Victory: Security Officers stop cuts to hours at UCL — July 29, 2020

Victory: Security Officers stop cuts to hours at UCL

On 6 July a first consultation meeting with Security Officers took place in which AXIS announced a series of changes with a serious impact of the terms and conditions of our member at UCL.

After a public campaign and relentless pressure from the IWGB-UoL branch AXIS and UCL have announced the halt of the process.

UCL and its subcontractors have been forced to stop the process after the inconsistencies & lies were persistently exposed and legal challenges brought against #ucl and its subcontractor. We will fight until the whole process is buried altogether!

Workers fought back and exposed the contradictions of the whole process:

This revealed how outsourced companies will try anything to profit from this crisis but it has also shown the appalling indifference displayed by #ucl towards all the workers who have been at the frontline during the pandemic:

What has this process revealed about outsourcing at #ucl?

1.The length to which outsourced companies go to increase their margin of profit at the cost of the livelihoods of key workers: spreading misinformation, lying systematically and withholding information. However, we caught the subcontractor’s manager red handed after the information provided during the consultation was confirmed to be false by #ucl themselves! These are the sort of outsourcing cowboys we have to fight against See the full story here:

2.This has also shown #ucl‘s hypocrisy and tremendous gap between statement and practice #ucl‘s BLM statements are nothing but words void of any meaning in the light of the treatment received by predominantly black Sec.Officers who have been at the frontline during the pandemic

3.For precarious BAME workers, racial discrimination is embedded into the very terms of their contracts. It is an injustice lived daily. Despite its promises and public declarations, #ucl continues to fail to hold subcontractors or itself to account for exploitation & dishonesty

4. This is why we have been campaigning to be brought in-house since October: exploitation will continue as long as outsourcing allows #ucl to dodge accountability for workers’ conditions.

Outsourced workers deserve justice&equality, that is why Outsourcing must end Now!

BRANCH MEETING, Saturday the 25th of June at 2pm / Sábado 25 de julio a las 2pm REUNIÓN DE LA RAMA — July 24, 2020

BRANCH MEETING, Saturday the 25th of June at 2pm / Sábado 25 de julio a las 2pm REUNIÓN DE LA RAMA

We will be discussing the hard work we’ve all put in for such a long time, the challenges we face now and strategies for the future.

Your involvement motivates us as we carry on working with you and helping you with your work-related problems. Your participation, your ideas and your suggestions help us to ensure our union remains democratic and representative.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to inform yourself and actively participate in the work of the branch.

Together we can create a strong and democratic union.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Join here!

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82501670997?pwd=VlRINWdmSTQyWG5jc2ZDeXJONDcrUT09

Sábado 25 de julio a las 2pm REUNIÓN DE LA RAMA

Hablaremos sobre el arduo trabajo que hemos  venido haciendo durante todo este tiempo, discutiremos los desafíos actuales y las estrategias para el futuro.

Tu presencia nos motiva a seguir trabajando y ayudándoles con los problemas laborales. También tu presencia, tus ideas y sugerencias nos ayudan a hacer un sindicato democrático y participativo .

No se pueden perder esta oportunidad de infórmate y participa activamente en la rama.

¡Juntos haremos un Sindicato fuerte y democrático !

¡Les esperamos compañeros!

¡Unete aquí!

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82501670997?pwd=VlRINWdmSTQyWG5jc2ZDeXJONDcrUT09

Maritza Castillo Calle

Branch Chair

IWGB University of London

AXIS & UCL give with one hand, take away with the other — July 20, 2020

AXIS & UCL give with one hand, take away with the other

“Over the next year UCL are bringing all your benefits in line with UCL staff, if you don’t think that comes with a cost then you are sadly mistaken. That’s why we need to get this rationalisation of shifts done.” – John Fitzpatrick, Operations Director (and shareholder) for University College London’s security subcontractor AXIS, at a consultation meeting with security officers on Tuesday 14 July.

On 10 June, UCL’s security subcontractor AXIS announced a consultation process to “rationalise shifts” of security officers at UCL, ending 28 July.

In the ongoing consultations, some security officers have been told they may face cuts of up to 18 hours of work per week, which would result in a 30% drop in their wages.

The IWGB is still seeking clarification regarding the rationale for the proposed changes and whether AXIS plans to impose the changes or if this will be voluntary.

The rationale for these cuts has not been properly explained by AXIS, but this move comes only a few months after AXIS hired nearly 100 more security officers on the site, aiming to try to weaken the power of the union after several powerful strikes in the autumn, which resulted in a massive improvement in terms and conditions for outsourced workers at UCL.

Some AXIS managers have stated in the ongoing consultations that there are now too many security officers on site due to the recent surge in recruitment of officers and the costs are too high for UCL. Around 280 security officers work at UCL currently.

On the other hand, AXIS Operations Director John Fitzpatrick claims that the proposed cuts to hours are needed as a direct result of UCL’s decision (following our campaign) to improve people’s terms and conditions, which has increased costs for UCL.

It is not yet clear how many security officers will lose hours or be otherwise impacted by the proposed changes. And it is not clear whether the rationalisation plan is being driven by AXIS or by UCL.

If Fitzpatrick is telling the truth and UCL is driving the changes, then they have given with one hand, and are now trying to take away with the other. Security officers were given a 9% pay rise, but some are now facing a 30% drop in their wages.

This is truly shocking and calls into question UCL’s pledge to give UCL’s outsourced staff parity of terms and conditions with directly employed staff.

UCL’s security are fighting back, calling for ‘No cuts and no sham consultations’.

You can support them by sharing the campaign tweets and helping draw attention to this issue: https://twitter.com/iwgbucl

Redundancy: learn your rights and help a friend — July 17, 2020

Redundancy: learn your rights and help a friend

The IWGB’s highly-trained Legal Department are offering branch members the chance for some virtual training in redundancy processes – what to expect, what your rights are and what you can do to fight it.

We’re calling for members from UoL branch to volunteer. Sadly, redundancies are likely across Universities and we will need more people able to accompany friends and colleagues to meetings. 

The training will cover what to do as a companion. Please only sign up if you’re willing to support others in meetings as places are limited, but the more trained people we have, the better. (Companions get paid time off normal duties to help their colleagues.) 

Last year, during the CoSector restructure, every member IWGB accompanied was happy with their result. Let’s try to make that happen again! 

The training date is still to be confirmed so please express your interest by emailing lindseycaffin@iwgb.co.uk by 4.30 on Friday 17th July (this Friday!) and we’ll send you the details as soon as the date is set. 

Attempted Security Cuts at UCL — July 7, 2020

Attempted Security Cuts at UCL

UCL’s subcontractor Axis is trying to cut the frontline security staff who risked their lives to keep everyone safe in the pandemic.

On 10 June, UCL’s subcontractor Axis announced that it would be conducting consultations with security staff with a plan of ‘rationalising’ their shift patterns. Axis stated that “the current irregular shift patterns are damaging to the service delivery requirements and performance indicators.”

Many security staff at UCL work irregular shift patterns, due to family or caring responsibilities or other jobs – as is typical in most workplaces. We were immediately concerned that Axis might try to change our members’ shift patterns unilaterally. But now we have learnt Axis’s plan is even worse than that.

Yesterday, Axis held the first meeting with security officers as part of this consultation process. Axis announced they plan to make a series of changes with a serious impact on the terms and conditions of many security officers.

Most of the officers who were invited to the meeting, and whose shifts are being lined up for changes, are already working a regular ‘5 days ON, 2 days OFF’ shift pattern. This is not what we expected. These officers are already on highly regular shift patterns – in fact they are on one of the 3 shift patterns that Axis said it wants to move officers onto. Why is Axis trying to change their shifts?

Despite their shift pattern being one of the standard patterns Axis said it was planning to move everyone onto, officers were informed that their shift pattern would change resulting in a significant loss to their contractual hours of work. This means that some officers who are currently working on 5 days ON 2 days OFF will now have their shift pattern changed to 4 days ON 4 days OFF which means that their average weekly hours will drop from 60 hours to 42 hours, leading to a substantial loss of wages and threatening their livelihoods.

This not only means that Axis will breach the contract of employment of dozens of security officers, but that it will also jeopardize the financial position of dozens of families.

This amounts to a unilateral change to the terms and conditions of employment and would constitute a breach of the contract of employment of all officers affected. Axis have not attempted to obtain our consent to make these changes and have made it clear that our consent will not be sought to go ahead with these changes.

Axis said that the rationale for the changes is that they want to make the site easier to manage, but when it came to the first consultation meeting yesterday the real plan was clear to see – they are trying to make extensive cuts.

Axis’s stated rationale for the changes makes no sense here, as they are changing the patterns of people who are already on a regular pattern. During the meeting, a number of officers highlighted how their sites did not have any staffing issues and they had a regular and consistent shift pattern, which is supposedly the purpose of the suggested changes. Axis has failed to provide any real business rationale to breach the contract of employment of these officers who mostly work in buildings that are properly staffed and have no operational challenges.

Yesterday’s meeting, rather than a consultation, amounted to a situation in which an already drafted plan is being imposed upon staff. Furthermore, the deadline for this process is extremely short – concluding on 28 July. AXIS is attempting to address this process in an expedite manner without properly consulting nor providing any transparent information to employees.

At no point did Axis present the officers with alternative arrangements to ensure that the officers affected could continue to work their contracted hours. This is despite AXIS having a number of vacancies at present, which puts in question the necessity of the changes suggested.

Concerningly, during the meeting an Axis HR manager also mentioned that some officers’ employment might be terminated as a result of this process. If this is the case then this is a redundancy process, and as such Axis are already in breach of the law for the failure to follow an appropriate collective consultation process, which requires a minimum 30 days consultation process.

