The University has announced that it will introduce changes to college housekeeping and portering services for the 2020/21 academic year that will standardize services across all colleges. These will include all university-owned college bedrooms being cleaned on a termly basis and increasing the amount of staff in portering services as well as standardising shift patterns and duration for porters.
These changes are part of an ongoing plan to increase centralisation of the University. The University claims that “the review seeks to enhance the student experience” and will improve the effectiveness of housekeeping and portering services. But at what cost?
It is likely that these changes will reduce the amount of hours worked by housekeeping and portering staff, which of course will come at a cost to their incomes. It’s also possible that porters and cleaners may take voluntary redundancies as a result of these changes, which will greatly impact the welfare of students as well as the college community.
It’s difficult to see how these changes will enhance the student experience when the jobs of the people who have the greatest impact on our welfare are under threat. This seems like odd timing to announce these changes as well, when academic staff are on strike due to a dispute with the University over their “failure to make significant improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads”.
It appears that the University has very little respect for their staff and that they are prioritising centralisation at the cost of people’s jobs and pay, as well as the student experience. This doesn’t make for a healthy environment to work in or to learn in, and it’s about time that the University started listening to their staff and did something to address this.
Image: justinrudisille via Creative Commons