Queens University must avail of eleventh hour opportunity to furlough students union workers to avoid escalating campaign for wage justice

HMRC officials stand ready to receive application from Queens to furlough and backdate payments for student union workers ahead of midnight deadline

Unite legal department letter highlights that HMRC guidelines have been changed to remove any impediment to use of furlough in cases like this

Unite Hospitality organiser, Neil Moore, said:

“Zero-hours, and casual contract, workers at Queens student union have been left without pay since August of this year as a result of the refusal of university authorities to avail of government furlough supports for workers.

“This is not only callous, but inexplicable. The university can access wage supports under the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme without any cost to itself.

“We understand that HMRC are standing ready to receive and process a last minute application from the university. It is not too late for Queens to do the right thing, furlough their workers and relieve some of the financial hardship our members had to endure.

“The University has responded to the growing groundswell of indignation by claims that seeking furlough support for the workers would be ‘fraudulent’. This is simply untrue. Unite’s legal department has issued Queens with a letter challenging the legal advice from the university as simply incorrect.

“Unite hospitality is calling for the university authorities to avail of this window of opportunity and make the decision in their interests of their employees and their own organisation. If they don’t, the campaign to secure basic pay justice for these workers is sure to escalate. These workers are committed to the fight for pay justice”, Mr Moore concluded.

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