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£8.80 Per Hour To Be Paid At UAL

Friday, May 9, 2014

Strike Action By Contract Cleaners At UAL London Averted After Managers Agree To Pay London Living Wage Of £8.80 Per Hour To Staff At All Sites

Members organising, protests and petitions from students, and finally the threat of industrial action has secured a nearly 40% pay rise for the lowest paid workers at UAL says GMB.

A strike by GMB members at the University of Arts (UAL) has been averted after the University managers agreed that all contracted staff across the UAL sites will be paid a London living wage of £8.80 per hour. Strikes fixed for 19/20/21 May have now been called off.

There has been a year long campaign, with whole hearted support from the students union including an official ballot for strike action. See notes to editors for copy of the GMB press release.

Today (9th May) the Vice Chancellor of the university released an official statement confirming the living wage would be paid to cleaners by the end of 2014 and to all other contracted staff when the contracts are up for tender.  See note to editors for link to this statement.

GMB had informed Office and General that cleaners at the Universities central admin unit had voted for action in an official industrial action ballot which closed on 28th April. They are now paid the minimum wage of £6:31 an hour.

Office and General has 2,500 employees working for 800 customers including financial institutions, local and national government, universities, and other corporate bodies. It has offices in London, Leatherhead and Wolverhampton.

UAL joins a long list of London universities that are bowing to pressure from the campus trade unions and students in implementing a living wage for all staff on campus. As well as the Central admin unit in High Holborn UAL has six colleges including Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins at Kings Cross, Chelsea College of Arts, London College of Communication in Elephant and Castle, London College of Fashion in west end, and Wimbledon College of Arts.

Nadine Houghton, GMB regional organiser said; "To be paid a living wage should be a right, something unquestionable and immediate. That members have to fight to win this right in institutions like universities, that pride themselves on being just, moral and principled employers is abhorrent. But fighting and winning is exactly what members are doing and at the University of Arts London they have done just this.

The university has agreed to pay the living wage to cleaners by the end of 2014. That it is the cleaners who are the most well organised into the GMB who have ensured a date is set for the pay rise instead of waiting for the cleaning contract to come up for tender is indicative of the strength of the GMB and the fact that our members were ready for the fight. We will, of course be talking to the other contracted staff about how we can ensure they get a living wage too.

With industrial action planned at the University of Arts central Admin Unit the Chancellor was faced with a simple decision. Give members what they are entitled to, what they should have had all along or deal with a strike of the lowest paid workers in the very office where he is based. He finally made the right decision.

Campaigns like these and the many other campaigns that are winning real gains for members show exactly what trade unionism is about.

GMB is in no doubt that members getting organised, protests from students, hundreds of petition signatures and finally the threat of industrial action is what has secured a nearly 40% pay rise for the lowest paid workers at the university.”

Ends

Contact: Nadine Houghton on 07714 239 227 or 0208 303 3407 or GMB press office 07921 289880

Notes to editors

1 Statement on the university website can be found here; http://newsevents.arts.ac.uk/41814/ual-commitment-to-london-living-wage-for-contracted-staff/

2 GMB press release Wednesday 9th April 2014

DISPUTE LOOMS AT UNIVERSITY OF ARTS LONDON IN ADMIN UNIT IN HOLBORN AS GMB BALLOT CLEANERS FOR STRIKE ACTION OVER LIVING WAGE

Without the cleaners these institutions would not function and yet they are treated with contempt by university management simply by the fact they are paid poverty wages says GMB

GMB, the union for support staff in further and higher education, is organizing an official strike ballot for cleaners at the University of Arts London (UAL) in a dispute in a pay claim for a London living wage of £8:80 an hour.

The cleaners to be balloted are employed by cleaning contractor Office and General at the central administration unit at 272 High Holborn, London. They are now paid the minimum wage of £6:31 an hour.

Office and General has 2,500 employees working for 800 customers including financial institutions, local and national government, universities, and other corporate bodies. It has offices in London, Leatherhead and Wolverhampton.

There has been a long running campaign by GMB members alongside UAL students to secure a pay rise of £2.49 per hour to move them onto a London living wage of £8:80 an hour.

Nigel Carrington vice chancellor at the University has so far ignored the campaign. He has given no guarantee that the University will increase funds for the contract to allow the employer to pay the living wage.

So the next step in this campaign is for GMB members to be balloted for strike action. This will escalate the dispute to ensure the lowest paid workers at the university receive a pay rise which enables them to have a decent standard of living.

Nadine Houghton, GMB regional organiser said; “At a time when universities are able to charge students up to £9,000 a year and vice chancellors have seen their pay soar in to the hundreds of thousands it is only right that some of the lowest paid workers in these institutions see their pay rise to that of a living wage.

Without the cleaners these institutions would not function and yet they are treated with contempt by university management simply by the fact they are paid poverty wages.

In 2011 Nigel Carrington was earning £234,600. How can he justify staff at his university receiving a poverty wage when he earns more than the Prime Minister.

A living wage is a simple moral argument that says a decent days work for a decent days pay, any university that is not adhering to this simple principle should be ashamed.

GMB is balloting members in the hope that the university will see sense and work with the contractor to increase the funds of the contract to enable Office and General to be able to pay their staff the living wage.

We know that where GMB is organised and where our members are prepared to fight, we can win improvements that give workers an improved quality of life.”

End

 

 

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