• I understand that Transport for London are currently inviting tenders from cycle training providers to deliver 'Bikeability' courses in schools across central London boroughs (tender d/l 6 June).

    I am told that the brief is that a lead instructor and a support instructor do a morning and afternoon playground session (2 hours each, with 15 pupils per session) on the Monday, and then from Tuesday to Friday do three 1 1/2 hours on-road sessions per day with 10 pupils each session.

    I have three concerns:
    Firstly, that ten pupils on road with two instructors for an hour and a half won't result in decent training
    Secondly, that companies bidding may squeeze instructor rates to get the contract.
    Thirdly, that some companies may impose a contract where they can cancel a booking made months before at a couple of days notice and not pay you.

    A company recently said the following in a letter it sent out:
    "It is with great regret that we have to inform you that we will be implementing some rate reductions in freelance pay rates for both cycle instructors and external Dr bikes.

    The reasons for having to make this difficult decision are two fold. In recent years there has been severe downward pressure on contract prices from local authorities as a result of public sector cuts. Secondly there have been many more competitors coming in to the market place. The result of this has been a sustained cut in contract rates for cycling services. We have already absorbed a significant reduction in contract rates and have tried hard to minimise any impact of this to our staff pay rates.

    We simply have to make these rate cuts in order to remain economically viable and ensure the organisation survives. Furthermore we hope that our now reduced contract rates will make us more financially competitive and enable us to win more business in the future and be able to offer more work to you."
    Their new rate of pay for Schools cycle training is:
    Lead cycle trainer £13.50 p/hr
    Co instructor £12.00 p/hr

    I consider this to be a nonsense rate of pay for a self-employed person with good sklll and experience, insurance, CRB, excellent communication skills with pupils and the ability to manage a potentially deadly workplace in central London.

    The company blame competitive forces within the business that means they have to squeeze the workforce. It seems to me it is time the workforce stood up to the companies and TfL and said that the MINIMUM daily rate of pay for delivering cycle training in schools should be £100 and, should a school course be cancelled another course should be provided or the payment should be honoured unless it is cancelled a half-term in advance.

    What do other instructors here think? It would be useful to say if you're fully or provisionally accredited.

  • That represents the providers, not the trainers themselves. I don't doubt that many of its members are reasonable employers, but a trade association is not the same as a union.

  • Speshact is right DJ. TABS is more to help management of schemes and aims to support them by working with schemes on quality assurance.

    The main issue with this idea is that most instructors are freelance so self employed and from that position collective agreement is hardly possible. I would recommend groups of instructors forming cooperatives where terms and work conditions can be agree consensually
    (I am fully accrefited NSIT and work for a cooperative)

  • If you have worked for a company that is planning to bid to TfL for these big contracts and don't want them to get it because they're planning on paying peanuts then get in touch with them NOW and get them to confirm to you that they aren't submitting your CV to show their quality.

    I believe TfL's tender says cost is 70% of the scoring and quality is 30% (they're only kids after all being trained). If cheapskate companies don't have quality CVs there's a slim chance they won't get the contract.

  • I don't see why collective agreement among the self-employed is a no-no. As a self-employed speciality act I used Equity's 'Act as Known' contract which, while it didn't have a standard fee (as a five person singing act is very different to a one person sword swallowing act), did have standard cancellation terms which were equitable to the act and the theatre/person making the booking. I would think that fully accredited instructors should be able to agree on a fair 'standard' fee, or at least a fee range, for delivering level 1 and 2 Bikeability in schools, part in the morning and part in the afternoon.
    It might be on the basis on an acceptable level now, and a target rate for 2013/14 academic year.

  • My suspicion is that this tendering nonsense is just not viable anyway... Hopefully someone will realise and this bad idea will just go away.

    I do feel there is an issue with professional standards effecting both instructors and schemes and am hopeful that TABS will develop into something that addresses this. See: http://www.lfgss.com/post2674145-5.html

  • I understand that Transport for London are currently inviting tenders from cycle training providers to deliver 'Bikeability' courses in schools across central London boroughs (tender d/l 6 June).

