Stop cuts at Sussex University

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GMB, the union for University support staff, will undertake a consultative ballot of nursery staff at Sussex University following proposed cuts to pay and conditions worth £95,000 a year.

Mid Counties Co-operative, which runs nursery provision at the Sussex University campus site in Falmer, are to cut pay by between £5,000 and £14,000 per year for as many as twelve long term workers. Workers were transferred over to Mid Counties Co-operative under transfer of undertakings regulations after the company took over nursery provision at the site.

The new £2.1 million Co-Operative Brighton Childcare Nursery, which includes a £200,000 outside play area, has reported positive growth with an estimated income of over £850,000 sales or fees a year.

Gary Palmer, GMB Organiser, said “Mid Counties Management has refused to clarify what’s really going on behind the scenes: On one hand we’re told business is booming, with new families joining the nursery and new staff being actively recruited. On the other, management has said that inherited staff wages from the TUPE process in 2012 is forcing the business to run at a loss and that only a £95,000 pay cut will see it back into profitability.

On top of the pay cuts, changes to sickness and holiday entitlements will mean everything that GMB members have earned and gained through long service and personal development will be slashed in value to enable Mid Counties Co-Operative to increase profits.

Management has presented no business plan which shows how they intend to increase profile and profitability in the long term.

By undertaking this consultative ballot, GMB has initiated the first steps towards our members taking industrial action as a result of Mid Counties Co-Operative’s poor treatment of our members, their failure to meaningfully consult with GMB members and the take it or leave it proposition towards the pay cut.

GMB will remain open to discussion if the ‘community owned, community led, community rewarding’ Mid Counties Co-operative wish to engage meaningfully during the balloting process.

Our suggestion is that Mid counties Management look to their words if they require inspiration: ‘Working together to create a better, fairer world’ doesn’t appear to include their own staff in Brighton.”