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To: Professor David Phoenix, LSBU Vice Chancellor and Jerry Cope, Chair of the LSBU Board of Governors

Save jobs and stop outsourcing at London South Bank University

Dear David Phoenix and Jerry Cope,

LSBU is proposing to make up to 66 support staff members redundant, although the support staff trade union, UNISON, believes that the actual number at risk could be even higher. The University is also proposing to outsource essential, low paid staff in the Estates and Facilities department, namely the Customer Care Officers and the Estates Service Desk team. These staff are well known and liked across the University and contribute a huge amount to the successful operation of LSBU and to the student experience. Many of these staff also risked their lives to work on campus during the COVID-19 lockdowns and keep the University afloat. Now, LSBU is proposing to end their employment with the University and offload them to a private contractor, almost certainly leading to worse terms and conditions.

Unlike other London universities, many of which are bringing staff in house on improved terms and conditions, LSBU is opting to outsource in place of retaining workers in direct employment. UNISON opposes the use of outsourcing on LSBU's campuses and believes it is clear that outsourcing entrenches racial, gender and economic inequalities. LSBU's Equality, Diversion and Inclusion strategy is subtitled "social justice for all". Outsourcing is the very opposite of social justice.

The University's staff are already overworked and stressed, and reducing staffing levels still further will exacerbate the burnout and mental health pressures on remaining staff and throw other staff out of employment during a cost of living crisis. This will have a devastating impact on those affected, while also damaging the student experience and students' education through the loss of knowledgeable, experienced and committed staff members.

LSBU staff care about their colleagues, about students and about the communities around LSBU in Southwark, Croydon and Havering. Staff, students and our local communities deserve better than redundancies and the outsourcing of jobs.

We, the undersigned, support UNISON’s demand that LSBU commits to no compulsory staff redundancies and withdraws the proposal to outsource Estates and Facilities staff.

Why is this important?

The redundancies on the table at LSBU cut across areas crucial to the University's operations and the support offered to students, including Libraries, IT, Student Operations, Estates and Facilities, Finance, Alumni and Development, and Research, Enterprise and Innovation.

Many areas have already experienced repeated rounds of cuts and restructures over the past several years and continuing to cut staff and outsource staff to private contractors is both wrong and ineffective. LSBU wants to make staff redundant from mid-June and outsource Customer Care Officers and the Estates Service Desk team by August. Instead of rushing through changes that will lead to unemployment, outsourcing and financial and mental health crises for staff, LSBU's Executive and the Board of Governors should withdraw the current proposals and talk to UNISON and LSBU's other trade unions without this hanging over people's heads.

Many staff at risk of redundancy have years, if not decades of expertise, and losing this will only be negative for student's education and experience of LSBU. Support staff make so much of what LSBU does possible. A tiny list, taken from across the University, includes:

Keeping the IT systems running and ensuring the virtual learning and working environment functions every day; uploading and making available course marks; organising exams and handling extenuating circumstances claims; supporting students with attendance; giving students crucial advice about all aspects of their life at LSBU; finding library books; accessing e-books; providing guidance and training on how to use a huge variety of computer programs and applications; teaching students how to reference for essays and assignments; handling payments and invoices and staff payslips; making student placements possible; building a relationship with alumni and fundraising with alumni to help support current students; building relationships between businesses and LSBU and supporting research and innovation at the University.

Making sure that staff are not made compulsorily redundant and not outsourced is about protecting LSBU, defending the education and attainment of students, and making sure that the staff, who do so much for colleagues and students, have secure employment and can get on with their jobs rather than worrying about their futures.

Please add your name to the petition in support of UNISON's campaign against job cuts and outsourcing at LSBU!

* This petition is posted on behalf of London South Bank University UNISON Branch
103 Borough Rd, London SE1 0AA, UK

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2023-05-25 14:06:24 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2023-05-25 12:49:13 +0100

500 signatures reached

2023-05-24 12:00:45 +0100

100 signatures reached

2023-05-24 08:00:06 +0100

50 signatures reached

2023-05-23 12:08:50 +0100

25 signatures reached

2023-05-23 08:31:45 +0100

10 signatures reached