Update on Cambridge branch campaign to stop outsourcing
The Cambridge branch intends to loudly fight the University’s foot-dragging on protecting directly employed staff and their lack of trustworthiness over outsourcing every step of the way.
As you will be aware Cambridge University Unite branch has been firmly opposing the threat to outsource the Estates Maintenance Unit (EMU) at the University with demonstrations, support from their local politicians, and press coverage, as well as serving notice on the University on 1 February for an industrial action ballot. The ballot was not followed through then because recent reports suggested that the University no longer intended to transfer any of the EMU to private contractors and that their University employment would be preserved. Management seems now, however, to be rapidly sliding back towards their former position on the EMU, even when a joint working party has started on how maintenance work will be conducted in the future. This means the Unite campaign is continuing and, perhaps, will include serving a brand new notice for an industrial action ballot. The Cambridge branch intends to loudly fight the University’s foot-dragging on protecting directly employed staff and their lack of trustworthiness over outsourcing every step of the way.
If this is not enough to contend with, the branch is now also scrutinising the University plans over the potential loss of work, this time, for local private contractors who have been undertaking some of the maintenance work for many years. The University now wishes to place the management of much of the estate maintenance in the hands of one large contractor. While the branch believes the use of private contractors is due to insufficient internal investment in the EMU over many years, Unite is also concerned about the future of all workers that could now be affected by the University’s plans for looking after the estate. The branch believes it is likely that those firms without a contract with the University – which is many – will be swept away by the new broom contractor. This is likely to be bad news for the workers employed by these small businesses, for the local economy and community – universities are, after all, major employers.