Goldsmiths cleaning provision


Goldsmiths Senior Management Team (SMT) is keenly aware of the interest that a number of staff and students – and some external stakeholders – have taken in the future of the College’s cleaning services contract, and issues around the recent introduction of new shift patterns for ISS cleaning staff.

This note presents some key facts about the current employment terms of ISS staff, the process leading up to the recent shift changes, and the nature of those changes.

Goldsmiths Cleaning Provision: the factual position (PDF)

Update on 14 December 2018

Senior College colleagues and UNISON representatives met this week to commence formal consultation on the insourcing of cleaning staff. Fortnightly meetings will take place from early in the New Year to progress legal and HR matters relating to the insourcing process. UNISON and colleagues from Estates will also meet regularly to discuss the shape of shift patterns post-transfer, with the views and suggestions of cleaning staff sought.

A timeframe for the insourcing process will be published following the first meeting in the New Year, with UNISON and the College committed to working towards a transfer date of 1 May 2019 assuming all the legalities associated with the process are concluded.

In a joint statement, SMT and UNISON said: "We are pleased the formal consultation process is underway with regard to the insourcing of cleaners and we are looking forward to working in partnership over the next few months to ensure the smoothest possible transfer in the best interests of the cleaning staff. Insourcing and TUPE processes can be notoriously complex, but there is a strong commitment on both sides to work collaboratively to achieve the targeted transfer date of 1 May 2019."

Update on 20 September 2018

Goldsmiths’ Governing Council has today approved plans to bring cleaning provision in-house, and confirmed steps to harmonise the terms and conditions of cleaners with other Goldsmiths staff.

This will ensure that cleaners at Goldsmiths benefit from increased annual leave allowance, access to a better pension provision, and maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay in line with other Goldsmiths staff.

Furthermore, Council has agreed to increase the budgeted number of cleaning hours. This increased provision will give Goldsmiths flexibility to address some of the shift pattern issues that have arisen as a result of the recent restructuring of working arrangements.

Given the complexity involved in transitioning up to 100 cleaning staff into Goldsmiths, there will be a transition period of at least six months from 1 November 2018. During this period, intensive work will be undertaken to complete the TUPE legal process, to undertake appropriate consultation over changes to employment terms, to ensure payroll and employment records are handed over smoothly, to recruit in-house management and additional HR support, and to arrange supplies of materials and consumables. Goldsmiths understands that the process of insourcing such a large group of staff within comparable organisations has taken at least nine months, but SMT will be keen to ensure the process moves as quickly as possible, consistent with its duties to ensure a smooth handover for both the staff directly involved and the wider College.

Goldsmiths’ SMT will continue its discussions with cleaning staff and their UNISON representatives over these transitional arrangements and any residual issues relating to the recent shift pattern changes.

Update on 6 September 2018

Earlier this week, partly in response to requests from staff and student campaigners, SMT members invited UNISON representatives and members of the ISS cleaning team to a special meeting in order to provide an opportunity for open discussion about the recent shift changes and the shape of future provision.  

SMT is liaising with UNISON over holding further such meetings in the coming weeks to continue this process of meaningful discussion. Steps will be taken to ensure these meetings are scheduled to allow for maximum attendance by cleaning staff, whose time will be reimbursed.

Meanwhile, work is being accelerated on preparing detailed specifications and costings to enable a proper assessment of options for cleaning provision from November 2018. The approach set out in the detailed factual note above – that the stipulated employment terms and conditions will ensure all cleaners are given parity of conditions with other Goldsmiths staff – sets a very high bar for external providers, and it is quite possible that an insourced provision proves the most viable option.