It seems clear that Axis is trying to make cuts by the backdoor. This is entirely unacceptable and will throw many of UCL’s security staff into financial difficulties.

At the meeting yesterday, Axis confirmed that these unilateral changes were being proposed at the request of UCL. For this reason, the IWGB has written to UCL to make these demands:

  1. The process must be halted.
  2. All information must be provided to security staff so they can suggest alternative proposals.
  3. A genuine consultation process must be held.

We hope that UCL will attempt to resolve this matter in a way that does not impact the livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable members of UCL, who have also been those at the frontline during this pandemic.

UCL: END DISCRIMINATION, END OUTSOURCING! — July 1, 2020

UCL: END DISCRIMINATION, END OUTSOURCING!

Outsourced Workers at UCL need your help!

Outsourced workers at UCL are fighting for equality. Security officers, cleaners, porters and catering staff across UCL are united and determined to fight to end the scourge of outsourcing and win justice, equality and dignity for all workers at UCL.

In September, outsourced workers at UCL launched our campaign to fight for equality and end outsourcing at UCL. Over the last 9 months we have achieved a lot through this campaign – including sick pay, improved annual leave, improved pay. This has already made a huge change to our lives.🙌

We have had to fight to win each of these improvements – by speaking out, by protesting, by going on strike. But we still do not have equality and we are still outsourced.

When the Coronavirus pandemic began and the country went into lockdown, our campaign to end outsourcing was put on hold. Many of us outsourced workers remained on site, while everyone else was told to stay home.

We were always planning to resume our campaign once the lockdown was over, but our mistreatment by UCL and its subcontractors during this crisis has only made us more committed to our goal of achieving equality and ending outsourcing.

Now, We need YOUR help!

We are rebooting our campaign to end outsourcing at UCL and we are asking all those who support us to sign the petition below and send a letter to the UCL Council to let them know about the situation faced by outsourced workers and what we are demanding.

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/ucl-end-discrimination-end-outsourcing/

Despite the promises of bringing equality to the long neglected and mistreated outsourced workforce, UCL continues to drag its feet and refuses to take meaningful steps to ensure the equality that was promised, denying outsourced workers dencet pay, pensions and parental leave.

END ZERO HOURS CONTRACTS

Dozens of outsourced workers continue to be employed on zero hours contracts, putting them in an extremely precarious and vulnerable position. Since lat year we have seen a sharp increase in the use of these contracts. UCL must ban zero hours contracts

FOR A DECENT PAY!

The promised equality in pay has been a big disappointment to the outsourced workforce who have not seen their role as “Key Workers” during this pandemic being recognised from a financial perspective and instead remain the worst paid workers on campus

Outsourced workers are, and have always been “key workers.” We are a core part of this institution. The university’s academic endeavours are only made possible thanks to our hard work. We deserve to be given a valued place within the #UCL community and dignified conditions.

END DISCRIMINATION

UCL uses a system that systematically discriminates against BAME workers, depriving us of basic rights and placing us under the management of companies who see us as nothing but disposable labour.This situation illuminates a shameful racism at the heart of UCL

If the pandemic should have taught us something it is that not only are outsourced workers a fundamental pillar of UCL, but also how precarity and outsourcing seriously endanger the life and wellbeing of the mostly migrant BAME key workers at the frontline of this crisis.

Despite recent concessions, UCL continues to refuse to end outsourcing:

Sign the petition and demand @ucl to:

  • Immediately end outsourcing
  • Ban zero hour contracts at UCL
  • Enter into immediate negotiations with UCL’s outsourced workers and their chosen trade unions.

It is time to end outsourcing!

Help us, sign and share the petition:

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/ucl-end-discrimination-end-outsourcing/

& share our social media posts:

Solidarity!

Volunteers to help fight redundancies! A message from our branch secretary — June 19, 2020

Volunteers to help fight redundancies! A message from our branch secretary

I want to say, again, a big thank you to everyone who has volunteered with the IWGB so far!

We are now preparing for widespread redundancies and campaigns as furlough comes towards the end.

Across our branches, we are beginning to plan how to fight these. We are calling for volunteers who can help with research on companies and their finances, as well as helping to support campaigns with workers.

If you are interested in volunteering and helping with this, please reply to the email and we can assign you to a branch.

Also, as a reminder, our next weekly call is on Monday 22nd June at 7pm, focusing on education under the pandemic, with reports from our Foster Care Workers and Cycle Instructors Branch, and Kevin Courtney from the NEU. Join here: https://zoom.us/j/197558184
Solidarity,

Jamie Woodcock

University of London Branch Secretary and Chair of the COVID-19 Subcommittee

IWGB fights UCL /Axis threat to change furlough terms — June 9, 2020

IWGB fights UCL /Axis threat to change furlough terms

Security officers and IWGB members at UCL last week received letters suggesting that outsourcing company Axis was preparing to break the agreed terms of furlough. In response the union has contacted both the University and Axis to hold them to their promises – both letters are below:

To whom it may concern

Today, 8 June,  some of our members employed by your security subcontractor, AXIS, have been informed that from 1st of June they will only receive 80% of their wages. 

We would like to raise several points here:

UCL has stated publicly and in writing that they will continue to provide 20% of the wages of Security officers to ensure full payment of the salary. We have already notified them of your intention to reduce the pay of officers, despite the fact that the government continues to cover 80% of wages and UCL is providing the remaining 20%. This also raises questions with regards to what AXIS is doing with the money that is provided by the client to top-up wages.

I would also like to highlight that the unilateral amendment of the terms of Furlough is unlawful and amounts to a breach of contract. Please note that at no point officers have agreed to have their salaries reduced to 80%. 
In the Furlough Letter, included below, our members accepted to be placed on Furlough with full payment. At no point was consent provided to alter the terms mentioned in the letter. Any change therefore amounts to a breach of the contractual terms of Furlough, and we shall not hesitate to initiate legal proceedings to enforce the terms of the agreement.

Having said that, please immediately confirm that Security Officers will continue to receive full payment of their wages.

Regards

Jordi Lopez-Botey (IWGB Organiser/Caseworker, UoL Branch)

Dear Matthew

I hope this email finds you well.

Today, 8 June, some of our members employed by your security subcontractor, AXIS, have been informed that from 1st of June they will only receive 80% of their wages. (letter attached here).

Please immediately clarify this situation and confirm that Security Officers at UCL will continue to receive full payment of their wages (at 100%).

Regards

Jordi Lopez-Botey (IWGB Organiser/Caseworker, UoL Branch)

URGENT SUPPORT NEEDED – Defend the #TDL10, key medical workers being dismissed by Sonic Healthcare for union activity! — May 29, 2020
We demand”Hazard Pay” for Key Workers at University of London — May 19, 2020

We demand”Hazard Pay” for Key Workers at University of London

The majority of University of London staff are working remotely. In this context, it could be easy to forget that some members of staff are still travelling in and working onsite in an extremely difficult context. These workers are providing an essential service in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic. They are making an incredible effort, particularly considering the risks they have taken on since the beginning of the crisis.

Workers who have been able to work from home are only able to do this because of those continuing to go onto campus. Now that there is talk of returning to work, the roles these workers play in our university will become even more important. Keeping the site clean, operating, and secure will become increasingly risky as other members of staff come back on to campus.

These are frontline workers facing an unprecedented level of risk, way beyond their job descriptions. These risks should be compensated.

We demand hazard pay for all workers on site at the University of London.  Therefore please sign our letter of support:

https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/hazard-pay-for-university-of-london-key-workers

Please also share your support on social media!

Thank you!

A May Day to remember: security staff brought in house TODAY in second victory for workers’ campaign! — May 1, 2020

A May Day to remember: security staff brought in house TODAY in second victory for workers’ campaign!

All remaining Security Officers on the University of London contract have been brought in-house today, following a vibrant and relentless campaign that led to the in-sourcing of their reception-based colleagues last year. 

This is a huge VICTORY for the workers’ campaign and gives many families cause for celebration today!

Thanks to the tireless efforts of IWGB’s branch organiser Jordi Lopez the workers have also won all of their individual cases relating to the transfer. All IWGB members will now transfer on contracts that accurately represent their hours of work.   

Demonstrating the struggle these workers have faced in being passed from company to company and mistreated over the years, one officer brought in-house today said: “At long last the UOL Security staff are free.”

Khurram and Jhonny wearing their brand new University of London uniforms

This transfer ensures important material gains for every member of staff: now that the University isn’t squandering money on creating profits for outsourcing firms, the workers will receive a pay rise, enhanced annual leave and dignified pensions, bringing them into line with other directly-employed staff at the University of London. 

“These rights should have never been denied to outsourced workers,” says Jordi. “We are so happy to have helped these workers achieve their victory. But the job is not done!

Cleaners are waiting to go In-House in November, with no date given yet. In the meantime, they remain employed by ruthless subcontractors who during the current crisis are withholding wages from dozens of them. There is still a lot of work to do.”

In challenging times for precarious workers, we hope that this victory will bring hope and shows other outsourced workers the path to follow: a path of determination, boldness, unity and solidarity.

Congratulations to Security Officers for winning their struggle! Hasta la victoria siempre!

IMPORTANT- FAO IWGB members affected by Furlough at University of London — April 24, 2020

IMPORTANT- FAO IWGB members affected by Furlough at University of London

This is a message from IWGB about the UK government furlough scheme. The University has confirmed that it is intending to put 47 staff who are not able to work at the moment on ‘furlough’. All this means is that the University is applying for government assistance to pay these people’s wages during the COVID-19 lockdown. It should not mean any difference in pay or terms and conditions.

