An uneven New Year's eve

6th August 1999 at 01:00
FROM BURST pipes to burglar alarms, college janitors will get a pound;500 payout if they are called to work on New Year's Eve.

But, as things stand, their colleagues at primary and secondary schools get nothing at all.

Under a deal struck by public-sector union Unison, all maintenance, security and portering staff in the further education sector will get pound;250 just for being on stand-by. And a further pound;250 if actually called out.

So why the preferential rate for college staff, given that school caretakers are represented by the same union?

A Unison spokesman said: "It reflects the huge responsibility they have caring for buildings that are used by the public in the day and closed at night." The Association of Colleges was quick to agree the rate.

There may be more to it, of course. Even if two staff were called out at each of the 350 FE colleges, the bill would come to

a mere pound;350,000. The same service in schools would cost pound;26

million.

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