UNISON calls for review of front-of-house staff

Below is the text of an open letter sent by UNISON to VC Malcolm Gillies, highlighting the issue of anomalies within the terms and conditions of front-of-house staff:

Friday, 13 May 2011

Dear Malcolm,

Re:      What future for Front of House Staff?

In 2002 London Met Uni was established as a merger between London Guildhall University and the University of North London and the terms and conditions / job descriptions of almost all groups of equivalent staff were merged in one way or another: Except for the front house staff

For them there is an outstanding anomaly. And for the last five years there has been an ongoing ‘review’ into their structure, job descriptions and so on. In the north there are receptionists and security guards and porters and post room staff, but in the City you have school keepers, who do all those duties. There are in addition ongoing differences in pay and conditions e.g .the North Campus staff are paid an ‘attendance allowance’, but not in the City.

As you also know, there has been a recruitment freeze and non-replacement of staff for the last at least three years – and an agency, SGC Facilities management, (who pay as little as £6 per hour), are used to fill the gap. The service is not the same standard nor is it cost effective.

You received a written final report of that review last summer and staff were told it would be published and consulted on ‘imminently’. Since then, however, we were told that review would be superseded by the Business Processes Review, and yet that review failed to address the front of house staff. Our members have had enough waiting for the never ending review to conclude. Like a Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads, they have watched their work mates of several years leave and only to be replaced by temporary agency staff.

In effect, whilst there are so many agency staff, there is now a two tier workforce, a de facto part-privatisation. UNISON has already presented our views on bringing staff in house and presented a good business case for this (see our submissions to the Business Process Reviews). UNISON believes that those staff, and all of us staff who value them, have a right to know: what is their future?

When will you and your representatives meet with a delegation of our members to discuss this as a matter of urgency?


Max Watson                          Allan Pike

Chairperson                          Branch Secretary

This letter was also signed by the majority of schoolkeepers, security guards and receptionists at both campuses.

UNISON has also called for a full, urgent investigation into allegations of external “thugs” used during the student occupation of the Graduate Centre. See the blog post here: http://wearelondonmet.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/no-more-external-thugs-only-london-met-security-on-site/