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March 8th, 2013:

FX Plus – Sharing out the Pain





FX Plus – Sharing out the Pain

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About 130 employees at Falmouth University, are set to be transferred to a company jointly owned by Falmouth and the University of Exeter known as Falmouth Exeter Plus (FX Plus). The company was set up in 2004 (originally as Tremough Campus Services) and already employs 235 people at the two universities, mainly in catering, estate maintenance and campus services. But those whose contracts are now being transferred are staff who work alongside, and in support of, the academic staff and will include library and IT services staff, academic skills assistants and disability support teams. It is believed to be the first time a UK university has moved its entire academic support service to a separate company.

The shared services model takes advantage of new rules which allow academic institutions to establish private companies but avoid paying VAT as would happen under the rules which govern charities.

Falmouth University staff have reported fears of jobs being recruited to in FX Plus which are significantly lower in terms of pay than for the same job with Falmouth University. New recruits and existing staff at FX Plus have between seven and ten fewer days of annual leave than employees transferring in to the company. There are also concerns that future restructuring could erode TUPE protection and bring TUPE transferred staff onto inferior FX Plus terms and conditions over time.

UCU and GMB met recently with FXPlus CEO and the HR representative (Monday 4 March) and asked again for the implementation of the National Framework Agreement and national pay bargaining. FXPlus management did not make any commitment to our claim but have stated that there will be a terms and conditions review later this year. What this will cover will not be known until terms of reference are agreed by the board of governors in May.  FXPlus management stated that union campaigning “should manage the expectations of staff”.

What we say:

The facilities used by FX Plus exist as a result of gaining EC funding aimed at improving economic performance in one of the poorest regions in the UK. We fear this move introduces local pay bargaining “by the back door” and is in direct contradiction to the spirit of the EC funding. Existing plans will instigate a two-tier system with a race to the bottom which can only further harm our economy. There are simple answers to allay these staff fears:

  • Implement National Framework Agreements for all staff
  • Retain National Pay Bargaining arrangements
  • Plan to bring all staff into this agreement over time
  • Recognition of UCU by FX Plus

UCU and GMB, whose staff are both affected in this transfer, have committed to work together to oppose the move of staff under these conditions and to defend the important right of union recognition.

What Can I do?

Sign the UCU / GMB petition at
Contact your  union rep and offer your support

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Union Recognition: (But Were Afraid To Ask)
Employers have a statutory duty to consult with unions, where recognised, in many areas of employment. Gaining or retaining union recognition is in your interests whether you are a union member or not. Read more at

Download leaflets here:  FX Plus – Leaflet A5