    I am told that the brief is that a lead instructor and a support instructor do a morning and afternoon playground session (2 hours each, with 15 pupils per session) on the Monday, and then from Tuesday to Friday do three 1 1/2 hours on-road sessions per day with 10 pupils each session.

    I have three concerns:
    Firstly, that ten pupils on road with two instructors for an hour and a half won't result in decent training
    Secondly, that companies bidding may squeeze instructor rates to get the contract.
    Thirdly, that some companies may impose a contract where they can cancel a booking made months before at a couple of days notice and not pay you.

    A company recently said the following in a letter it sent out:
    "It is with great regret that we have to inform you that we will be implementing some rate reductions in freelance pay rates for both cycle instructors and external Dr bikes.

    The reasons for having to make this difficult decision are two fold. In recent years there has been severe downward pressure on contract prices from local authorities as a result of public sector cuts. Secondly there have been many more competitors coming in to the market place. The result of this has been a sustained cut in contract rates for cycling services. We have already absorbed a significant reduction in contract rates and have tried hard to minimise any impact of this to our staff pay rates.

    We simply have to make these rate cuts in order to remain economically viable and ensure the organisation survives. Furthermore we hope that our now reduced contract rates will make us more financially competitive and enable us to win more business in the future and be able to offer more work to you."
    Their new rate of pay for Schools cycle training is:
    Lead cycle trainer £13.50 p/hr
    Co instructor £12.00 p/hr

    I consider this to be a nonsense rate of pay for a self-employed person with good sklll and experience, insurance, CRB, excellent communication skills with pupils and the ability to manage a potentially deadly workplace in central London.

    The company blame competitive forces within the business that means they have to squeeze the workforce. It seems to me it is time the workforce stood up to the companies and TfL and said that the MINIMUM daily rate of pay for delivering cycle training in schools should be £100 and, should a school course be cancelled another course should be provided or the payment should be honoured unless it is cancelled a half-term in advance.

    What do other instructors here think? It would be useful to say if you're fully or provisionally accredited.

    There are not enough chevrons for this. If you continue to pay peanuts.....
    I'm sure (hopeful) that this isn't a problem beyond just the one company. Rates are agreed upon when the contracts are won therefore cash must be getting diverted to other areas. That rate is like a fucking bad joke.

  • Hope you're posting your suggestion to other cycle trainer forums and web-groups too speshact
    ;)

  • Unfortunately, just because it's a "bad idea" doesn't mean it "will just go away" if we ignore it!
    I can only concur with Speshact.
    Do we have any employment lawers amoungst our ranks?

    (another fully accredited NSIT)

  • This is extremely worrying. I'd always thought that the quality of work, trainees 'squeezed' into shortened classes and the rates of pay at some of the places I have worked at in the past were bad but when I moved to a quality cycle training provider and then started working in London, I realised they weren't bad they were absolutely shocking. To think that companies like this might be winning contracts is really quite upsetting.

    I am an accredited instructor who started off working in a cooperative oop North. Now going it alone. Self-employment is often difficult enough as it is without trying to compete with nonsense such as this.

  • I had a think about this roughly a year ago and came up with the following document... It's just initial ideas and I never took it forward as I just didn't have the time (two kids and the rest...)

    Things have moved on a bit and I agree with Speshact that the time is now. We need to starve the rubbish prividers of their ability to deliver. If budgets are going down it means they can do less training... not that we must eat less! bastards.

    Herre is a text i wrote last year presented for all your thoughts:

    "
    London Guild of Cycle Trainers

    Who is this for:


    Freelance Fully Accredited Cycling Instructors who live and deliver training in Greater London. Those who work on a PAYE/contract basis are welcome but must understand that this is mainly aimed at those who work freelance. Contracted staff will be in receipt of a package of benefits which must be judged as a whole.


