Reduced pay for new staff at University of South Wales is 'immoral', say unions

The changes will affect new employees at the university from December 2020. Credit: ITV Wales News

The University of South Wales has been criticised for planning to employ new support staff on what Unions call ''greatly reduced pay and inferior employment contracts''.

Employees have called the university's plan to create a subsidiary ''unsavoury'' while trade unions, GMB and UNISON, claim it is ''immoral.''

Unions say it will allow the university to employ support staff on lower wages, reduced pension, maternity/paternity pay, annual leave and sick pay.

The changes will affect incoming support staff, including workers in I.T., examinations, academic registry, libraries, estates, accommodation and student support from 1 December 2020. Academic staff will not be affected.

GMB and Unison say they will resist the proposals which they say will see new employees to be treated as ''second-class citizens.''

Credit: ITV Wales News

Nicola Savage, the Education lead for GMB called the move is ''appalling''.

"Quite frankly, this is an appalling, and unnecessary move for USW.  The University has confirmed that it holds millions of pounds in the coffers.  For many of our members who are Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) members, this move will have a serious impact on their future as well.''

Dan Beard from UNISON said the university is behaving "scandalously". He said it is "not being honest" with staff about what is being proposed.

He added: "This move will tarnish USW’s academic reputation and students and the local community will see it for what it is: a highly divisive strategy."

A University of South Wales spokesperson said the pay of new employees will be based on the same grading structure currently used by the university.

 “The higher education sector is facing an uncertain time financially. We are putting plans in place to ensure that we can maintain a sound financial footing and protect jobs.

''This latest development will enable the University to manage its future liabilities and be able to plan with more certainty its future pension costs.''

The University added it is still committed to proving a ''positive and rewarding'' environment for its employees.