This only applies to you if you receive a letter or a message from the University telling you that you have been selected for the furlough scheme. If you do not receive such a letter it does not apply to you. 

IWGB reps have reviewed the letter and sent feedback to the University. We are advising our members that they can accept being put on the scheme, but that you should use the following wording in your reply to the University:

“I accept being placed on the furlough scheme but I would like to make clear that my acceptance does not indicate acceptance of any other present or future changes to my contract of employment and/or terms and conditions that do not relate directly to the furlough scheme.”

This relates to clause 5b in the letter. The University has assured us it does not intend to make unilateral changes to anyone’s contract so this is just a further safeguard. 

Please contact us if you have any further questions should you get a letter. Contact Jordi on 07934 462548 or Catherine on 07926 879011. Thank you!

Best wishes,

Lindsey, Mark, Maritza and Jamie

UNETE A NUESTRA VIDEO LLAMADA EN ESPAÑOL —

UNETE A NUESTRA VIDEO LLAMADA EN ESPAÑOL

Este día sábado 25 de Abril a las 2pm

Estaremos dando información muy importante sobre el arduo trabajo que hemos venido haciendo como sindicato para representar cientos de trabajadores durante el COVID-19.

  • Los cambios y nuevas políticas laborales implementadas por el Gobierno.
  • Que derechos tienes como trabajador y que tienen que hacer en caso de tener problemas con su empleador durante esta crisis.
  • Estaremos respondiendo todas sus preguntas.

Todos pueden unirse desde su computadora, ordenador o telefono mediante este enlace! https://zoom.us/j/96575818025
Los esperamos a todos!
Sindicato IWGB

The IWGB is hiring! —
IWGB demands for key workers at the University of London during the Covid-19 emergency — April 16, 2020

IWGB demands for key workers at the University of London during the Covid-19 emergency

IWGB wrote to University of London’s Vice Chancellor with a series of demands for all essential workers who continue to work at University of London during the current Covid-19 emergency:

Dear Wendy Thomson

Despite the current pandemic, security staff are currently working at University of London and cleaners continue to service the Halls of Residence.

With the majority of UoL staff working remotely it could be easy to forget that some members of staff are still travelling in and working onsite in an extremely delicate and exceptional context.  

Taking into account the incredible effort these workers are making and having consulted our members we write to present a series of demands:

  • Given the circumstances and the current risks faced, anyone attending work must do so on a voluntary basis.
  • University of London will introduce a “hazard rate” for all those key workers who continue to work on site during the duration of the pandemic; (this in line with other Universities and Public institutions)
  • Those volunteering to attend work during the current period will receive an enhanced pay rate for the hours worked on site, namely double the normal hourly rate (£21.5)
  • Those who have worked on site since the government announcement of lockdown on 21st MARCH will received backdated pay of the hours worked at the mentioned rate
  • The health and safety requirements are that full PPE will be provided, small teams will be used to allow for social distancing and a rota will be deployed to ensure cleaners will only attend site once a week

Key workers are facing exceptional challenges in these times, and the cleaners and security officers at University of London are no exception. They continue to attend work, while the rest of us are advised not to venture out. The work they do, and the risks they are currently taking, must be recognised and compensated.

We believe that University of London will adopt a responsible position in these circumstances and acknowledge the invaluable role that key workers such as security officers and cleaners are playing during the current pandemic.

Kind Regards

Grupo de Ayuda Mutua para hispanohablantes —

Grupo de Ayuda Mutua para hispanohablantes

Queremos asegurarse de que usted está recibiendo el apoyo que necesita durante la crisis del coronavirus, particularmente si está vulnerable o en aislamiento.

El IWGB ha creado un grupo de Ayuda Mutua para hispanohablantes en la zona de Elephant and Castle al que le invitamos a unirse aquí: bitly.com/ayudamutuaEC

Este grupo de Ayuda Mutua existe para las personas que se ayudan entre sí en su barrio durante la crisis del coronavirus. Por ejemplo, si alguien está enfermo y en aislamiento otra persona se ofrecerá para traerle las compras o sus prescripciones. Si una persona anciana no puede salir de su casa y se siente solitario, alguien se ofrecerá para llamarle y hacerle compañía.

No olvide que el IWGB también está apoyando a miembros que se enfrentan con problemas financieros, despidos, recortes salariales o una falta de equipos de protección. Para averiguar cómo podemos ayudarle, por favor llamenos al 07401272879. Si necesita apoyo para reclamar prestaciones, por favor rellene este formulario: bitly.com/losbeneficios

Para obtener consejos médicos por favor sigue verificando las noticias y el sitio web del NHS. Usted puede acceder a una guía útil sobre el coronavirus y escrito por Doctors of the World (Médicos del Mundo) aquí: bitly.com/guia-covid19

Your union needs YOU! IWGB calls for volunteers — April 4, 2020

Your union needs YOU! IWGB calls for volunteers

✊ CALLING ALL IWGB MEMBERS, VOLUNTEERS & ACTIVISTS ✊

Want to get involved and help but not sure how? IWGB is mobilising volunteers to help the union’s members at this unprecedented time. All sorts of skills are needed, so sign up, come along to the zoom calls and see what you can do!

Join us on our weekly volunteer calls where we hear from volunteer activists, branch updates from the frontline of the crisis, and a weekly guest speaker. This week we have the brilliant Nadia Whittome MP.

Open to all – so GET INVOLVED and sign up below! It is only through powerful trade unions that we can deal with this crisis and build a better world 💪

We have launched a **MASS MOBILISATION OF VOLUNTEERS** in response to COVID-19. Our members are on the sharp edge of this crisis and urgently need your assistance.

If you think you can help, sign up today: https://airtable.com/shrFEzgqh73oBHIjo   

Justice for Student Central Bar Staff! — March 26, 2020

Justice for Student Central Bar Staff!

On Monday 13 March, all 13 members of Bar Staff at Student central were informed that the bar was closing on that day for an indefinite period of time. Despite multiple questions and requests regarding their salary, Aramark failed to provide any answer with regards to this matter.  The only response offered was that the staff members should seek to apply for Universal Credit, a wholly inappropriate response given the urgency of the matter and well-known wait time Universal Credit applications involve.

IWGB wrote to Wendy Thomson on Thursday stressing the importance of having this issue resolved as a matter of urgency, as some of the workers laid-off have been without pay for more than a week now. However, UoL has refused to provide any response with regards to this matter.

As mentioned in our previous email, we have now launched a public campaign and the situation of these workers has already gained public attention through the media:

https://novaramedia.com/2020/03/21/coronavirus-shows-how-the-government-fails-precariousworkers/?fbclid=IwAR0s07qEnQPbmDWdpqafXfluL7Nnoe6kQmeeBQ1FdRs9wLPPjPQRMU8Gg0Y

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/coronavirus-zero-hours-contract-workers-laid-off-text-a9419261.html

The most concerning aspect of this case is that whilst University of London has repeated many times that zero-hour contracts are not used in the employment of outsourced staff, all the workers that have been laid off were employed on such contracts.  

This is a blatant example of the lack of protection of outsourced workers. Workers who the university continues to outsource despite the multiple campaigns against these types of contracts.

One of the bar staff members affected by the lay-off has provided the following statement:

“UoL’s lack of action during this global crisis has highlighted an appalling disregard for the wellbeing of its staff. With zero communication from management following being laid off via a Facebook message– with no mention of pay– we have rallied as a team to fight for our rightful wages. However, there has been little to no acknowledgment of our demands, not even any words to assuage our concerns. Many of us rely on this income, and work full-time equivalent hours. Our livelihoods have been jeopardised, and our employers refuse to even speak with us. It’s outrageous that we are having to fight this hard even for a response, and reveals UoL to be an uncaring and immoral corporation. As zero hour workers, our positions have always been precarious, and no one should ever be in this position- to UoL, the truth is that we are expendable workers whose welfare is at the bottom of the list”

 The IWGB shall not stand idly whilst our members are left jobless, with no income and facing financial destitution. The University of London must take immediate action and ensure that the following demands are met:

a.      All 13 employees will receive full payment of their wages, this based on an average of the hours work over the past 12 weeks (not considering Christmas closure)

b.      Aramark will provide all of them with written statement of particulars. The terms and conditions reflected (hours of work) will be subject to consultation with all individuals involved.

We encourage all supporters to make good use of their isolation time and write to Ghazwa.Alwani-Starr@london.ac.uk & VC Ghazwa.Alwani-Starr@london.ac.uk with the following:

WE DEMAND JUSTICE FOR STUDENT CENTRAL BAR STAFF

Bar staff at the Student Central Bar on Malet Street have been laid off with no pay as the University of London has closed the bar due to the Covid-19 public health emergency. Employed on zero hours contracts by Aramark Europe, despite the University of London’s ban on such contracts, these outsourced staff must now be given full recognition and full pay during the closure of their workplace.

I believe that it is  responsibility of Aramark and University of London management to ensure that staff continue to be paid during this period of closure, and demand the full rights of contracted workers regarding their pay.

I therefore request that the University of London and Aramark take immediate action:

a. Aramark must issue all employees with contracts of employment, bringing the Student Central bar into compliance with the University of London ban on zero hours contracts.

b. All Employees are to be paid during this closure an average of their monthly earnings for the past 3 months, or since they started employment, whichever is the earlier date. This average is not to include the weeks that the bar was closed over Christmas.

