THE Transport and General Workers Union has delivered a four-point submission to the Dearing committee highlighting the poor pay and conditions of the higher education sector's 32,000 manual and ancillary staff.
The T&G's 11-page submission, The Forgotten Army, sets out four objectives: ending low pay; ending discrimination against manual workers and women through single status bargaining and employment; a national agreement improving career progression and flexibility; a new national agreement promoting these aims, and the value of national bargaining.
It reflects the anger felt among manual staff that, while they struggle with heavier workloads to keep expanding higher education running, they are among the lowest paid workers in Europe. The submission reveals that grade 1 workers, the lowest-paid manual staff, were earning 44.6 per cent of average basic earnings in 1995. This had fallen from 47.9 per cent in 1990.
Women fare worse as most are employed part-time. The document says that 76.2 per cent of female university manual and ancillary staff earn less than Pounds 4 an hour. Equivalent figures for the NHS and local authorities are 48 per cent and 52.8 per cent.
The T&G also wants a guarantee of a minimum five days training annually and staff to take courses to enhance personal and career development.