New scheme will offer free, late night transport home for faculty staff at Strathclyde
University of Strathclyde Students’ Union has launched a scheme offering free late-night transportation for its employees. Under the new scheme, any worker who finishes their shift outside of the public transportation operation hours will be entitled to a free taxi ride home paid for by the Union. The aim of this scheme is to provide a safer working environment for Union employees during hours in which affordable public transport options are limited.
Strathclyde Students’ Union’s decision to introduce this scheme makes it the first employer in Glasgow to meet the recommendations set out in Unite’s hospitality charter. The charter sets out a number of demands relating to working conditions for hospitality staff, including the provision of minimum hours contracts, allowing trade union access and guaranteeing all tips go to members of staff.
Speaking on social media, Matt Crilly, the president of the Union, stated that by meeting the recommendations of the charter the Union hoped to become “the best hospitality employer in Glasgow”. Crilly also called for other employers to follow the Union’s example, stating: “With many Strathclyde students working in the hospitality industry, I would now encourage other employers in the city to follow our lead and meet the conditions of the charter.”
Better Than Zero, a pressure group set up by the Scottish Trades Union Congress, has been campaigning for similar measures to be introduced across the hospitality industry. Claire Peden, an organiser from the campaign, welcomed the student union’s decision stating: “Strathclyde Union is paving the way for others to put workers safety above profit. This not only shows that they value and respect their workers but also that the union is forward thinking and is willing to lead the way in changing the negative aspects of hospitality work.”
While campaigners agree that the initiative from the Strathclyde Students’ Union is a step in the right direction, the majority of employers in the hospitality industry do not currently have similar provisions in place for their workers. Speaking of behalf of Better Than Zero, Peden argued that more work was needed to convince employers to put similar measures in place to protect workers.
Regarding future progress, Peden argued: “Better than Zero's safe home campaign has been highlighting the disregard to safety many employers have when it comes to their employees’ safe travel home. We have been met with hostility and anger when approaching this issue. We are aware of some good examples but these are far and few between.
“It would be optimistic to assume others will follow suit but with the voices of late night workers coupled with the positive examples such as SU we will continue the campaign with support from Unite and the BFAWU to challenge poor practice and call out those who ignore their duty of care.”