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Contract of Employment

INTRODUCTION : CONTRACTS OF EMPLOYMENT

a) ORIGINAL CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT (Social artists) between Connecting artists and communities, The Blackie, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Great George Street, Liverpool 1

and  ..............................................................................................................

of  ...............................................................................................................

1)    BACKGROUND TO THE WORK

All those working at the Project do so on a "work share" basis - that is everyone contributes to the administration, general running, maintenance and domestic arrangements of the Project as well as contributing to the events, workshops, exhibitions, etc, which make up the cultural programme.

Put simply, everyone contributes to the "creative" activities, and everyone contributes to what are generally regarded as the essential but "uncreative" activities of running a cultural project. The basic aim is to share what are conventionally regarded as "creative projects" on the one hand and administrative/management/manual/maintenance work on the other as fairly and equally as possible among those working at the Project, and also to share the responsibility for the organisation of people and events and all associated planning as equally and fairly as possible among those working at the Project.

To quote from one of the Project's earlier documents... Everyone can expect the best balance we can get of "creative" and "other" work in the course of a contract, though weighting will vary from time to time according to seasonal commitments (and to problems).

In the course of a contract everyone can expect
- to work on creative projects (for example, workshops, playschemes, exhibitions, film making, games, printing, designing, dancing, singing, writing, etc.)
- to take a share in the caretaking of the building (including residence in the Project's flat) - to keep accounts (for example for petty cash, building maintenance, or a workshop)
- to shop and cook (including cooking the communal early evening soup or snack)
- to administrate (including filing and writing letters, etc) - to service and maintain the building (including a spell "running the houses")
- to look after visitors and deal with enquiries - to attend meetings on behalf of the Project
- to contribute to fundraising and recruitment - to write short articles about the Project's work.

This list isn't necessarily exhaustive. Some workers at the Project will go on tour. Some will attend conferences. Some work takes workers at the Project outside Merseyside. Some work involves educational tuition. Some work involves solving what might be called "welfare problems" - assisting people we have got to know with the solving of their problems rather than the Project's.

It should be remembered - in the context of this summary - that there is an induction and training period for all workers - that all work is supervised and training provided where appropriate and that the work outlined in the summary above would be encountered in the course of a contract rather than in the course of a week.

It should also be noted that the experience - and the confidence - gained through such supportive work sharing has enabled workers to move on after periods at the Project to a range of responsibilities and varied posts, to go freelance, or to initiate projects of their own. Everyone who has worked at the Project for a year or longer has - over the recent years of unemployment - gone on to find almost immediate work, created a successful freelance career for themselves, or have achieved their aim of gaining a place in higher education.

Some work at the Project requires the careful carrying through of established systems - some requires a creative input - some requires initiative. Sometimes the working day allows time for a game of snooker, a game of cards, and socialising with other workers and visitors. Sometimes the work can only be completed for shows or exhibitions (as with virtually all cultural projects everywhere) by working through the night.

There are some fixtures however which are common to everyone's working week. All workers at the Project participate in the weekly open management meeting. All workers at the Project participate in the weekly games session for workers at the Project and guests. And all workers at the Project can expect to undertake a number of "duties" each week (the number varies according to the time of year, etc., but the average is two per week) - "duties" being the system by which the building is kept under control, diaries are kept, visitors are welcomed, keys and equipment are checked out and checked back, etc.

Against this overall background all workers can expect to undertake specific responsibilities and projects which are agreed at the time of signing the contract and which may be varied from time to time as projects come to an end and as circumstances determine. The projects are chosen to reflect the talents, experience, needs, and aspirations of the individual and to match the aims and objectives, needs, and programme of the Project.

2) SPECIFIC PROJECTS AND WORK ................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................. .............................................................................................................................

2)    EDUCATION AND TRAINING
For virtually all those working at the Project the work itself contains a significant element of education and training. But for those workers who come to work at the Project soon after leaving school - and for those workers who come to the Project with the intention of proceeding to further or higher education or to study for qualifications - then the programme of work is complemented by a programme of education or training.

The forms such education or training may take are varied. Workers have been provided with one-to-one tuition in order to prepare the groundwork and provide the qualifications for college entrance : subjects taught in this way have included maths (basic numeracy and arithmetic/fractions etc., ass well as geometry, trigonometry, etc.), English (language and literature), history, sociology, etc. Workers have been assisted in the preparation of c.v.'s and in preparing for interviews. On occasion the contract has guaranteed support through college - such support being not only financial but covering such areas as additional tuition, counselling, etc.