UoL’s failures during Covid19 Emergency —

UoL’s failures during Covid19 Emergency

This crisis has revealed again the extreme precarity that outsourcing brings to all workers employed under such contracts. While members of Aramark Bar staff at Student Central were laid off without pay on Monday, on friday dozens of Cleaners were informed that they would not receive full pay of their wages.

IWGB-UoL wrote to VC Wendy Thomson to demand immediate actions:

*****

Dear Ms Thomson

I hope this email finds you well

I am writing to you once again to bring to your attention two instances of appalling treatment received by outsourced workers at University of London and the harmful indifference that your institution is showing towards them.

Your institution has a duty of care to these already precarious workers who are currently being put at great risk as a result of your actions in the context of the ongoing health crisis.

I am writing to alert you to the situation they are in, and I trust you will take immediate action to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

Indefinite Lay-Off without pay of Student Central Bar Staff

On Monday 13 March, all 13 members of Bar Staff at Student central were informed that the bar was closing on that day for an indefinite period of time. Despite multiple questions and requests regarding their salary, Aramark failed to provide any answer with regards to this matter.  The only response offered was that the staff members should seek to apply for Universal Credit, a wholly inappropriate response given the urgency of the matter and well-known wait time Universal Credit applications involve.

IWGB wrote to Wendy Thomson on Thursday stressing the importance of having this issue resolved as a matter of urgency, as some of the workers laid-off have been without pay for more than a week now. However, UoL has refused to provide any response with regards to this matter.

As mentioned in our previous email, we have now launched a public campaign and the situation of these workers has already gained public attention through the media: https://novaramedia.com/2020/03/21/coronavirus-shows-how-the-government-fails-precariousworkers/?fbclid=IwAR0s07qEnQPbmDWdpqafXfluL7Nnoe6kQmeeBQ1FdRs9wLPPjPQRMU8Gg0Y & https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/coronavirus-zero-hours-contract-workers-laid-off-text-a9419261.html

 To guarantee the safety and wellbeing of these workers, the University of London must take immediate action and ensure that the following demands are met:

  1. All 13 employees will receive full payment of their wages, this based on an average of the hours work over the past 12 weeks (not considering Christmas closure),
  2. Aramark will provide all of them with a written statement of particulars. The terms and conditions reflected (hours of work) will be subject to consultation with all individuals involved.


Unlawful deduction of wages of cleaners during closure.

For months, cleaners employed by Cordant at UoL have persistently requested to be issued with updated contracts of employment. A group of them work 7 hours a day, 3 hours in Senate House and 4 hours in the Residence Halls. However, their contracts of employment only reflect 3 hours’ work a day. This is despite the fact that some of them have worked 7 hours every day since 2016.  

Several cleaners have raised complaints about this over the past months. Recently, a collective formal grievance was raised. A first outcome was sent confirming that they were right and that they would therefore be provided with an updated contract of employment. However, following an intervention by Cordant management at UoL, the cleaners received an amended outcome confirming that they would not be receiving any updated contract and that any hours beyond 3 contracted hours would be considered overtime.  This left the cleaners with no other option but to initiate tribunal proceedings against Cordant in order to obtain an updated contract of employment.

On Friday 20th March, Cordant management informed some of our members that during closure they would only be paid their contracted hours. This means that dozens of cleaners, to whom an updated contract was denied, will receive only 3 hours of payment instead of 7 per day.

This means that these workers will be left with only half of their income during this pandemic. This decision is not only unlawful but also shows the lack of the most basic humanity towards the cleaning staff at University of London. Several of our members are in a situation of extreme anxiety, unsure on how they will manage to make ends meet, with some of them taking care of family members who have been left out of work during the current crisis.

We therefore urge the University to take immediate measures to ensure that:

  1. All cleaners are paid based on the hours they have persistently worked over the past 12 weeks.
  2. All cleaners affected by this situation are to be provided contracts of employment reflecting the hours they work.

Time for University of London to step up

Whilst other Universities have announced that all staff, including zero hours and casual staff, will be paid their full salary during the whole length of this crisis, the University of London continues to drag its feet.

The current circumstances reveal which institutions are able to lead the way in adapting to offer compassionate and appropriate responses to the current crisis, and which are failing to. UoL has let down its workers in a time of great need, and left them to face poverty in the midst of a pandemic.

However, there is another way forward. You can listen to the voices of outsourced workers and of the wider community asking public institutions to show the way in protecting all members of staff. 

The choice is yours: abandon those who work for you in a time of crisis, or show that the University of London cares for its community, in which these workers play a vital role. The public is watching: your actions in this critical period will not be forgotten. You choose how UoL’s handling of this crisis will be remembered in the future. 

Kind Regards

Further guarantees needed for outsourced workers at UCL — March 23, 2020

Further guarantees needed for outsourced workers at UCL

On 20 March UCL announced  that staff who work at UCL on an “as and when “ basis, i.e. casual and zero hours workers, will be paid their average weekly earnings over the closure period, calculated on the basis of their earnings over the last 12 weeks. This being paid whether they are required to work or not during the coronavirus outbreak.

We celebrate and welcome this important concession, which is the outcome of the fierce determination of the outsourced workers, the solidarity and support of the wider UCL community and the media and press attention brought to the treatment of casual staff at UCL.

However, UCL must take further steps:

Robust scrutiny of the implementation of policies by subcontractors

UCL must ensure that the policies announced are implemented accordingly by your subcontractors. Since UCL made the announcement on Friday we have already been informed by some of our members that Sodexo managers have stated that those employees who are sick will only receive SSP or that workers on zero hours contracts will not receive payment if they do not work. Our members working for Axis have also received similar confusing emails, which claim they are only entitled to SSP.

We therefore urge you to cascade the information properly and scrutinize carefully the implementation of the policies announced. As one part of this, UCL must provide confirmation of reengagement of all the zero hours contract workers laid off by Sodexo and ensure that they receive payment since the day they were laid off.

A ban on zero-hour contracts

The reason dozens of outsourced workers were laid off and left without their main source of income, with less that one day notice, is because of the nature of their contracts of employment. Without quality contracts their precarity will continue.

We therefore urge UCL to ban all zero hours contracts. All workers should be provided with written particulars of employment with contractual hours.

Lack of guarantees for Hospitality and Catering Staff

Furthermore, the announcement constitutes no guarantee for Hospitality and Catering staff. This is due to the nature of their contractual relation with the employer. There are two main areas of concern which must be immediately addressed:

a. Absence of yearly contracts

Not a single member of the Hospitality and Catering team at UCL  have yearly contracts. (They are employed on 28week/40week contracts). This means that in most cases their contracts will terminate at the end of the month giving the subcontractor the right to refuse to provide them with any work.

UCL’s announcement therefore constitutes no guarantee against the precarious nature of their contracts of employment. We therefore demand For all members of the Hospitality/Catering Team to be provided with 52 week / yearly contracts of employment.

b. Contracts not reflecting the hours they work

Currently, the contracts of employment of the Catering and Hospitality Team do not reflect the hours they  actually work, most of the hours being considered “overtime”. This must be resolved and all employees need to be provided with updated particulars of employment which reflect all the hours. The contracted hours reflected on these contracts will be based on the average of weekly hours over the last 6 months. The contracts should be for a minimum of 40 hours a week.

It is only by addressing the above that UCL can guarantee that no outsourced worker will suffer any detriment during the current crisis.

We therefore urge UCL to take immediate steps to address the matters above.

UCL may decide to continue to ignore the demands of outsourced workers and the IWGB. However, UCL will no longer be able to ignore the voices of the wider public and community calling for equality, justice and dignity for all outsourced workers during this crisis.

UCL: Time to Step Up — March 20, 2020

UCL: Time to Step Up

Major concession won: On March 19, UCL announced that one of our key demands during the current COVID-19 crisis will be met:  UCL’s subcontractors Sodexo and Axis will be harmonising sick pay with the UCL scheme from Monday 23rd March, ensuring that outsourced workers at UCL get decent sick pay. Furthemore, any absence due to COVID-19 will not count towards normal absence trigger points.The IWGB welcomes this announcement, which is the result of the relentless pressure and the determination of the outsourced workers.  We also welcome the confirmation by UCL that their subcontractors Sodexo and Axis will be honouring the contracted hours for all outsourced staff over the coming weeks, through the period of closure due to COVID-19 at UCL.Whilst these announcements from UCL are important steps, they are not sufficient.

The current public health crisis has revealed the disregard shown by UCL and its subcontractors to the outsourced workforce, who have been forgotten when it comes to implementing health and safety protections, ignored when they have requested information, and in some cases callously laid off by the subcontractors as buildings close. There are still a number of outstanding issues which must be dealt with.

UCL must take a more robust response to this crisis. Mainly:

1. Immediate reinstatement and guarantee of full payment for all workers who have been laid off during COVID-19 Crisis

Following a flurry of complaints by our union and by UCL staff and students, UCL declared yesterday that no outsourced workers have lost their jobs as a result of the current crisis, merely that ‘as and when’ staff have not been booked in for further shifts.

Juan Camilo, Maria Arias, Luz Mary, Betty Marina,  Pam, Onailda… these are only a few names of the more than 30 outsourced workers who have lost their jobs and their only source of income over the last few days.

All workers, including casual workers, deserve security and UCL should not allow its subcontractors to lay off staff during this crisis, even if they have only worked here for one month. Nonetheless, it is bizarre for UCL to claim that these workers are ‘as and when’ staff:

  • Camilo has worked at Gordon Square since October 2019 for 3 hours per day. He was given a zero hour contract by Sodexo and promised he would be given a permanent contract, but this never happened.
  • Maria Arias has worked at Hawkridge House for 3 hours per day since September 2019. She was given a Zero hour contract and was also hoping to be made permanent.
  • Pâmella Montezano Cora has worked regularly at Gordon Square for 3 hour per day.

