After more than 2 years of negotiation and continued scrutiny of the University of London’s plans, we have received written confirmation from the University of its plans to return cleaners and security staff back to its direct employment. This represents real progress. The key features of the University of London’s commitment include:
- Security staff to be in-house by May 2020.
- Cleaning staff to be in-house by November 2020.
- In-housing of staff will not be subject to the previously-used methodology of market testing where in-housing is conditional on favourable comparisons with external bids.
- Work has commenced on these tranches of in-housing. We understand that the current contractors have already been informed of last week’s Board of Trustee’s decision and that meetings are being organised to discuss the TUPE process requirements.
- The Unions have challenged the decision to keep the Estates Maintenance Services contracted out to a specialist supplier. The Unions will continue to scrutinise and challenge this outcome.
Of course, promises are worthless unless they are followed through. We hereby commit to scrutinising every step of the TUPE process to the best of our ability, and to doing what we can to hold the University to the new commitments it has made.
That said, we do believe that the University’s commitments are genuine and that this agreement should lead to serious discussions about the terms for suspending the boycott.
The boycott has unintentionally focused on events organised by union members at the School of Advanced Studies. Many of these members are on precarious contracts and the additional work-related stress caused by the boycott has impacted on their mental health and wellbeing.