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General Chat Thread, Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON in General; Hi All I work in a fairly Large Comprehensive School, have done for the last 4.5 years. Started as their ...
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    Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    Hi All

    I work in a fairly Large Comprehensive School, have done for the last 4.5 years. Started as their only Technician on a less than admirable salary, now i'm the ICT Manager and have my own Technician. Still not paid fairly IMO of course. Due to the Exhausting and overly demanding volume of work here there was no choice but to employ a Technician, however, the Technician only works part time. 8:30 - 1:30. An the work set is more than enough to ensure "busy" days. I am the direct line manager for my technician and am therefore responsible for setting work out and training of. I know that most of you do the same job, i just want to paint you a picture of my position here.

    I'm responisible for everything IT based here, infrastructure, servers, cabling....you name it and i have to do it.

    My problem stems from the School asking/forcing me to implement Exchange Server for over 1300 users. Now i'm not "pretending" to know all there is to know about Exchange Server but i'm fairly up to speed with how much work it takes to implement such a thing and whats involved in the management. I don't do anything half "assed" and would always do things thoroughly. I know you can throw and Exchange box in and just get it "working", but to do the job properly i believe takes more than that. Security precautions, message filtering, virus scanning and disk quotation are just "some" of the things that spring to the front of my thoughts.

    Now I've looked for Exchange Administrator Jobs across the net and have found that £30K salaries are in place for such a position. There is obviously a reason for this!! Plus these Admins are only doing "one" job day in day out. How am i expected to do all this and my job too???

    I've taken on "huge" amounts of responsibility during my time here for no extra salary increase with the hope that i will be "rewarded". Lol, guess i was wrong. The school now think that Exchange Server is part of my job description. I have had 1 meeting with the School Manager to discuss this but i was left confused and have now sought Unison advice, they back my position and have said it is not part of my job description and that it is an extra duty which would demand more responsibility and extra time would have to be allocated outside of my "normal" job to properly manage and implement the system. I wrote a letter to the school explaining that i would not take on this extra responsibility with no course of re-numeration or even a job evaluation, just as the union told me to.

    I have since received a letter from the School keeping with their original story that it is part of my job description. I now have to see my Unison representative and start the process of pleading my case. To say this has caused me stress would be an understatement. I feel pressured in work and it is beginning to affect my health. Tension headaches etc. Lets get one thing straight though, i'm no wimp and will not be pushed over a barrel. But as we all know schools are weird places to work at times due to the politics and sheer volumes of different stresses put upon you.

    So i'm asking advice here! What would you do? Just give in and do it? Or fight your corner and make a point, which could cause you more hassle?

    I'm going to speak to my Union in person this evening hopefully, taking all documents with me. I'm not looking forward to coming into work everyday like i used to. I Used to enjoy my job. I wont discuss my current salary but mentioning the 30K Exchange Administrator - I'll tell you it's a "LOT" less.

    I look forward to any response from anyone who can relate to this or who can give any advice.

    Thanks in advance.

    Mr.G

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    Re: Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    Anyone??

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    Have you considered asking for some exchange training?

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    Re: Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    I'd fight my corner.

    However does your contract state after the usual list of jobs you are expected to do ... and anything else deemed appropriate by the head, deputy or SLT? or something to that effect? I know mine does, well it syas something about other projects or tasks.


    Wes

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    Re: Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    I think I would fight it out
    Yes, contracts do tend to say that you can do anything else they deem appropriate, but if your level of work/supervision etc has increased dramatically already with no increased salary then the school has already crossed the boundary of what is sensible.
    If Unison think you have a case, I would go with them
    Get a list of the things involved in installing exchange server and the jobs to maintain it.
    Also list all the extra things you have taken on since you started there - after all, if you now manage a technician that is a big 'extra' and should be rewarded as such.
    Perhaps a two pronged attack - on the one hand, Exchange is a huge extra, and on the other, you are not being paid as a Network manager whic is what you are. If you can't get them one way, get them the other.
    Try not to give up - I know it is hard but this is what schools rely on so that they do not have to sort out their pay etc
    Good luck!

    Sarah

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    Re: Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    I see your point in wanting a pay rise for the job you do, but to be honest, once Exchange is in place within a school there is no real difference to maintaining other servers, as far as time is concerned, within a school environment anyway.

