Sign our petition here.

As 2020 draws to a close, the news of a vaccination for the coronavirus offers hope to an end in sight for the pandemic in 2021. But meanwhile many of us are still at home, trying to work in a crisis, or bravely coming to campus and risking our health and safety to keep the campus safe for students. We are using our own personal computers, our kitchen tables, broadband networks, electricity and heating, all increasing our domestic bills. It is estimated that the covid pandemic will lead to people paying £100 more in fuel bills this winter as a result. Till now senior management have failed to show their appreciation of staff who have gone above and beyond. They have refused to acknowledge how much more labour intensive our work is now creating ‘hidden overtime’ with increasing stress as many of us work late into the night to complete tasks.

Under government guidelines employers are permitted to pay staff £6 a week extra tax free to cover some of these extra costs. Many employers, including universities like the University of the Arts, London, have been paying their staff this extra payment since the first lockdown. But not Queen Mary, despite recent financial accounts reporting a healthy surplus. Queen Mary also refused to put student staff working for the Student Union on furlough.

But it is not just staff who are working from home who need and deserve this allowance, which if backdated to the beginning of lockdown would amount to over £200. It is ALL staff including those who have been coming in to work on campus and postgraduate researchers who, on top of teaching for many, also are under pressure to keep producing research ‘as normal’ on tight deadlines. Fixed term and hourly paid colleagues are often most worried about their precarious contracts, a Covid payment like this would be a lifeline for these staff, many of whom are on the lowest incomes.

This is why we are asking all staff to sign this petition below – which we won’t publish until we get over 500 signatures among staff members. If successful we will set up a fund for those on higher salaries who wish to donate their allowance to hourly paid precarious staff. Queen Mary is a family. You don’t have to be a UCU member to sign and students and the wider community can also sign the petition to show their solidarity.

Join the call, and sign here.

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