The Voluntary Living Wage- great news for low paid members!

Tenacious work from a local UNISON steward has resulted in some of our lowest paid members getting a pay increase and arrears of up to £2.5k. This account from the steward, Andy Wade, shows how UNISON can work with both employers and commissioning bodies to get fair treatment for our members.

In early August a member of the Human Resources team was spoken to by an employee of a catering Contractor on City College Norwich campus. The employee said that he was earning £8.00 an hour and complained that he felt that this wasn’t sufficient for a café Team Leader. The HR colleague contacted UNISON in college and told them what he had heard.

UNISON spoke with the contractors employee and it was confirmed that he was earning £8.00 an hour. This was a shock as City College Norwich is a Voluntary Living Wage Employer, therefore we stipulate in the contracts that all our Contractors pay at least the Voluntary Living Wage too, which was £8.75 an hour. This meant that the employee was being under-paid by at least £0.75 an hour.

After raising this many times with the Director of Campus Services (the head of the team which write contracts and selects our contractors), this issue was then taken by UNISON to the monthly union meeting with the College Principal, the College Vice Principal and Managing Director of Norfolk Education Services, NES (these are a company owned by the TEN Group which provides services to TEN Group educational establishments).

At this meeting it was agreed that the caterer was not fulfilling its contractual requirements and that unless resolved, the contractor would lose its contract with the College and that legal action was a possibility.

Following continuing pressure from UNISON, the catering contractor finally agreed that all its employees would begin to receive the Voluntary Living wage as a minimum in their November pay packet, and that all previous underpayments would be reimbursed.

This month the employee has informed Unison that he has now received back-pay totalling £2,400 and his wage has increased by an additional £0.92 an hour.

Great news for our colleagues working with our catering Contractor on campus just before Christmas!

ANDREW WADE Tech IOSH
HEALTH AND SAFETY COORDINATOR (CONTRACTS)