These workers are part of the team at UCL and it is disgraceful that Sodexo has treated them like they are disposable. A full list of these staff can be provided by the IWGB, should UCL want further evidence that these staff work on their site regularly.

Sodexo has laid off all of its casual staff and all those on zero hours contracts. In some cases some of the employees had not even signed a contract of employment, despite many of these workers having worked here for months or even over a year.
UCL must insist its subcontractor Sodexo immediately reinstates all of these staff and ensure that they receive full payment of wages during this crisis at their weekly average income (based on the average of their earnings over the previous 12 weeks) and that they receive the new occupational sick pay entitlement in line with the rest of outsourced staff.

2. A ban on all zero hour contracts at UCLThe situation described above has brought to light the inhumane nature of zero hour contracts and the precariousness to which they condemn workers, particularly in situations such as the COVID-19 crisis. UCL should not allow a model to operate at this university which encourages its contractors to abandon their staff during times like this.

This is why we call for a ban on all zero hour contracts on campus. All outsourced workers who have been laid off must be reinstated and provided with written particulars of employment (the content of these, of course, to be agreed with each individual).

3. Payment absences due to COVID-19 or closure

  • Any absence due to COVID-19 (self isolation/sickness) must not be deducted from a worker’s Sick Leave balance.
  • In the case of building closure all workers must receive full pay.
    • This must be calculated based on their average working hours over the past 12 weeks. Many security staff at UCL routinely work 20+ hours above their contracted hours. This is how Axis, the security subcontractor, wishes to run its contract during normal business, so staff should also be paid for these regular overtime hours during this extraordinary situation.
    • This closure period is an extraordinary situation and all staff who are not required to work should receive pay as though they are at work. For instance, some security staff at UCL receive an attendance allowance, this must be provided to them as long as they are fit and available to work, regardless of whether they are required to come in during the closure period.

4. Coronavirus Mitigation Group to include all Trade Unions on Campus

  • UCL has announced that they will include every Trade Union on Campus in their Coronavirus Mitigation Group, with the exception of the IWGB.
  • The IWGB, which represents the majority of outsourced workers on campus, has been leading the way raising issues of health and safety faced by outsourced workers. The IWGB has offered emergency meetings with UCL and its subcontractors to help develop solutions to issues, made clear demands and brought 3 legal challenges against employers for their failure to ensure health and safety.
  • We publicly condemn the failure to include the IWGB as part of the Coronavirus Mitigation Group. The exclusion of the IWGB is part of a longer pattern of irresponsible behaviour by UCL that fails to step up to the current circumstances. Outsourced workers deserve a voice in shaping UCL’s response to this situation.

5. Health and Safety demands

Despite persistently demanding for UCL to take robust action to ensure the Health and Safety of all outsourced workers on campus, no action has been taken to address the multiple concerns raised. Mainly:

  • ensure that all subcontractors carry out appropriate risk assessments and issue health and safety guidelines for members of staff. Risk assessments should be performed following the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). This is a legal requirement and it is shocking that proper assessments have not yet been undertaken, despite numerous concerns raised by outsourced staff across different sites.
  • ensure that all subcontractors carry out an assessment to identify those workers who are at risk (and those that take care of people at risk) and make sure those people are supported to immediately self-isolate.
  • ensure provision of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment – e.g. masks, gloves and hand sanitiser for all staff, as determined by risk assessments for each site. For example, all operations security staff should have at least 2 pairs of gloves per day for conducting their two shifts of patrols.
  • Immediate action regarding high risk zones. In particular Residence Halls & Medical facilities: Residence halls are a high risk area due to many students living there in close proximity. Already our members have seen notices in these halls where areas such as communal kitchens have been designated for use by only those in self-isolation. However, cleaners are being required to clean these areas. Similarly, in UCL’s medical facilities, such as Queen Square House, there has been transfer of infected material (such as 4 dead bodies in QSH) through areas cleaned and secured by UCL’s outsourced staff.
    • UCL must immediately complete robust health and safety risk assessments and demonstrate the implementation of strict health and safety protocols, including strict rules for students residing in halls of residency with symptoms to fully self-isolate.
    • All non-essential staff will be granted full pay special leave and the remaining staff will operate on a rota system.
    • For rooms of individuals self isolating and common spaces such as kitchens and toilets to be cleaned by Specialist subcontractors who ensure that the highest levels of health and safety are implemented to ensure that disinfection of all areas with residents self-isolating

6. Clear up your communications
UCL has put out daily communications to all staff, which is commendable. Regrettably, UCL’s subcontractors have not followed your example and have been woefully lacking in their communications with outsourced staff.

Moreover, your security subcontractor Axis has on several occasions directly contradicted announcements and statements made by UCL. For instance, last week UCL announced that all staff, including outsourced staff, would be entitled to 14 days special leave on full pay should they need to self-isolate. However, last night Axis emailed all security staff on the contract at UCL to inform them that there had been some confusion and they would not be paid this rate, rather if they need to self-isolate they would be entitled only to Statutory Sick Pay (£94 per week) after several days, under their normal sickness absence policy.

The IWGB assumes that Axis is merely making another display of their usual incompetence and UCL has not reversed its position that all outsourced staff will also be entitled to the 14 days special leave. However, this sort of thing is extremely concerning for the workers, who are being given contradictory information regarding vital matters of whether or not they will get paid if they get sick during this crisis.

It is vital that UCL gets a grip of this situation and ensures clear communication to staff by its subcontractors, in line with the policies UCL has decided upon.

Finally,

You may think that ignoring the demands of outsourced workers and their trade union representatives is the best course of action for now. You are excluding workers from having input into how to mitigate the worst effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
UCL, as a high profile institution with a global reputation, should be at the forefront of dealing with COVID-19. In this light, I ask you to think about how we, the wider UCL community, and the public will look back on these patterns of behaviours. Across London, workers, organisations, and communities have shown immense strength by coming together collectively to respond. You, UCL, and the outsourcing companies are, for now, on the wrong side of history. Now is the time to step up.

Regards,
Dr Jamie Woodcock
Branch SecretaryUniversity of London IWGB

🚨IWGB-UoL demands during the COVID-19 crisis🚨 — March 18, 2020

🚨IWGB-UoL demands during the COVID-19 crisis🚨

In light of the worsening Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, and taking into account the serious failures of UCL and its subcontractors to ensure the health and safety of outsourced staff, IWGB University of London has agreed to put forward a series of demands:

First, a written guarantee of full pay for all outsourced workers, counted as special leave, for as long as needed, in cases of sickness due to coronavirus or if self-isolation is required, whether for themselves or to protect vulnerable others.

Second, greater clarity on the procedures and requirements to access the special leave policy that has already been announced by UCL. The government and NHS are not issuing sick notes until after 7 days of self-isolation, but are instructing workers to stay home if they have symptoms. UCL and its subcontractors should ensure that all workers who need to self-isolate receive full pay on a special leave basis for as long as necessary, without the requirement to provide a sick note. This is important as part of an employer’s legal duty of care to workers who are at risk.

Third, UCL and its subcontractors must identify workers who are at risk and ensure they self-isolate and the appropriate support is provided to them.

Fourth, for staff on Zero-Hour and Temporary Contracts: Guarantee that workers on zero hours contracts will be paid during self-isolation, sick leave, and in case of closure or reduction in service at UCL. This should be paid at a rate the same as the average they have earned over the 12 previous weeks. The same should apply if services close down or reduce the level of service. At least 12 hospitality staff have already been dismissed at UCL by your subcontractor Sodexo. These staff should all immediately be reinstated and guaranteed payment as specified above for the duration of the reduction in service at UCL. All planned redundancies of this sort should immediately be halted.

Fifth, ensure that all subcontractors carry out appropriate risk assessments and issue health and safety guidelines for members of staff, and that they carry out an assessment to identify those at risk (and those that take care of people at risk) and make sure those people are supported to immediately self-isolate. Risk assessments should be performed following the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). This must involve:

1. finding out what the health hazards are;
2. deciding how to prevent harm to health (risk assessment);
3. providing control measures to reduce harm to health;
4. making sure they are used;
5. keeping all control measures in good working order;
6. providing information, instruction and training for employees and others;
7. providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases,
8. planning for emergencies.

Sixth, ensure provision of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment – e.g. masks, gloves and hand sanitiser for all staff, as determined by risk assessments for each site. For example, all operations security staff should have at least 2 pairs of gloves per day for conducting their two shifts of patrols.

Seventh, closure of all possible UCL sites and reduction of the amount of workers on site as far as possible:

– Close all buildings possible to be closed.

– Ensure that those who are vulnerable on account of age, health conditions or caring responsibilities are removed from site on special leave with full pay effective immediately.

– Identify all non-essential roles on site and ensure those staff are removed from site on special leave with full pay as soon as possible. Run a skeleton crew on site with minimum possible staff. For all essential roles, identify all those staff who are fit to work and bring them in on a weekly rota system in small teams. This will help to ensure staff health and safety and reduce the public health risk by reducing the number of staff who come into contact with one another and who have to commute using public transport.

Eight, immediate action regarding high risk zones, in particular Residence Halls & Medical facilities:

Residence halls are a high risk area due to many students living there in close proximity. Already our members have seen notices in these halls where areas such as communal kitchens have been designated for use by only those in self-isolation. However, cleaners are being required to clean these areas. Similarly, in UCL’s medical facilities, such as Queen Square House, there has been transfer of infected material (such as 4 dead bodies in QSH) through areas cleaned and secured by UCL’s outsourced staff.

