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Urgent advice as union no use

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by tardis, Jan 30, 2019.

  1. tardis

    tardis New commenter

    I need to be careful what I write in case I am identified but I hope someone can offer me sound advice as I'm rock bottom and my union has been next to useless in providing adequate help.

    I am self employed and work for an independent. I had a bout of illness and informed them I wouldn't be in. They phoned me asking me to email.over all the work for the class which I found heartless as I was too ill to do this. Note I do not get paid sick leave and only for hours done in class with all planning and marking done in my own time. Now I find myself without any offer of work from them and I strongly believe it was because of the sickness absence even though I had provided good results and retention for this place. Even with being self employed I am obliged to get sick notes etc and I just wonder if anyone can tell me what I can do in this situation as I have been treated unfairly or am I just being daft...?
    agathamorse and Rentaghost like this.
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    So, since your illness, they have declined to make use of your services?

    On what basis did they employ you? Call you and offer you work by the day? Or did you go through an agency? Was there some agreement that you'd be employed for a certain period? And they're now failing to honour that agreement?

    On the face of it they have simply decided to look elsewhere for staff. That's the only conclusion I can draw on the strength of what you have stated. I suspect it must be much more complicated than that.
  3. mothergoose2013

    mothergoose2013 Occasional commenter

    I'm afraid I don't know the answers but am guessing that being self-employed you would have some kind of contract that you negotiated yourself / via an agency?
    I hope you are feeling better and that your situation will work out.
    Apologies for my incapacity to be more useful but at least it will bump your thread!
    Take care xxx
    agathamorse and tardis like this.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I have a (very small) self employed contract with a school. It's a pain because I have to do a tax form, pay NI, get no sick pay, have pretty limited security of tenure.
    I tolerate it because it only represents about 2% of my monthly income and I do it because it's fun.
    If it represented a bigger proportion of my income, I would (as you are) be more than somewhat upset. As @grumpydogwoman says, we need more detail. It looks form the detail you've given as if they've been taking you for a bit of a ride. Sadly there may not be much legal recourse, although I would be inclined to invoice them for any cover work you sent in.
    How long was the bout of illness?
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. tardis

    tardis New commenter

    Thanks for the response. I was put on a contract which requires month termination between both parties. No agency is involved. They offer work when a unit becomes available and it is done over a certain period. I have been consistently offered work for the nearly two years and yet nothing now and I suspect rather than terminate my contract they just won't offer me anything. It is not complex in any sense as you point out grumpy. I think they are peeved that I didn't provide them with cover work but I don't see why I should when I was in a serious state.
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. tardis

    tardis New commenter

    I didn't send in any cover work as too ill to do that.
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. parseltongue

    parseltongue New commenter

    If your contract says they should give a month's notice,(but haven't) simply invoice them for one month's fees and thank them for working with you. Unfortunately, unions tend to only cover employees.
    Weald56 and agathamorse like this.
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I don't quite understand this. You say you are self employed, but then say you have a contract?

    They randomly call you when a unit becomes available, but they haven't done so recently?
    Maybe the person they called in an emergency when you were off, turned out to be able to offer other things as well and so has been used more recently. It sounds harsh to write it, but maybe they turned out to be closer to what the school wants.

    Being self employed is a risky business and sucks sometimes.

    Is this the same college as you wrote about here?
    If so, you are probably best off out of it.
    harsh-but-fair and agathamorse like this.
  9. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Have you consulted your union or an employment lawyer? [EDIT Just noticed your thread tile. How have union been useless?]

    It's not at all clear that you actually self-employed. My feeling (and I am not a lawyer so don't take my word for it) is that being obliged to get sick notes is incompatible with self-employment. What you describe sounds more like a zero hours contract of employment. That makes a big difference to your rights.

    If you are genuinely self employed "fairness" is largely irrelevant.
    mothorchid likes this.
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Is there work left to do on a unit?

    Are they saying they don't have a unit for you? I imagine that's what they'll say. We have no unit so here's your monrh's notice. We've no work now and we won't have work in a month's time so fare thee well.

    What do you believe you are entitled to? What do you expect? To do four weeks more for them? Complete a unit you began?
  11. tardis

    tardis New commenter

    No I have moved on from that place.
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    So what are you wanting your union to do for you? What is your desired outcome?
  13. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    It sounds like you have a zero hours contract with them. In which case they're not doing anything wrong. They're not obliged to offer any work and you're not obliged to accept any.

    I would consider finding somewhere else to get work from whilst keeping the current contract. They may offer you something in the future but at least then you'll be in a more commanding position.
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Yet you say you have worked for this place in this thread for two years, yet were working at the one in that thread in May 2018?

    It sounds very much like you effectively work as a supply teacher, and have been a regular contact for the school/college. However, as with all supply teaching, if the establishment don't have work for you, they don't call you. It could be that they haven't had a need since your illness, you don't say how long ago it was, or that they found someone that better suits their needs. Or even that they phoned an agency when you were off and decided that, despite the cost, it is a much easier way of doing things.

    Your union won't be able to insist the school employ you and you are assuming it was because of the illness, you have no proof of this. Do you really want to work in a place that you think doesn't want you? Move on and find some other places which will appreciate you and offer you a proper contract.
    grumpydogwoman and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  15. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I actually think there is more to this story that your posts are conveying, but that's just me. I'm wondering if you followed their procedure for notifying of absence? Did you contact in the time outlined in their policies as far as you possibly could? Was it only at the last minute that they found out you could not send any work?
    I suppose what you could take from this for possible future scenarios-if you get a long term post (regular or irregular) could you, say, forward the complete module's worth of work to the students right at the beginning? You can then work through with them step by step, but should you somehow not be able to be there, at least they have the stuff.
    Or could you put a plan on the wall of what you intend to do, so if you had such a phone call requesting cover, you can refer to the plan? Or perhaps leave a bank of worksheets for sts to do independently if you cannot get in. There's nothing to say you will need it, but it's there.
    It's not your job to do this when you are ill, but equally it could well be your job when not ill to make things transparent enough for others, to know what you are doing and when.
    You guess they were "peeved", but my guess is more that they were inconvenienced, and that the kids were left bimbling about for a lesson or two.
    It actually bothers me that at no point do you show any regard for the kids, you just state what you are entitled to not do. And so my suggestions above are not for you, not for your managers, but for those kids who may be left dangling.
    Stuff you can do when not ill, to help them when you are. And also of course to help them decide to keep having you back. Maybe useful in future.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  16. tardis

    tardis New commenter

    i think it rather disingenuous of you to state that I showed no regard for the kids. Of course I followed procedure and besides the kids you refer to are actually post 16 and they get help from me outside of working hours for which I am not paid. Please don't make assumptions like that as I find it trully offensive.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. tardis

    tardis New commenter

    I worked in two places as both were part time.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I'm sorry you are offended. Obviously I didn't intend that.
    However you've completely misread my post.
    I have not commented on your regard for the kids when you work at all.
    I have commented on the content of your posts, and I have stated that in your posts you fail to mention the kids. If you review your posts in the thread it is empirically true. You do not mention them at all.

    You seem to be intent on taking offence, so I shall wish you good luck.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  19. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Your exact employment status is unclear, so it is impossible to say what, if anything, you are entitled to. It may well be that your union has the legal expertise to know that there is nothing you can do, and that is why they cannot offer 'adequate help'. Of course, they may just be useless but, to show that, you would need proper legal advice from somebody who can look at your contract and know all the circumstances rather than listening to the sort of suggestions we can make on a public forum.

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