Part of C+’s investigation into the treatment of College Staff

I’ve worked with the scouts about five months in total and I can’t say that I have been mistreated. On the contrary, whenever I had some issues (meal entitlements not being fair between the different types of student workers, for example), the Lodge Manager and Bursar helped me more than I could have hoped. However, the way the scouts see the college is completely different to the way the students do.

When students are in college, everything is nice and quiet. Each scout has to do the same job over and over again and they normally work with the same group of students. So far, the only issue I can remember was when people leave a big mess at the end of term and it’s a bit tricky to clear it all up. They do get extra help in those cases.

However, things get a bit out of control during vacations when the workload ranges from nothing to not humanly possible. There is very bad communication between the Domestic Bursar, Lodge Manager and conference coordinators, and it is often the case that they get told to do something when in fact they have to do the complete opposite.

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A particularly bad experience was when there were two events happening consecutively and the changeover was supposed to be on a Sunday. Everyone knew about it, and the scouts got all the rooms ready by Friday. However, after Housekeeping closed that day, the conference team booked another 30-40 arrivals for Sunday. It ended with one scout working until 11pm, having been in since 9am – there were no apologies, nothing.

They also don’t get paid overtime properly. Supposedly, if college needs people to work more than usual, the scout can choose to get a day off, or get paid time-and-a-half. However, despite this being a rule that the Domestic Bursar made very clear in a meeting with the scouts and the Lodge Manager, it has happened quite a few times that the scouts didn’t get paid their well-deserved extra money at the cut-off date.

Another thing which shocked me were the feedback forms they had to fill in. Most felt like their opinion didn’t matter or that there’s no point writing what you actually think of the job because the manager is going to question it and make you feel like you’re in the wrong.

Finally, this summer the scouts’ contract was changed, and they are no longer allowed to have lunch unless they stay for 30 minutes longer. They were extremely upset about this for a good few days.