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Manchester SU staff speak out amid claims of ‘inadequate’ furlough payments

Students’ Union staff are outraged after their furlough arrangement for November provides less pay than the government recommends, due to “inadequate” calculations by their management.

The SU said staff could receive a payment of 80% of their average wage in September and October 2020 through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). However, shifts were significantly reduced in this period due to Manchester’s tier three status, leaving staff with lower average wages than before coronavirus.

The methodology allegedly goes against government advice that furlough calculations applied in the first lockdown can be used for staff who were employed before 19th March 2020. This agreement would give higher payments to many workers, as calculations include their salaries from months where shifts were unaffected by coronavirus.

In a letter to the HR department, Staff also felt there had been a lack of communication from the SU, saying they were given just over one day to sign to the furlough arrangement, with ‘no opportunity for real discussion’.

The letter demanded that the SU reconsider their furlough calculations for November, with the government deadline for applications not due until 14th December. It also called for improved wellbeing support to student staff and for an apology from the Union’s management.

An open meeting with senior leaders has been scheduled for 20th November at 11 am on Zoom to address staff’s concerns.

A spokesperson for the SU told The Mancunion: “We have been listening to the concerns raised by our student staff. We fully intend to review furlough arrangements and whilst we acknowledge that we didn’t communicate as well as we should have, we are going to ensure that our student staff team is properly consulted with moving forward. We feel it would only be fair to share that review with our student staff first at the upcoming student staff meeting.”

Tags: Coronavirus manchester, furlough, manchester university students union, pay

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