantage for caring. We therefore demand that female members of staff retain their hours after returning from pregnancy and that maternity pay is made available to women all-year round – especially for term-time staff or staff on fixed-term contracts lasting 9 months or less. Caring lasts a lifetime. For this reason, we also demand a not-for profit nursery near campus. This initiative would also be a good measure for improving productivity and allowing members of staff to work with the comfort and ease of mind of their children being looked after nearby.
- guarantee that caring responsibilities are properly and consistently considered when staff submit flexible working requests, to acknowledge that discriminating against carers is an equality issue
- independent appeals process and allow any potentially discriminatory actions to be dealt with through the grievance process
According to government statistics, the University of Birmingham pays women on average 19.9% or £7,626 per year less than men. This means that, if you are a female member of staff and there was no gender pay gap, you could be earning up to £146.65 more per week. If you are a casual female member of staff and there was no gender pay gap and our demands were met, you could be earning up to three times as much each week. We demand the closure of the gender pay gap in the next three years.
Our worst predictions with regards to the treatment of staff after the set-up of the subsidiary companies have become reality and there is no union recognition for new staff recruited to the Hotel, while existing staff are seeing major deterioration in their working conditions. We call on the University to:
Overall we feel the University should not be outsourcing its staff to maximise the generation of profit and maintain that the Hotel and Conference park should be brought back in-house.
An end to contracts that don’t pay outside term time. We work all year round to improve education and often receive pay only for 9 months of the year. In the summer, we struggle to make ends meet and are poorest at the start of term. We demand an end to in-work poverty by abolishing fixed-term 9 month contracts, and demand that all casual tutors are put on continuous contracts with full employment rights.
Support and academic-related staff:
Recognition of the 1,650 annualised hours (based on a 37.5 working week) for all teaching and research workload allocation models, and ensure that all hourly work is fully recognised and paid for on an equal basis.
Executive action to reduce workloads and stress. The University of Birmingham employs 69.6% of all academic staff on some form of fixed term or precarious contract. This means that staff have little job security, are not being paid what they deserve, and their career progression is severely hampered. Given our outstanding contribution to education, we demand that our work is fully recognised in the development of new workload allocation agreements, and are paid on the basis of a 1,650-hour year.
As recognised trade union branches, we have not been consulted on the opening of the Dubai campus and on the policies that will apply to the members of staff who will be working for the University in Dubai. Many of our members have raised concerns about the lack of adequate and clear assurances that their rights will be upheld while working in Dubai. In order to have a constructive dialogue and better understanding of the practicalities of working and studying on the Dubai campus, we have a series of assurances that we need from the University management.
Recently the University informed us that they feel that almost all shifts worked on a bank holiday or closed day count as normal working days and that staff are not entitled to enhanced pay for these. They say that if you have received enhanced pay for working a bank holiday or closed day, this is either due to some form of local arrangement or custom and practice, or an error. The University has proposed rewording the terms and conditions to make bank holiday working clearer, but this would mean us accepting a lower enhanced rate in order to ensure everyone who works a bank holiday or closed day gets it. We demand that work on bank holidays and university closed days is kept as voluntary, and that everyone who works on these days is paid double and time off in lieu.
Executive action to remove barriers to career progression for women and casualised staff. The gender pay gap exists also because women are denied the same opportunities as men. Women can make up most of the staff membership, and yet receive a collective pay package lower than men’s because they are disproportionately employed on lower grades. We demand executive action to introduce and enforce 50% quotas for female members of staff on appointment panel. This should extend to all work commissioned by the employer and be staffed by women of a minimum equivalent grade as the advertised post.
It is becoming clear that the lowest-paid staff are paying the price for the new Sports Centre building and its overblown publicity. For example, swimming fees at the old centre were £12.50 per month. They have now almost doubled to £23 per month, and in August they were increased further to £30 per month. This is an increase of 140%, while year on year the university has given staff pay rises below inflation. We are dissatisfied with the university’s move to make sports facilities and activities inaccessible to staff on low pay, especially as we are told that the university has a wellbeing agenda that takes health and wellbeing seriously. We call on the University to offer a substantial discount for Sports Centre membership for staff. We also call on them to take into account the huge benefit exercise has in terms of productivity and mental health, and to adopt a holistic charging model that takes this into account, rather than trying to maximise the profit generated by the Sports Centre.
Currently, the University of Birmingham has approximately 35,000 students, and only 4 FTE counsellors. According to the HEPI (Higher Education Policy Institute) report in 2016, universities ought to maintain a student-to-counsellor ratio of 1 : 1,358; however, the UoB ratio is 1 : 8,750. The University has therefore failed in caring for its students, and needs an urgent plan to recruit 21 more counselling staff (FTE), and counselling should be provided in-house.
