Victory against insecure employment as Hackney bus escorts gain permanent jobs
07 September 2016
A victory against the insecurity of agency working has been won on behalf of 42 escorts on Hackney school buses who now have permanent jobs.
Unite, the country’s largest union, took up the cudgels for the escorts, all of whom were employed via an agency – and many had been employed on that basis for over 10 years; with some for up to 16 years.
The escorts employed by Hackney Learning Trust, part of the council’s education department, are now on permanent 20 hours per week term time only contracts.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Insecure work is one of the curses that plagues the UK’s employment landscape in 2016 – whether it is zero hours contracts and/or employment through an agency.
“Unite is delighted to have won this battle on behalf of the escorts who were employed on agency contracts, some for up to 16 years.
“The victory is given extra piquancy by the fact that the escorts are nearly all women and the majority are from an ethnic minority background.
“We launched a campaign to win permanent jobs for all the escorts. The law is not particularly helpful in this area as the length of service as an agency member of staff does not give you permanent status with the organisation that engages you, in this case, Hackney Learning Trust.
“We had to construct an industrial campaign, but we already had the previous victory to build on so the employer knew that we would be prepared to take action. We are also engaged with other campaigns in Hackney involving school cleaners and parking wardens – it is clear that Unite means business.
“The employer agreed to offer permanent jobs without the union having to take strike action – but we had made sure that everybody was clear that should we have had to, we would.
“The result is that everybody who applied for a permanent job was successful. That’s 42 workers that our union won permanent jobs for – and proves, even on this relatively small scale, the importance and relevance of trade unions in 2016.
“One worker was originally unsuccessful, but, even in that case, the employer changed their mind and offered her a permanent post.
“The workers have not had to make any concessions with hours or pay in order to win permanent jobs – in fact, it’s a win, win.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.