CLEANERS at the University of Glasgow have voted in support of industrial action in an ongoing dispute over working conditions.

Members of trade union Unite have backed a consultative ballot for industrial action at the university following months of increasing pressures on cleaning staff.

In a vote last week, 86 per cent of cleaners indicated support to move forward to a ballot if ongoing concerns are not addressed.

It is understood these focus on lack of staff, cleaning tasks not being fully completed due to redeployment to other areas of shortage, longer hours and concerns over working conditions.


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However, the trade union stressed this did not mean that strike action was imminent, and it was now down to university bosses to bring forward solutions.

Alison MacLean, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “The university are compromising on cleanliness and hygiene instead of properly funding a vital service, the health and wellbeing of many of our lowest paid members is suffering as a result.

"We will enter talks with the university in an attempt to get these issues fully addressed through the dispute resolution procedures that are in place, if they are not, then Unite will have no option but to ballot our members.”

Issues surrounding the treatment of staff were first raised in February, when it was claimed some lecturers at the university were being forced to clean their own classrooms.


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The institution's rector, Aamer Anwar, called the situation 'unacceptable'.

He added: "It is unacceptable that our university which calls itself a ‘world leader’ should treat our lowest paid staff with such contempt.

"It has become increasingly clear that unfilled vacancies, lack of job security and increased stress has compromised the university's cleaning service and health and safety standards, all of which impacts on the quality of life for our students and staff.


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"It is time that our cleaning staff were treated with the respect that all members of our university deserve.

"As rector, they have my unconditional support and I would urge all our students and staff to support their struggle for decent, fair and acceptable working conditions.”

A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said: “We have responded positively to all the points raised and are working collaboratively with trade union reps to address them.

"The changes include guaranteeing a minimum of 16 hours work to all members of staff, ending the use of fixed-term contracts, and introducing new cover arrangements to manage shortages.

"All colleagues are already paid at or above the voluntary living wage. We are committed to providing services via direct labour, and the national negotiations on pay have already produced an offer (still under discussion at national level) which would see the lowest paid receive an above-inflation offer.”