Despite current sky-high levels of inflation, staff at the University-owned Edgbaston Park Hotel are facing a big real-terms pay cut, unless a drastic improvement in the latest offer occurs. Following a pay freeze in 2020/21, the Hotel is refusing to move from their initial, derisory, offer of 2% and an early implementation of the minimum wage of £9.50 (which will become the legal minimum in April).
The Hotel has separate pay and terms and conditions to the main University and pay is increasingly out of step with the parent company. This is despite the Hotel capitalising on the University’s brand and a lot of its business coming from the link to the parent company.
Those attending conferences, meetings and training at the Hotel would be forgiven for thinking it to be an integral part of the University, but Hotel staff at least are kept very much at arm’s length.
UNISON members at the employer have spoken of feeling “undervalued and underappreciated” and that the University is being dishonest by taking credit for the success of the business while not accepting the responsibility for paying them properly. The effective end of restrictions last year saw business boom at the venue – managers have admitted to UNISON that income has exceeded all of their projections. Staffing levels are still well under the pre-pandemic level and staff speak of having worked incredibly hard to cope with the increased demand.
UNISON in dispute – write to the Hotel to help!
UNISON feels the current position is utterly untenable and we’ve declared a formal dispute. We think it’s time for the University to step in. Under the Hotel’s governance arrangement there are two representatives of the University on the board and the University is the only shareholder. We’d really appreciate it if all of our members and supporters could copy and paste the below text into an email (amending as you see fit) and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org .
For attention of the board of directors
I’m writing as a local resident and possible customer of the Hotel regarding the current salaries you offer your staff. As a business owned by the University and one which presents itself as moral and community spirited, I feel it is deeply unfortunate that you are making a real-terms cut to the pay of staff this year. It is also deeply regrettable that you continue to pay less than the independently set and verified Foundation Living Wage, unlike the rest of the University. If necessary, I feel that the University should step in to ensure that all staff employed under its umbrella are paid properly and fairly.
Changing your approach to this would be of great benefit to the staff at the Hotel themselves, but also to the reputation of the business and the University more broadly. I know that I would be more likely to use your services if you were to make a fair pay offer and to pay the real living wage.