I am contacting you as a member of the University of Birmingham’s Unison branch.
[Add a personalised sentence to explain how you have heard about the event they will be attending]
I was disappointed, however, to learn that the event is due to take place in the Edgbaston Park Hotel (EPH), which is a new venue that has opened near to the university. Although it is great to see investment in the place that you work, our UNISON branch has recently voted to launch a boycott of this particular hotel. Let me explain why.
The university opened the Hotel in July 2018. But from the outset they decided to set it up as a wholly owned subsidiary company, insisting that it was a separate entity from the university, while at the same time relying on its’ services, reputation and image, and appointing University of Birmingham (UoB) Directors to the Hotel’s board. It has now become clear that the reasons for doing this were to outsource staff and services and, as a consequence, employ people to work at the hotel on worse pay and terms and conditions than the rest of us who work at the university.
For example, EPH staff only received a pay rise of a mere 1p in 2019, bringing their pay up to the national minimum of £8.21/hour, while staff directly employed by UoB are paid at least £9/hour. Whilst other UoB staff are given 3 months’ notice if they are made redundant, staff at the Hotel are only given 2 weeks. UoB staff get 6 months sick pay after 6 months of service, whilst EPH staff have only 15 days of sick pay after 3 years of service. Perhaps most shockingly, UoB staff have union recognition and can collectively bargain for better pay, equality, and improved working conditions. EPH senior management are refusing to recognise unions for new staff.
These are just a few of the worst examples which are part of a pattern of anti-union policies which have been rolled out at the Hotel and set a worrying precedent for working practices at the wider university.
Considering the above, I was wondering, therefore, if you would consider asking the university to change the venue for your lecture? The university has ample venues on the main campus to host the event, and continuing to hold it at EPH prevents UNISON members and our supporters from attending.
I was also wondering if you might consider adding your name as a supporter of our campaign to boycott the Hotel? We are currently preparing to launch a website to raise awareness of our campaign which will include gathering signatures in support.
I look forward to hearing from you and really hope you will consider supporting us.