Outsourced Workers in Higher Education Institutions

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2019 Higher Education Service Group Conference
18 September 2018

Conference notes that outsourcing in universities and higher education institutions is on the rise. While some see this as a money saving exercise, it is not. It is unethical, promotes bad and unfair working practices. Some research has shown that outsourcing can push up student fees, making it unfair on staff and students. The aim of eradicating unethical employment practices is a laudable one and the Higher Education Service Group Executive should be fully supporting any work undertaken by branches in this area.

As trade union activists, we all need to be aware of outsourcing and do what we can to eliminate it. For example branches should be encouraged to work with their employers to negotiate and implement:

a)Ethical Employment Champions.

b)Whistle blowing processes that identify instances of unethical employment practices in the supply chain.

c)Appropriate questions being included in the tender process that address ethical employment.

d)No more use of Zero Hour Contracts.

e)An agreement that all suppliers allow Trade Union representatives to access and organise workers.

Conference calls upon the Higher Education Service Group Executive to:

1)Write to universities requesting an implementation plan and time line to achieve the actions noted above.

2)Work with UNISON Labour-Link to highlight this in the UK Parliament and other devolved bodies, in order to put pressure on all Universities to follow suit.

3)Write to all Universities requesting a copy of their code of Practice action plan and whether their suppliers meet the requirements outlined in this motion.