But not all such education is linked to college or further/higher education. A young woman with an enthusiasm for music was provided with the opportunity to attend a different musical event each week so as to broaden her musical horizons. Other workers have been provided with opportunities to broaden their horizons through travel. One worker was assisted in attending a course on counselling. Another worker wanted to learn about finance and accounts, and was introduced to this through a mixture of in-service training and weekly attendance at night college classes. More than one worker at the Project has been supported through a course of driving instruction to the attainment of a driving license.

The number of possibilities are infinite - the principle determining factor being the aspirations and needs of the individual worker (and whereas some workers know exactly what they need, others may need an educational programme which explores possibilities and opens up horizons for future choices). There are, of course, limits to such an educational and training programme - limits imposed by finance(the Educational Fund for the year), resources, and time. The priorities in this area are defined by the Project's review of its equal opportunities policy and practice and associated programme of positive action.

Put basically, this means that if you come from one of the many groups who are generally disadvantaged when it comes to educational opportunities then you will be prioritised in the Project's educational programme. Particular priority is given to those who have grown up or developed a relationship with the Project through play projects, open sessions, etc. and who have suffered educational disadvantage or discrimination (sometimes discovering only later in life what it is they want to undertake and achieve).

4) SUPERVISION a) The work and duties as described in this contract (and in the context of other documentation as referred to at the end of this contract) will be supervised through the weekly open management meetings, through other meetings as appropriate, and directly by ........................................................................................ and/or his/her/their representative

b) You will be responsible for supervising the work and workers as outlined below .......................................................................................................... .......................................................................................................... ..........................................................................................................

c) You will be assisted and supervised in this responsibility/these responsibilities by .......................................................................................................... ..........................................................................................................

5) HEALTH Special working arrangements are agreed where appropriate for workers with ill health or disabilities (examples from previous contracts include special arrangements for workers with asthma, and with physical disabilities). In your case the special arrangements are .......................................................................................................... ..........................................................................................................

The Project assists where possible for additional expenses incurred through ill health for workers and dependants, and has a history of supporting expenses whenever possible where treatment (for example, osteopathy, homeopathy, or acupuncture) is not available through the NHS. Such expenditure is made from the Project's Social Fund for the year, and priority is given (where priorities need to be made) on the basis of the length of time during which the worker has provided services to the Project. All workers are entitled to one months paid sick leave in the course of a one year contract. Workers under contract for less than a full year are generally paid a full fee for two weeks of absence through sickness.

6) HOLIDAYS All workers are entitled to six weeks paid holiday in the course of a first one year contract (or pro rata for workers under a contract for less than a full year), plus three days paid leave over Christmas. All holidays must be taken by agreement during the period of the contract except by special arrangement.

7) DURATION OF CONTRACT This contract is for the period .......................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................

8) FEE The fee paid during the period of the contract will be ............................................................................per week.

9) EXPENSES The Project will meet those expenses (meals, travelling, accommodation, conference fees, etc.) which are necessarily incurred during the course of work and responsibilities undertaken on behalf of the Project. Such expenses must be agreed in advance by the Supervisor/s and/or the Weekly Open Management Meeting as appropriate - and will be paid in advance or arrears as required.

10) TIMETABLE The work is organised at the Project on the basis that all workers under contract work a five and a half day week (and this is generally organised through one and a half days "off" each week, or through one day "off" one week and two days "off" the following week). All workers under contract are required to attend the weekly open management meeting, the weekly games session, and the sessions and timetabled events and activities which relate to their programme of work (including preparation and planning for sessions, events and activities), together with their "duties" and such other responsibilities as are detailed on weekly and other rotas.

It should be recognised in this that the Project is concerned with cultural activities and cultural life on something other than a "bought" and "sold" basis - the Project and the community of workers and participants have been compared to an extended family. The time spent at the Project, and away from the Project working on behalf of the Project, is infinitely variable.

The time spent in this way depends on both the timetabled commitments, and on the time of year (there are for example usually four open sessions each week during term time, but at least ten such sessions during holiday periods). The time spent in this way depends on individuals (those who have grown up with the Project may be encouraged or obliged to pursue educational / exploratory /training activities away from the Project, while those who are new to the cultural scene need to spend more time at the Project in order to join the family or team). And of course the time spent in this way also depends on the problems facing the Project and individuals at any one time.

All workers, particularly those who have accepted responsibility for organising and co-ordinating, are necessarily "on call" whenever the Project or a problem may need their input or time. But within the limits of the timetable and these established principles (including the principle of parity of working hours) then workers under contract have areas of freedom in which to plan their own working time and timetable in conjunction with the supervisor/s.

