Friends House staff consultation ends

BYM engage with staff on ways to save costs, protect jobs and avoid compulsory redundancies

Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) has said that it is ‘not likely to announce any decisions imminently’ following staff surveys to consider ‘a wide range of cost-cutting measures’.

All staff at Friends House were consulted as BYM grappled with the dilemma of how to reduce costs and ‘protect jobs wherever possible’.

The dialogues in August followed news that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a ‘significant effect’ on BYM’s finances, with both Quiet Company, BYM’s hospitality business, and Swarthmoor Hall closed to paying customers during the lockdown. Considered measures include voluntary redundancy, reduced hours and a pay freeze.

It is understood that Unite, the recognised union for BYM staff, held a separate ballot of members on the main proposals, which has been fed back to BYM.

Ellis Brooks, a BYM union officer for Unite, said: ‘Unite the Union representatives are in consultation with BYM about the employer’s cost-saving proposals for the charity, church and Quiet Company. The aim is to avoid compulsory redundancies while maintaining fair pay and conditions. The union’s emphasis is on protecting the most vulnerable staff.’ The union has also been running a hardship fund through donations to support members hardest hit by the pandemic.

Paul Parker, recording clerk for BYM, said that BYM is not consulting on compulsory redundancies. ‘Britain Yearly Meeting consulted all staff during a three-week period in August on a number of measures and ideas, and expect to engage further with staff over the rest of the year about a range of ways to save costs, protect jobs and avoid compulsory redundancies.’

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