    You don't mention your pay scale, but I'd suggest you compromise part way, because there is no way you will get 30K just for looking after an Exchange box in a school.

    The best way forward would be to carry out a time/job evaluation for your post and approach the management again.

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    Re: Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    I would stick to your guns for a Job evaluation... there is a limit to how much you can actually do under the "anything else that management request" get-out clause.

    I wouldn't pin your hopes on the 30K - schools are notoriously bad payers. however, you should be able to get you job description to more accurately reflect your job... hopefully the pay will follow.

    The way your SMT are seeing it: Exchange is software they want and your job is to install and support software they want... as such they may have an argument that it is included in your contract.

    Good luck

    Lin

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    Re: Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    The problem is that if people dont know enough about IT, then they could request you install and look after anything. I am in a similar situation here were more and more software is requested with no extra change in contract status (or pay)

    However it needs to be made clear that the management of ANY extra software needs to be included in your contract unless the management of other things are being removed.

    I have started refusing to look after software if it is not reflected in my pay/contract. It may not cause you much extra work (after initial setting up) but ultimately it will be you who is responsible if anything goes wrong. This should be reflected in your contract and I would stick to your guns.

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    Re: Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    In my part of Wales we're doing a county wide Job Evaluation, I would imagine that your area should be doing this too.

    In my county there are comparable jobs in the County Councils dedicated IT Department, so we're measured against them.

    It's not acceptable for you to be asked to do anything just because your profession is IT. You must be suitably qualified, so insist on that before you accept any responsibility, and the re-grading process is there if you're not offered the accompanying remuneration.

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    Re: Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    Thanks for all your comments, they really do mean a lot as i feel like i'm fighting a loosing battle sometimes, it's good to know others opinions. Seems like there are others who experience the same.

    Exchange Training would be a good idea yes, but why should i take on the responsibility of another "full time" job while doing one already? It's one thing installing/configuring an exchange server but another managing it when it goes completely wrong.

    The ownership will be put to me and i will be the one under pressure to get it back up and running.

    My JD does say "Anything the Head Teacher sees as Reasonable". Is another full time job reasonable? I think not, the Union have backed me and have already told me to say i'm not under obligation under my JD to carry out the work. If they thought that i would have to then they wouldn't have backed me in the first instance.

    30K...well i'm not asking for that. Nowhere near, I'm on Scale 5 Point 23. Not sure if its the same scale as you guys all have but it equates to under 20K.

    I've explained what it involves, but obviously they don't see that it falls out of my JD.

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    You could suggest an alternative supplier: MCW in Wrexham will support if for you on an annual contract. Call out is usually about £800 per day.

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    Re: Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    Fight it all the way. If not, you set yourself a precedent for any other "job" they deem to be under your jurisdiction and you will have no case to fight in the future. Use Unison to the full as well. When they get their teeth in they don't let go.

    I totally understand that you are not fighting for more money, but trying to defend yourself from even more pressure from the job. Good. Just about all ICT Technicians / Managers etc will be in your boat at some point in their education careers.

    If possible, and not adding too much to your workload, perhaps a full documentation of what you went through and how it was handled would be worth posting for reference for others at some point.

    Good Luck.

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    Re: Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    Yea i've been thinking the same. If i don't fight it then i'm open to anything else they may suggest. I'm just waiting on that call now from the Union. Hope they ring soon.

    When the case is over i'll post up anything i can to help others who might need the same advice. I really hope nobody else has to go through this as its not a very nice position to be in.

    Hope i have some fight left in me thats all!

    Mr.G

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    Re: Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    I asked our LEA HR department about what the any other duties could entail and it's obvisouly duties that relate to your post however they have to be reasonable demands.

    Ben

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    Re: Urgent Help/Advice - School/UNISON

    Thanks for all your advice and help. It is appreciated, very much. I've now had a meeting date scheduled for Thursday Morning 9am. Informed the School Manager that the Union is coming in too.

    The School Manager said that if i'm not going to Implement it then they wouldn't be purchasing the Server. lol, tell me something i didn't know!

    I hope the Union will back me 100% on this now as i've started the ball rolling.

    Mr.G

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