    We aim to create a voice for freelance Instructors in London. To that end, we have made the points in the pledge fairly non-contentious. If you agree with the pledge below, email us your name, address and what boroughs you work in and you will be added to the role and mailing list. Information you provide will be kept confidential and only used for communication between the LGCT and yourself.

    If we can stand together we can create a baseline for our profession and challenge some of the poor practice that is about. Going forward, we will have a voice to represent our views and interests. This is to be an open and democratic organisation. All those who join will have a say in how it is constituted and what it does, going forward

    If you don't think you can stick to the pledge for any reason, do not take it. We do not police your pay and conditions and we don't want to. This just may not be right for everybody. As a fellow Instructor you have our respect and you will always be welcome if and when you are ready to stand with us.

    Pledge:


    Roll up your right trouser leg (or tuck it into your sock) and repeat the following:


    As a qualified, London based, Cycling Instructor I recognise the need to build a professional corps of people to deliver training. To attract and retain a high calibre of committed individuals it is necessary to offer a working package that can support them. During these times of contracting budgets, there may be pressure on wages. No one is getting rich delivering training. We do this because we believe in it. Therefore, I pledge that I will refuse offers of work that fall below the following standard, which I think represents good practice and is the bare minimum that someone instructing in London should be getting as a living wage for this type of work:


    • Minimum hourly freelance rate of £18 per hour that you attend. – Some employers “don't pay lunch” or count the hours in odd ways. Whatever the time is “called”, just divide how much you are getting for the day by the number of hours from when you need to arrive until you can go. Because we are human, some of this time may be spent eating. If the answer is less then 18, it's not enough. Of course, some employers may continue to pay well above £18/hour to attract the best instructors. If you are on a PAYE contract, you will need to make up your own mind if it is fair.
    • **One paid hour on a school course for risk assessing the bikes, without the children present. **- A full “M” check and risk assessment of the children's bikes is too important not to have it's own time set aside. This is usually in the form of an early start on day one of a school course..
    • **The lead instructor is paid an additional amount for the role. **- The extra workload of the lead instructor will vary between suppliers but will usually be between 1 and 3 hours.
    • A full cancellation fee is paid to the instructor in the event of “no shows” by trainees. - Minimum cancellation periods are 1 week for schools work and 2 working days for individuals. No instructor should be expected to bear the totality of the “booking risk”.

    Well done! Your are now a member of the LGCT. There is nothing else you need to do now except to continue delivering high quality training and to stick to the pledge you have just made. Please spread the word amongst your colleagues.

    Is this fair?
    Absolutely. At present our work is undervalued, relative to similar roles.

    For Example:
    According to Barnet council a football coach gets £25-30/hr for the lead role and £15-20/hr as support. That seems a reasonable comparison. Or does it? We take children onto the roads. Who does one want delivering this training? We say, experienced instructors are worth retaining.

    The conditions listed above, or better, are already common practice amongst the providers in London who are focused on rigour and quality of training. Anyone looking to recruit and keep good quality freelance instructors should be offering at least this. Below this, they just are not taking it as seriously as we do.

    Together we will build a sustainable and professional industry.... Take the pledge!

    "

  • As a former culprit, and since I'm no longer in the business of balancing the books of a cycle training organisation, I can safely say that these are very reasonable demands, and a sensible pledge if you can reach out to everyone involved.

  • Hi, just joined your forum, I work in the midlands,this is how it works at one council I work for, two instructors take out 15 children on the road, the pay for a full level two course over two days is £49 including travelling expenses and no cancellation fee

  • That's really shocking in every way. 15 children on road can't be safe, they can hardly get to do any cycling anyway and the pay is a disgrace - it is less than £50 for the 2 days, right, not each day?
    I know it's easy for me to say it, not being faced with the choice, but no instructor should take on work like that.

  • Name and shame! I worked for Birmingham City Council for two years and never heard of anything like that in the Midlands although there was always talk of saving money, etc. That is really worrying practice.

