UNISON calls on Scotland’s largest college to pay workers the Real Living Wage

The City of Glasgow College is to investigate moving the statue of Emily Pankhurst in London to the gates of the College whilst not paying low paid women the Real Living Wage of £8.75 per hour.

A minute from a Board meeting on the 11th of October 2017 obtained by UNISON unveil that the Chair of City of Glasgow College Alasdair Barron suggested that consideration be given to relocate the Emily Pankhurst monument in Tower Gardens, London to the City of Glasgow College. He stated that this would be fitting given the College believed in “equality, opportunity and the rights of women”. The Board agreed to investigate this further.

UNISON says that far from celebrating the rights of women it is more an insult to women that the College is responsible for around 50 outsourced catering staff members (predominantly women) working within the College for Baxter Storey struggling on poverty pay. Living Wage accreditation in Colleges helps ensure low paid workers in outsourced companies are protected from poverty pay.

UNISON was responsible through a pay deal in 2015/2016 for the introduction of the Living Wage in all of Scotland’s Colleges for directly employed staff. As part of the same deal Colleges agreed to work to achieve Living Wage Accreditation status by December 2016 which would see improvements to the salaries of all workers within Colleges. In February 2017 College Scotland Chief Executive Shona Struthers apologised for the delay in implementation. The Minister for Education Shirley-Anne Somerville also wrote to the SFC in March 2017 saying “there are currently 5 Colleges and 5 Universities, not accredited as Living Wage employers. I ask that you build on this by encouraging more Colleges and Universities to become accredited employers”.

City of Glasgow College is the only College in Glasgow (and one of only 5 in Scotland) on the list of shame who have yet to achieve Living Wage Accreditation. The self-titled “super college” lists on its website that it works with some of the most prestigious bodies to deliver internationally accredited qualifications. It is regrettable that as the largest College in Scotland and in Glasgow that it is failing badly in how it treats the lowest paid workers in the sector.

UNISON has been leading the fight to ensure staff working in outsourced services like catering, security and cleaning are paid a decent wage for the invaluable services they offer to staff and students.

Chris Greenshields, UNISON Chair Further Education, said: “For the biggest College in Scotland to have ignored the request of a Cabinet Minister for over a year and remain on the list of Colleges not yet accredited is bad enough, to run over the target date of December 2016 by 15 months is even worse.

To compound this by deluding themselves that they are concerned for the rights of women while subjecting them to low pay just beggars belief”.