1,000 signatures reached
To: Queens' University Belfast
QUB Student Union Workers Demand Respect
University management must urgently act to reinstate their workers in QUB Students' Union to the government Job Retention Scheme and engage with our union, Unite.
The chancellor has, on numerous occasions, urged employers to stand by their workers in this time of crisis, and we urge you to stand by us.
It is with this in mind, that we make the following demands:
1. Reinstate all affected workers to the existing JRS until 31st October 2020 and backdate payments, as is permissible under the scheme, to the date we were removed from the scheme on 31st July 2020
2. From 1st November placing all workers currently on payroll to the extended JRS offering job security and protecting our livelihoods whilst this public health crisis affects our ability to work
3. If the Speakeasy Bar & other SU facilities are unable to reopen this year, finding alternate work within the university for all workers interested in doing so. We are aware of many roles which have been outsourced by the university or where staffing shortages may exist due to absence related to COVID cases and requirements to self-isolate that should and could be
filled by directly employed staff
4. Furthermore, we highlight the Chancellor’s point that employers can choose to top up salaries to 100%. We ask that the university tops up the remaining difference in our normal pay packet to ensure we receive 100% of our wages for the time in which our respective venues are closed, as they are doing with other QUB workers
5. We ask for a full apology for the decision to remove us from government wage support on 31st July 2020 and the subsequent emotional distress caused to staff particularly as we were left with no clear guidance or information regarding the decision, which we deem to be unacceptable
Why is this important?
In July 2020 QUB Management took the decision to remove dozens of workers in the Students' Union from the income supports provided by the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS).
This decision was taken with next to no consultation and has left hardworking employees with no income.
The decision from the university to end payments appears to us on the surface, to be premature and based solely on saving costs as the government required further employer contributions from the beginning of August. For many of us, this loss of income has had a substantial financial impact, leaving us unable to afford essentials such as food, housing, electricity and gas.
Not all workers are students and are ineligible for student supports or for state benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance whilst still formally employed. Those who are full-time students are ineligible for any state support at present.
Recently, the government has announced further plans to aid employers and workers in this time of economic uncertainty, particularly those affected by necessary closures and restrictions on operations to control the spread of COVID. The government has announced that there is no
shortage to the funds available in order to secure ongoing employment for workers during the pandemic.
Further, Queen's University has no shortage of funds to support their hardworking staff throughout a crisis. Without our efforts, the Speakeasy and other SU facilities would not run. We contribute so much to the student experience and in return, we are asking for the university to provide us with a basic income, give us some job & financial security and afford us the respect that we deserve.