  • Hi, just joined your forum, I work in the midlands,this is how it works at one council I work for, two instructors take out 15 children on the road, the pay for a full level two course over two days is £49 including travelling expenses and no cancellation fee

    I don't like to swear online but this is LFGSS so.... Fuck fuckety fuck fuck!

    May I ask where this is happening and how many hours training each child gets?

    Can the TABS/QA people on this list please get their big steel boots on and go and kick some arse!!? That is just shockingly bad.

    I am guessing that you know all the NSIs who are local... might be time to meet for a drink and decide what the day rate needs to be...

    -L

  • TABS has just asked DfT to issue a mechanism for bringing risky schemes to the attention 'Bikeability'. We will raise this at CTSB on Tuesdays

  • Looks like it's this thread! ;-)

  • @ mac111051

    Thinking about this...

    I presume you are working on your own insurance.

    IMO

    15 on road is way too many. In the event of some sort of incident, the only thing the insurance will look at is whether or not "best practice" was being followed. 15 on road is way above the ratio set out in the NS(I think). In other words, I do not believe you are insured in the event of something going wrong. All the consent forms I have ever seen exclude injury caused by instructor negligence and that will be determined against best practice which is laid out in the NS.

    Personally, I would refuse to take 15 out with two instructors.

  • Just stumbled across this rationale I wrote earlier in the year for paying a professional rate to cycle trainers, and thought I'd share it here:

    a) The headteachers we work for (and the parents they report to) expect the people responsible for the safety and wellbeing of their children to:
    know their subject inside out;
    be reliable, responsible and professional;
    have an excellent rapport with pupils and staff;
    be positive role models;
    and
    be skilled communicators with the ability to maintain discipline, and enthuse and motivate the pupils.

    b) The pupils and schools benefit from a low turnover of trainers, enabling:
    a continuing rapport with schools and strong trust and enthusiasm from school staff;
    and
    efficient delivery and adaptability, as the trainers know the local area well and the characteristics/needs of the school.

    c) The above results in a sustained increase in the amount and quality of cycle training. There is a virtuous circle where headteachers and staff want to host the activity; pupils and their parents want to participate due to word-of-mouth from previous participants; and pupils gain higher cycling skill, a higher (genuine) level 2 passrate. High quality trainers are more likely to instil a lifelong passion for cycling.

    d) Improved Health and Safety: We avoid trainers working so many hours a day/week, to scratch together a living wage, that the edge is taken off their mental alertness. We recognise the demanding nature of the job in a challenging and potentially dangerous environment, with full responsibility and duty of care for pupils and other road users of varying emotional and intellectual ability, vehicle control skills and road sense. Significant pressure is put on our trainers in Central London as it is a busy environment, where many drivers are working professionally to a time deadine and have little expectation of children using the roads or patience with them so-doing.

    e) We recognise the fact that, in contrast to employees, self-employed trainers have to cover all pension contributions, holiday pay (including Bank Holidays), sick pay, insurance,CPD costs & time, and delivery material costs out of the income, and have no job security.

  • I see that there was a meeting between London instructors and IWGB back in January. Has idea of unionisation moved on any? I deliver BikeAbility in NE England, where me and my fellow instructors are facing similar problems to the ones discussed here. It seems that instructors in South Yorkshire are too.

  • Sorry for not replying sooner, I thought I had notifications turned on for this thread, but it appears not! Yes, this has moved on. After an initial meeting with the IWGB, a loose, informal association of Cycle Instructors appears to have organically formed. Work so far has focused on a) building a comprehensive contact / mailing list (it is estimated there are more than 300 Instructors in the London region), and b) establishing the type of association (if any) those Instructors would like, or be prepared to support long term, and what the priorities of any association might be. To this end a short survey has been compiled and sent out. The results of this survey, once in, and analysed, will form the basis of a way forward.

  • ...and for any Instructors reading this thread, you can complete the survey here:
    https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/N5V5R2D­

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Time for a Guild/Union of Accredited Cycling Instructors?

Posted by Avatar for Speshact @Speshact

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