UCL must immediately complete robust health and safety risk assessments and demonstrate the implementation of strict health and safety protocols, including strict rules for students residing in halls of residency with symptoms to fully self-isolate.

All non-essential staff will be granted full pay special leave and the remaining staff will operate on a rota system.
For rooms of individuals self isolating and common spaces such as kitchens and toilets to be cleaned by Specialist subcontractors who ensure that the highest levels of health and safety are implemented to ensure that disinfection of all areas with residents self-isolating.

Nine, UCL has done well to provide daily updates to staff regarding the developing situation. UCL’s subcontractors Axis and Sodexo should also be required to provide daily updates on the situation to outsourced staff. UCL should also provide full transparency to staff and trade unions regarding its pandemic response plan and UCL should invite representatives from all unions that represent workers on campus to attend meetings with the UCL COVID-19 working group or another appropriate body.

Failure to meet these demands puts all workers and students at risk across UCL.

If these demands are not met by midday 12:00 on Thursday 19th of March, we will escalate action until you agree to do so, including taking appropriate legal action, notifying the Health and Safety Executive, and recommending that our members begin immediate industrial action.

We will not stand idly by while our members face these unacceptable risks.

IWGB message to UCL outsourced staff re COVID-19 — March 13, 2020

IWGB message to UCL outsourced staff re COVID-19

IWGB wrote to UCL earlier this week to demand full payment for those who develop symptoms and need to be isolated at home or in hospital.

UCL has replied and confirmed that all workers, including outsourced staff, will be paid full pay for 14 days if they develop symptoms and have to be isolated.

We are now pushing for confirmation that UCL will also give full sick pay to all outsourced workers who have to take sick leave. Although UCL announced in the Autumn improvements to sick pay for outsourced staff, those improvements will only be introduced in July on the current schedule, the current emergency justifies UCL moving forward with these plans and introducing full sick pay for all outsourced workers immediately.

We have also written to Axis and demanded that Axis implement the necessary health and safety measures and ensures that disinfectant gel is available to all workers. If you have other health and safety concerns related to this issue, please contact the union so we can raise these concerns and look for solutions.

We would simply like to remind you that in this situation it is important to remain calm and follow established procedures, but also to demand that companies comply with health and safety standards at the workplace.

Any problem please report it to us (charliemacnamara@iwgb.co.uk), and we will keep you updated

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 4th April, 2pm / ASAMBLEA GENERAL ANUAL – 4 de abril, 1400 —

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 4th April, 2pm / ASAMBLEA GENERAL ANUAL – 4 de abril, 1400

It’s that time of year again! Our AGM will take place on Saturday 4th April at 2 pm.  This year the meeting will be held in Room DLT,  SOAS Main Building, 10 Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury (full address details here). 

Everyone is welcome, and remember this is your chance to:

  • Get details on all our achievements during the past 12 months.
  • Discuss and decide the direction and future of our branch.
  • Run for a position as an official within the branch.
  • Elect new officers.
  • Elect the delegates to the Union-wide Annual General Meeting.

Every member has a voice! (and a vote!)

The positions we will be electing for the next term are:

  • Chair & Vice-Chair
  • Secretary and Deputy Secretary
  • Treasurer and Deputy Treasurer
  • Communications
  • Education Officer
  • Campaigns & Recruitment Officer
  • BAME Officer
  • Women’s Officer 

Food and drink is available,  A great way to enjoy some time with friend and colleagues, and to find out more about your union.  See you on the 4th April!

Justice4Gulzeb: STOP THE VICTIMISATION OF THIS OUTSOURCED SECURITY OFFICER AT UoL — March 11, 2020

Justice4Gulzeb: STOP THE VICTIMISATION OF THIS OUTSOURCED SECURITY OFFICER AT UoL

Gulzeb Khan has worked as a Security Officer at  University of London since 8 July 2019.  Since the beginning of his employment at University of London, Gulzeb has worked a minimum of 58 hours a week. For months he requested a contract of employment from his managers, but his requests were ignored.

Eventually, on Thursday 17 January he was given a contract.  However, the contract only showed that Gulzeb was employed for a total of 24 hours a week, which did not reflect his actual terms and conditions of employment. Gulzeb continued to be given 58 hours work a week.

On 22 January, Mr Khan raised a grievance in which he asserted his right to be provided with a contract that accurately reflected all his hours of employment.  In the grievance letter, Mr Khan detailed how he had worked an average of 58 hours since the start of his employment on a persistent basis. He claimed that the contract of employment he had been provided after months of request did not reflect his terms and conditions of employment.

On the week following the submission of his grievance, Gulzeb checked his rota to find that  most of his shifts had been cancelled which led to a reduction of 50% of his hours of work.

When Gulzeb called the schedulers to ask why his shifts had been cancelled he was informed  by the controller that the manager on the contract  had sent an email asking for his shifts to be cancelled. In the weeks following, Gulzeb would be assigned shifts that would then be cancelled. Each time he called the scheduler he was informed that, according to instructions from the manager at University of London, his shifts were cancelled. The fact this change only occurred after Gulzeb submitted a formal complaint constitutes a blatant example of victimisation.

As already mentioned Mr Khan has worked an average of 58 hours since the start of his employment and the reduction to his hours only occurred after he raised a grievance in which he asked for an updated contract of employment.

Gulzeb, who is father of two and only breadwinner of his household also takes care of his elderly mother back in Pakistan and of his brother who is currently in hospital after undergoing very serious surgery.  

This is a very serious situation because I support my children and take care of my wife who is very sick. …My dad past away last year and I have been taking care of my elderly mother and of my young brother, who recently went through a very serious medical intervention.  I am not given any more shifts and this is putting my whole family in a terrible financial situation. I am struggling at the moment.  For months I have been working for 5 or 6 days a week, and since I raise my complained they are cancelling all my shifts and only working a couple of days a week. I need help and support and hope that University of London will help. I work really hard for the University, and I hope I can obtain justice

#Justice4Gulzeb

Gulzeb needs your support in this difficult and stressful situation.  Please email UoL’s VC urging her to put an end to the victimisation of Gulzeb: wendy.thomson@london.ac.uk & simon.cain@london.ac.uk

“Dear Ms Thomson

I am writing to express my Solidarity with Gulzen Khan, Security Officer at University of London.  I urge you to take immediate action to stop the victimisation of Gulzeb and ensure that your outsourced manager stop cancelling his shifts and Gulzeb is allowed to work 5 days a week as usual.  

#Justice4Gulzeb

Kind Regards”

What it’s like to get sick as an outsourced worker at UCL … —

What it’s like to get sick as an outsourced worker at UCL …

Earlier this year, two outsourced security staff at UCL had to take time off work after each of them was badly injured outside of work. This has revealed just how poorly UCL supports its outsourced staff when they become sick.

One of these security officers, David Kikupi, has asked us to share his story so that his colleagues, friends, members of the UCL community and supporters of our campaign to end outsourcing are aware of just how bad the situation can get.

David in St Mary's HospitalDavid in St Mary’s hospital with a colleague


A couple of friends from work asked if I would write a letter describing what has happened to me recently – what has kept me away from work. They said I should detail what happened, the effect it has had on my life, the difficulties it has caused me and what I feel about these experiences.

But first of all, a bit of background. My family is in Kenya. I came to the UK when I was 20 to build my life here. I’m now 42. The UK and London in particular, is my home. For just over 10 years now I have worked as a security officer at University College London. Firstly for one security outsourcing company, then when they left I chose to stay at UCL and take employment with the new security outsourcing company. Just as I have made London my home I see UCL as my place of work.

Early in December I travelled to Kenya to visit my mother and the rest of the family. It was while driving in Nairobi that I had an accident. A collision with another car that turned out quite bad. My foot was badly mangled and required major surgery to put it back together. It was clear from the start I’d be in hospital for a long time and would need many operations to repair the damage to the foot.

If this accident had happened in the UK, although serious, it wouldn’t have caused me the problems it has. The initial surgery was done in a Nairobi hospital. My fiancée and I were planning our wedding for this year in the summer of 2020. I had been saving up money for our wedding. In Kenyan culture the groom is often expected to pay a dowry for the bride and I had also saved money for this. The hospital treatment, unlike in the UK, had to be paid for. And although not expensive, it was completely unexpected. All the money I had saved got used for medical bills.

This meant a very difficult conversation with Pheliciah, my fiancée. A conversation I would have given anything not to have. Our wedding has had to be put off. Naturally, she was understanding, she’s not blaming me, it wasn’t my fault, but I cannot help feeling at times that I have let her down.

Because of my financial situation, the money I had was running out, and the fact my foot would need major reconstructive surgery, I got myself discharged from the hospital in Nairobi and got a flight to London. From the airport I went straight to Barnet Hospital, then transferred to St. Mary’s, Paddington, which is a hospital specialising in major trauma injuries.

Although I was prepared to pay the rent on my London flat while on holiday, I wasn’t prepared for all this time in hospital and with funds running out I have had to let my flat go because I just cannot pay the rent. As an outsourced worker for UCL, I received a few weeks of company sick pay from the outsourcing company, after which I do not get anything other than the minimum statutory sick pay of £94.25 per week. Nowhere near enough to cover my rent, so I am now effectively homeless. Some of my colleagues from work helped me get my belongings into storage, otherwise I don’t know what I would have done. When the hospital does discharge me, they aren’t going to put me on the street, they have said they will arrange a room in a hostel.