Year after year, the waiting list for students to access counselling on campus has become longer and harder to manage; at times, the counselling service team was forced to suspend all sign-ups. Numerous reports have been published in the media about the lack of student support on the University of Birmingham campus, and the staff are feeling the pressure to see more students in shorter periods of time. This leads to burnout and stress, and a demoralising feeling of letting students down. This must stop. While we welcome the expansion of Wellbeing and Welfare teams on campus, their role is not to replace counselling services.
The University of Birmingham's staffing levels for counselling are much below the average ratio in the UK. We call on the university to adhere to the HEPI recommended ratio as a matter of urgency.
Many workers get a serious illness at some time in their working lives. They may require time off, often many months, to get treatment or recover. There is good guidance that has been produced by the TUC and others to deal with cases of long-term illness, or return to work for those who are disabled as a result of an illness or injury.
However, sometimes there is no effective treatment. In these cases the worker may face a time of huge emotional stress, fear and uncertainty. Trade unions can try to ensure that when that happens, they try to remove any additional stress and worry.
A terminal illness is a disease that cannot be cured or adequately treated and there is a reasonable expectation that the patient will die within a relatively short period of time. Usually, but not always, they are progressive diseases such as cancer or advanced heart disease.
UK Social Security legislation defines a terminal illness as: “a progressive disease where death as a consequence of that disease can reasonably be expected within 6 months”, however many patients can have a terminal illness and survive much longer than 6 months.
The aim in developing an effective policy on domestic violence/abuse and stalking is to create a workplace where the dignity and safety of our colleagues are respected. This policy is intended to support Birmingham University’s commitment to family-friendly working and ensure the welfare of individual members of staff; to retain valued employees; to improve morale and performance; and to enhance the reputation of Birmingham University as an employer of choice, acknowledging that a safer working environment benefits women’s professional development and the university’s commitment to ongoing gender equality. Additionally following the the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1992), the University of Birmingham has a legal responsibility to safeguard the welfare and safety of all staff. UNISON have drafted such a policy and we would like the university to work closely with the trade unions to implement it. This policy applies to staff across all sites as well as agency and contract staff (and elected members).
Additional support for those who contribute to a safe and secure work environment. Trade union officers are among the greatest contributors to maintaining and innovating a safe and secure work environment. The knowledge and skills of officers and activists – such as equality representatives, casualised representatives, and health and safety representatives – is outstanding. Universities cannot afford to lose this resource and must offer financial support to develop it. We demand that a special hourly rate – with annual increments above inflation – is established for casualised members of staff who are elected as officers of the recognised trade unions on campus. This financial support should be sufficient to incentivise a member to carry out their duties in facilities time used outside of their casual contracts instead of looking for a second job or refusing to work altogether. In this spirit, we demand that an Equality Impact Assessment is carried out for every initiative carried out by the employer, and that the unions are thoroughly involved in each of these.
The university relying on vacancy saving targets to cut costs is supremely inefficient – leaving posts vacant leaves staff unable to ‘add value’ as they are constantly trying to cover for vacant posts. This increases the chance that others will leave causing a domino effect of other posts that remain vacant. Staff leave because they cannot take annual leave, cannot attend training courses and their secondments are refused - this also has a damaging effect to staff wellbeing, causing high levels of stress. Some areas are having to take drastic action to address the lower overall pay offer compared to the University’s competitors, while others are increasingly contracting agency workers to do the work, instead of offering contracts.
are employed on full employment contracts, with the University as the recognised employer.
The University is consistently operating below its allocated number of spaces, which is the cause of a great deal of stress to those staff who need to drive onto campus either every day or occasionally. Furthermore, large swathes of new and existing car parks are being set up as “purple permit” only car parks in an attempt to commit staff to driving onto campus every day, rather than taking public transport when they are able to. The lowest paid staff at the University were previously exempted from car parking charges and even though their pay has not increased a great deal in real terms they are now expected to pay parking fees if they use car parks within the charging periods. Finally, we are concerned that the distribution of “blue badge” spaces is no longer fit for purpose due to the sheer level of construction work on campus. We demand that the university commits to:
We support UNITE's Period Dignity Campaign and echo their calls for access to sanitary products in the workplace and schools to be as normal as having access to things such as toilet roll https://unitetheunion.org/perioddignity
Paid teaching-related training. Everyone deserves to become a better teacher.
Not enough has been done to explore the contribution that teaching makes towards becoming a better researcher.
We demand that financial support be put in place to help and encourage people to make the time to do so.
This should include all hours needed to attain the desired certification.