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.