I have my pride and this is a big come down for me. Out of a clear blue sky something completely unexpected happens. Something no one would plan for. My whole life has been turned upside down. I had my own flat in London, I had money in the bank and best of all, I was looking forward to my upcoming marriage. Now everything is up in the air. I find myself in a place I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. As I said, I have my pride, and I know I will get back on my feet. I’ll get back to work, then I’ll stop in the hostel long enough to get some money saved, get a flat, get everything back on track.

The thing I have learned from this is just how precarious life can be. Everything was going well for me and life couldn’t have been sweeter. And then, without warning, it all turns to mud.

I’m not a jealous person, but you look at your friends that work for almost any other sort of organisation, other than an outsourcing company, and you realise that if I had worked for almost any other employer I would not be in this situation. If I had got just the usual sort of sick pay everyone else seems to get, I would not have burned all my savings, I would not have lost my flat and most of all, I would have not have let my fiancée down.

But what is really galling is having spent over ten years of my life working at UCL, often 60 hours or more in a week, when something goes wrong, you realise that ultimately you are not part of the club. It doesn’t matter how the staff, in the building where I now work, try to make you feel part of the team and how much you are encouraged to identify with UCL, when things turn bad you are not part of the team at all. That’s when the reality of your employment situation hits home. Some piece of bad luck could happen to any of us UCL outsourced workers at any time and you find yourself in desperate trouble, as I have done.

UCL has employed security staff directly in the past, you’d wonder why they cannot do it again and give us security equal access to basic rights such as decent sick pay. It would have made such a difference to me.


David is now out of hospital and is staying with a relative while he recovers. He has been off work for over 2 months now and it will likely take several more months before he recovers.

David has received a few weeks company sick pay from UCL’s security subcontractor Axis at his normal rate of pay, but has now moved onto statutory sick pay at a much lower rate. This means he will have to support himself on only £94.25 per week.


The IWGB union was pleased to hear in the Autumn that UCL had promised to level up the sick pay entitlement for outsourced staff by July 2020, meaning that outsourced staff will then on receive full sick pay when sick – the equivalent entitlement to UCL employees.

However, in both David and his colleague’s cases, this would mean that they will not receive these entitlements until July. As a result, they are facing severe hardship, with neither of them able to earn their usual income.

For this reason, the IWGB union has written today to UCL’s Provost Michael Arthur and the UCL Council to ask them to speed up the implementation of improvements to sick pay for outsourced workers and to ensure that both David and his colleague receive full sick pay immediately.

This issue of poor sickness benefits is a key plank of our union’s campaign for equality and an end to outsourcing at UCL. UCL’s direct employees receive significantly better sickness entitlements than outsourced staff. It is only right that UCL’s outsourced staff receive equal terms and conditions as direct employees and UCL should act now to make improvements and end outsourcing.

In the Autumn, the university stated publicly that they disapprove of the deterioration of terms and conditions that have taken place over the years for UCL’s outsourced workforce and they wish to rectify this. Right now, two valued members of staff are suffering as a result of that deterioration. UCL has promised to improve this situation in a few months time in July, but that will be too late for these two members of UCL staff, who are being left in an extremely precarious position as a result of UCL’s policies.

There is no good reason why the improvements UCL has promised should not be sped up and implemented right away. UCL has the financial resources at its disposal. And logistically it is not complicated to extend decent sickness benefits to staff as the processes for (inadequate) company sick pay are already in place.

The only reason UCL management wishes to delay delivering these improvements is to slow down the campaign led by UCL’s outsourced workers for full equality and an end to outsourcing.

But UCL’s delay tactics must end now, there is simply too much at stake. The sick pay issue has ramifications beyond the fight for fair and just treatment for David and his colleagues. With the increasing risks posed by the spread of Coronavirus in the UK, it is vital that ALL staff have the entitlements and benefits they need to be able to take leave if they get sick. Poor conditions for outsourced staff will impact everyone in the UCL community.

UCL must act now to improve sickness entitlements for all outsourced staff.

If you support our call for decent sick pay for all staff at UCL, please write to the Provost of UCL and to the UCL Council here:

Provost: michael.arthur@ucl.ac.uk

Members of UCL Council with publicly listed email addresses: h.pikhart@ucl.ac.ukl.clapp@ucl.ac.uka.dolphin@ucl.ac.ukp.haggard@ucl.ac.uka.coker@ucl.ac.ukh.roberts@ucl.ac.uke.officer@ucl.ac.ukdoc.officer@ucl.ac.uk,

Registrar and Secretary of UCL Council: w.appleby@ucl.ac.uk,

Members of UCL senior management: m.blain@ucl.ac.ukf.fryer@ucl.ac.uk,c.tranter@ucl.ac.ukduncan.palmer@ucl.ac.ukf.ryland@ucl.ac.uk,


Many thanks for your support!

In solidarity,

The IWGB union

Attention all members – please sign up to our new IWGB-UoL Broadcast channel — March 6, 2020

Attention all members – please sign up to our new IWGB-UoL Broadcast channel

We have created an IWGB-UoL Broadcast channel, to keep you updated on all the news, campaigns and events of the UoL Branch (this is also free and will allow us to save on the costs of SMS messaging).

To subscribe to the channel follow the steps listed below.

1. Save the Uol branch phone number (07934462548) in your phone contacts.

2. Send a whatsapp message to this number with your full name and place of work.

3. We will add you to the channel and you are now ready to receive all the news from your branch!

Próxima reunión de la rama – miércoles 4 de marzo a las 12.30 – y otras noticias — February 28, 2020

Próxima reunión de la rama – miércoles 4 de marzo a las 12.30 – y otras noticias

Hola a todos y todas,

Esperemos que hayan recibido (si no, ¡háganos saber!) El boletín nacional de IWGB para febrero, que estuvo lleno del trabajo que el sindicato está haciendo en lo que ahora se ha convertido en 11 ramas y casi 5000 miembros.

Por eso pensamos que era un buen momento para ponerles al día de todo lo que NUESTRA sucursal ha estado haciendo, así como también para asegurarnos de que todos los miembros sepan a quién contactar con cualquier problema laboral que surja y para informarles sobre nuestra próxima reunión de la rama, que se llevará a cabo el próximo miércoles 4 de marzo a las 12.30 (sala por confirmar) – hablaremos de todos los temas a continuación y más, pero avísenos si hay algo que les gustaría agregar a la agenda.

Campaña interna de Senate House noticias más recientes: victoria para nuestros encargados de seguridad y nuestros limpiadores

Después de una larga campaña de huelgas, protestas y, por supuesto, el boicot de IWGB, 2020 verá el alojamiento del resto del personal de seguridad de UoL (en mayo) más nuestros limpiadores (en noviembre) dentro de UoL. Si bien persisten los problemas sobre los detalles de los contratos que se ofrecerán y la subcontratación continua del personal de catering y mantenimiento, no hay duda de que esto representa una victoria masiva para estos trabajadores, que ahora recibirán un tratamiento equitativo frente a las pensiones, enfermos pago, vacaciones y pago de maternidad / paternidad con personal interno.

Queríamos agradecerles a todos nuestros miembros y simpatizantes y recordarle al personal afectado que continuaremos trabajando para garantizar que el proceso TUPE se desarrolle sin problemas y de manera justa. Cualquier duda contacte con nuestro organizador de sucursal Jordi (jordilopez-botey@iwgb.co.uk).

Campaña UCL End OutSourcing

Siguiendo los pasos de Senate House, estamos ocupados con la mayor campaña de in-house en la historia de las universidades. Después de dos huelgas masivas por parte de los oficiales de seguridad y los limpiadores de IWGB a fines del año pasado, UCL ahora se ha comprometido a mejorar la provisión de salarios, vacaciones y enfermedad para el personal subcontratado en 2020. Este es un logro increíble, y la campaña continúa presionando a UCL por un calendario claro para cumplir sus promesas y terminar con la subcontratación de una vez por todas.

Para más detalles sobre los próximos pasos en la campaña, puede hablar con nuestra presidenta Maritza (maritzacastillocalle@iwgb.co.uk) o el organizador de la campaña de UCL Charlie (charliemacnamara@iwgb.co.uk).

Reestructuraciones de la Universidad de Londres

Muchos de ustedes saben de la gran reestructuración de CoSector que ha tenido lugar, pero además de esto, se están produciendo procesos más pequeños en el RSI y se proponen para el departamento de Finanzas. En todos estos casos, el IWGB ha estado apoyando a los miembros, desafiando las propuestas y representando a los miembros para luchar por sus trabajos o (en algunos casos) por pagos de redundancia mejorados. Si se ha visto afectado, se ve afectado o tiene miedo de ser afectado, no dude en ponerse en contacto con nuestros secretarios asistentes Mark (markmurphy@iwgb.co.uk) y Lindsey (lindseycaffin@iwgb.co.uk).

Queja colectiva de HEE

Después de la transferencia de TUPE del ex personal de UoL a HEE el año pasado, lo que condujo a grandes recortes en el salario neto para el personal de grado 4, el IWGB ha lanzado una queja colectiva para obtener una compensación para estos empleados y combatir lo que afirmamos que fue un proceso discriminatorio que afectó injustamente y desproporcionadamente personal BAME y femenino. Actualmente estamos esperando el resultado de la etapa informal de este proceso, pendiente de escalar a una queja formal.

El caso está siendo manejado por Catherine, la Oficial de Mujeres de IWGB, y no dude en comunicarse con ella (catherinemorrissey@iwgb.co.uk) si tiene alguna pregunta.

Foro de Información y Consulta de Empleados

Ahora tenemos una lista completa de representantes de IWGB recién elegidos para el Foro UoL ICE, por el cual la Universidad se ve obligada a informarnos y consultarnos sobre todos los temas principales. La última reunión se celebró en enero y aquí se encuentra la lista complete de los representantes.

