The university has depended upon the goodwill of staff to provide key additional
support roles for manyyears.
This is often unrecognised yet provides an essential function within our
Fire Wardens and First Aiders are prime examples of this.
We are all aware of the hazards of fire, both to property and person, and the fact
that we need trained staff to ensure pronrpt and safe evacuation in the event of
The university now provides a growing role within the community.
Evening classes and lectures, exhibitions, and open days all contribute to the risk
factor and increase the need for us to ensure we are equipped to respond
immediately to any eventuality
The first aiders are likewise first on the scene if an accident or incident occurs.
Anything from cut fingers to fainting trips and falls to machine injuries, the first
aiders respond to prevent any escalation and ensure the patient is protected
until medical assistance arrives.
These roles are in a very real sense contributing to protecting and saving lives,
raising the profile of the universityand contributin to our efforts in marketing
So how do we recognise the essential contribution that is made bythe staff who
undertake tlre stressful and demanding duties that are required by these roles?
There is no recognition of anykindfor the staffwho assume these additional
Unite has been asking for some time now that Dundee University considers
rewarding t}ese volunteers, not hecause they require it, but rather because it
seems the right thing to do.
The majority of these volunteers are support staffand we have seen tlese staff
numbers dwindle over the last 10 years.
We now employ
the lowest ratio of university support staff in the country.
As we see further proposed reductions in this staff group we must ask how these
roles can be filled in the future if we do not seek to recognise them in some way.
The recent fire in the Giasgow School of Art is a classic example that we should
never become complacent.
Unite recognises that the university is seeking financial savings and therefore
understands that a financial reward may not be practical.
We do however feel thatwithoutsome form of acknowledgement staff may
withdraw from these duties, many have already done so.
This is not because they are uncaring; rather these responsibilities place staff
under additional pressure when they have seen their workload [and stress
levels] increase because of staff reductions.
We therefore propose thatwe offer a simple additional days leave to these key
voiunteer groups, (Fire Wardens and First Aiders)
We would suggest the Christmas break, when activities tendto run down to
accommodate the holidays in any case, so that there would be little or no
disruption to the departments.
Perhaps 24th December for Fire Wardens and January 3rd for First Aiders as
If these dates are not convenient for the departments then a mutually acceptable
day at a later time could be agreed.
This would enhance the moral of staff who perform these duties, [required by
law] at a minimal (some would say non existent) cost to the institute and
hopefully address the problems we have retaining these roles.
It would also ensure that as an organisation we could be seen to demonstrate our
commitmentto our Safety Responsibilities and ensure legal compliance.
We have considered this rnatter for some time and taking all fuctors into account
this proposal would seem the bestway forward.