11) ACCOMMODATION Accommodation will be provided without charge during the period of the contract by way of a private room, heat and light, use of lounge/kitchen/TV room/bathroom etc. in one of the two houses acquired by the Project for this purpose OR An accommodation allowance will be paid during the period of the contract of .............................................................................per week.

12) DEPENDANTS A dependant's allowance is payable for all dependants who are neither working nor in receipt of other income at the rate of ..........................................................................................................per week. In addition, reference has also been made in this contract to other benefits and provisions for dependants - see under Health - references to creche facilities, baby sitting, etc. - and references to dependants and family sharing the working and social spaces with workers under contact, etc.

13) SABBATICALS All workers who have worked for a continuous period under contract to the Project for five years are entitled to a sabbatical period of from six months to one year - and are entitled to further such sabbatical periods for each further continuous period of five years under contract. The Project provides support during such sabbatical periods, by way of resources, personnel, contacts etc. - accommodation is provided free of charge during such sabbatical periods - and where appropriate and possible the Project provides financial support (for example by way of travelling expenses, or by continuing fee payments).

14) TERMINATION OF CONTRACT A contract may be terminated on either side on the basis of one months notice. The first month of any contract is a probationary period and at the end of this month either side may give notice, following which the worker is required (unless otherwise agreed) to work a further two weeks for which a four week fee will be paid.

Beyond this probationary period the Project and the worker are mutually agreed to "see the contract through" unless circumstances arise in the working situation, or in personal circumstances, which make this virtually impossible. The exceptions to this are "in extremis" situations - for example when a worker violates one of the basic rules of the Project (see 15 below) - in which case the contract is terminated instantly with four weeks fee paid in lieu of notice.

15) RULES GOVERNING WORK AND CONDUCT AT THE PROJECT There are a limited number of basic rules which apply to everyone involved in the Project's activities - violence, physical intimidation, and physical force are "off limits" = drugs are equally "off limits" - anyone stealing from the Project is no longer welcome as a visitor or a worker - overt and unrepentant sexism and racism are "off limits". (Note : an extended understanding of this brief summary will be gained by reading the Project's documents and publications, such as "Equal Opportunities Policy and Practice", "7.Up", etc.).

16) DISPUTES Disputes are generally minimised when communication is maximised. All workers under contract to the Project meet regularly with their supervisor or supervisors and all disputes and complaints, etc., should be referred in the first instance to the supervisor or supervisors and made the basis of a meeting, or meetings.

Failing a resolution at such a meeting or meetings then the discussion will be continued at a meeting or meetings including workers under long term contract to the Project - and if a resolution is not agreed at such a meeting or meetings then the dispute is referred to the weekly open management meeting (to which workers may bring a friend, associate, or chosen representative). If the dispute is not resolved at such a meeting or meetings then the dispute will be referred to the following two individuals for their judgement after they have heard the issues comprehensively presented and discussed in an appropriately open manner.

These two individuals have been chosen solely for their knowledge of and understanding of the traditions of the Project, and for their knowledge and understanding of issues relating to the rights and responsibilities of workers. They are - Stephen Smith (formerly manager with South Liverpool Personnel, currently Section Head of the Equality Unit of Liverpool City Council's Careers Service, and with experience of both the voluntary sector and local government) - and Jimmy Cullen (also with experience of both the voluntary sector and local government, and with particular experience of trade union issues). (Note : in the event of such a dispute the Project would be prepared to consider finding additional individuals or one alternative individual with equivalent experience should a worker under contract not wish to have a dispute settled by the two individuals named above).

17) EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES The Project has an equal opportunities policy - and an equal opportunities practice - both of which are summarised and reviewed in a publication by the Project. This policy and practice is reviewed from time to time and all workers under contract participate in these reviews. All workers under contract are obliged to support, uphold, and demonstrate their commitment to the current equal opportunities policy and practice.

18) SPECIAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS The following terms and conditions are agreed in addition to the foregoing clauses of the contract. .......................................................................................................... .......................................................................................................... .......................................................................................................... ..........................................................................................................

19) INTERPRETATION AND GUIDANCE This contract and the terms and conditions should be interpreted in terms of the Project's traditions and history - a history and tradition which is well documented and available to all workers through such publications as "Two Years On", "7.Up", newsheets, printed publications, files, films, videos, and works, etc. - as well as through the living traditions of past and present workers, etc. Signed..........................................................................................................on behalf of the Project Signed.......................................................................................................... Date..........................................................................................................

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