Tenemos una gran oportunidad a través de este foro para pedir cuentas a la Universidad, así que pónganse en contacto con sus representantes o con nosotros si tienen algún problema que les gustaría plantear.

Tus representantes y como involucrarse

El IWGB tiene representantes en Senate House y UCL para empleados internos y externos, y ustedes deben sentirse libres de ponerse en contacto con ellos para cualquier cosa.

Además, siempre estamos interesados en que nuevas personas se ofrezcan como voluntarias (¡el sindicato es tan fuerte como sus miembros!). Hay muchas maneras diferentes en que pueden ayudar al sindicato, así que por favor escriban a nuestro secretario de rama Jamie (jamiewoodcock@iwgb.co.uk ) si quieren participar.

¡Esperamos verles en 2020! Hasta la Victoria!

Lindsey Caffin

Subsecretario de la rama

PD: ¡Una última cosa! UCU está de huelga en SOAS, Birkbeck y UCL. ¡Visiten sus líneas de piquete y muéstrenles apoyo si pueden!

 

 

Next branch meeting – Wednesday 3 March at 12.30 – plus other news! — February 25, 2020

Next branch meeting – Wednesday 3 March at 12.30 – plus other news!

We thought it was a good time to give you an update on everything our branch has been doing, as well as make sure all members know who to contact with any workplace issues that arise AND let you know about our next branch meeting, which will be held next Wednesday 4 March at 12.30 (room tbc) – we will be discussing all the issues below and more, but do let me know if you have anything you would like to add to the agenda.

Senate House in-house campaign latest – victory for our security and cleaners

Following a long IWGB campaign of strikes, protests and of course the boycott, 2020 will see the in-housing of the remainder of UoL security staff (in May) plus our cleaners (in November). While issues remain over the details of the contracts to be offered and the continued outsourcing of catering and maintenance staff, there is no doubt that this represents a massive victory for these workers, who will now receive equaly treatment vis-à-vis pensions, sick pay, holidays and maternity/paternity pay with in-house staff.

We wanted to thank all our members and supporters AND to remind affected staff that we will continue to work to ensure the TUPE process goes ahead smoothly and fairly. Any questions please contact our branch organiser Jordi (jordilopez-botey@iwgb.co.uk).

UCL End OutSourcing campaign

Hot on the heels of Senate House, we are busy with the biggest in-housing campaign in HE history. Following two massive strikes by IWGB security and cleaners at the end of last year, UCLhas now committed to improving pay, holiday and sickness provision for outsourced staff in 2020. This is an amazing achievement, and the campaign continues to pressure UCL for a clear timetable by which to keep its promises, and to end outsourcing once and for all.

For more details on the next steps in the campaign you can speak to our chair Maritza (maritzacastillocalle@iwgb.co.uk) or UCL campaign organiser Charlie (charliemacnamara@iwgb.co.uk).

University of London restructures

 Many of you will be aware of the huge CoSector restructure that has been taking place, but in addition to this smaller processes are occurring at the IHR and are proposed for the Finance department. In all of these instances the IWGB has been supporting members – both challenging the proposals themselves and by representing members to fight for their jobs or (in some instances) for enhanced redundancy payments. If you have been affected, are affected or fear you will be affected please do not hesitate to get in touch with our assistant branch secretaries Mark (markmurphy@iwgb.co.uk) and Lindsey (lindseycaffin@iwgb.co.uk).

HEE collective grievance

Following the TUPE transfer of former UoL staff to HEE last year, which led to huge cuts in take home pay for grade 4 staff, the IWGB has launched a collective grievance to obtain compensation for these employees and to combat what we assert was a discriminatory process which unfairly affected disproportionately BAME and female staff. We are currently awaiting the outcome of the informal stage of this process, pending escalation to a formal grievance. The case is being handled by Catherine, the IWGB Women’s Officer, and please do feel free to contact her (catherinemorrissey@iwgb.co.uk) with any questions.

Information and Consultation of Employees Forum

 We now have a newly elected full slate of IWGB reps for the UoL ICE Forum, by which the University is forced to inform and consult with us over all major issues. The latest meeting was held in January and a full list of reps can be found here. We have a great opportunity via this forum to hold the University to account, so please do get in touch with your reps or with us if you have any issues that you would like raised.

Your reps and getting involved

The IWGB has reps across Senate House and UCL for both in-house and outsourced employees, and you should feel free to contact them with any issues at work. In addition, we are always keen for new people to volunteer (the union is only as strong as its members!) – there are loads of different ways in which you can help the union, so please do drop our branch secretary Jamie (jamiewoodcock@iwgb.co.uk) a line if you would like to get involved.

Looking forward to seeing you in 2020! Hasta la Victoria!

Lindsey Caffin

Assistant Branch Secretary

PS one last thing! UCU are currently on strike over pensions, pay, casualisation, workload and discriminatory paygaps at SOAS, Birkbeck and UCL. Please do visit their picket lines and show them support if you can!

Security in-house campaign meeting tonight! All welcome! — February 21, 2020
UCL Campaign General Meeting: representatives of cleaners & porters renew their commitment to fight outsourcing —

UCL Campaign General Meeting: representatives of cleaners & porters renew their commitment to fight outsourcing

Last Saturday, representatives of cleaners at UCL attended their Campaign General Meeting 2020 to discuss the next steps in the campaign and the current situation following UCL’s announcement of improved terms and conditions for outsourced staff.

On 28 November, following the biggest strike of outsourced workers in the history of Education UCL announced improvements to outsourced workers’ terms and conditions:

  1. UCL confirmed outsourced workers will receive increased holiday entitlement from 1 December 2019.
  2. UCL would implement improved pay on 1 April 2020 and equal sickness benefits on 1 July 2020.

See full statement here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2019/nov/equalised-pay-and-benefits-confirmed-ucls-security-cleaning-portering-and-catering-staff

In the General Meeting the representatives agreed that this had been a major step in their campaign and the improvements constituted a victory in itself. However, the all shared the feeling that the announcement was not enough and considered that some very important element were missing from UCL’s current positions on outsourcing:

  • UCL do not say what will happen with pay  and the pay grade that will be given to Cleaners and Porters
  • UCL’s announcement does not yet mention a timeline for other benefits such as pensions and parental leave. Parity means nothing without such rights!
  • Furthermore, UCL has committed to ending outsourcing.

Following a lengthy and fruitful discussion, the representatives renewed their commitment to continue the End Outsourcing Campaign and decided to centre this on some key demands:

  • Ending Outsourcing and for UCL to take directly responsibility for the employment of Cleaners and Porters (and all other outsourced workers)
  • Fighting to a decent salary, which would mean Cleaner and Porters to be placed on Grade 6 of the UCL pay scale
  • Along with the implementation of Occupational Sick Pay in July 2020, for UCL to also implement Pension benefit and parental leave.
  • For UCL to ban zero hours contracts and for all current casual workers to be provided with permanent contract of employment reflecting their hours of work.
  • UCL to include all unions representing outsourced workers on campus in the negotiations of their terms and conditions.

The meeting concluded with an agreement to pursue action, with a protest scheduled within the next month and strike plans in the making.  The representatives also wrote individual letters to UCL council member to demand the inclusion of the IWGB in the current negotiations regarding outsourcing. We will be soon sharing the letters on social media!

The fight continues at UCL!

Two updates from the Women’s Organiser… — February 20, 2020

Two updates from the Women’s Organiser…

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1. Women’s Strike March

We will be joining the Women’s Strike March in London on 08/03/20 to celebrate International Women’s Day.

​All women and non-binary members and friends of the IWGB are invited to join. We will meet in Cavendish Square from 1:30pm – look out for the IWGB flags and (hopefully) an IWGB Women banner!

Join and share the Facebook event here:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/womenstrike.uk/events/

Women’s Strike Assembly is running free childcare at various locations on the day:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/womenstrike.uk/events/

Nos uniremos a la Marcha de Huelga de las Mujeres en Londres el 08/03/20 para celebrar el Día Internacional de la Mujer.

Todas las mujeres y los miembros no binarios y amigos de la IWGB están invitados a unirse. Nos reuniremos en Cavendish Square a partir de la 1:30pm – ¡cuidado con las banderas de la IWGB y (con suerte) con una bandera de las Mujeres de la IWGB!

Únete y comparte el evento de Facebook aquí:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/womenstrike.uk/events/

La Women’s Strike Assembly está organizando una guardería gratuita en varios lugares durante el día:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/womenstrike.uk/events/

2. Organiser training

Our next Organiser Training for women and non-binary members will be Saturday 4th April, 2-5pm!

Please see the following flyer for details. ​Reply to laurawormington@iwgb.co.uk to let us know if you would like to join; if you have any dietary / access requirements; if you will need childcare; and if there is anything in particular you would like the training to cover.

This training will be in English. If you would be interested in coming to one in Spanish, please reply to this email to let us know.

Nuestro próximo entrenamiento de organizadores para mujeres y miembros no binarios será el sábado 4 de abril, de 2 a 5 pm!

Por favor, responde a laurawormington@iwgb.co.uk para hacernos saber si te gustaría participar, si tienes algún requisito de acceso o dieta, si necesitarás cuidado de niños, y si hay algo en particular que te gustaría que el entrenamiento cubriera.

Este entrenamiento será en inglés. Si desea que celebremos una en español, por favor, responda a este correo electrónico.

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IWGB Women’s Rep Training tomorrow! — February 14, 2020
120 UCL security staff sign open letter to UCL University Council — February 13, 2020

120 UCL security staff sign open letter to UCL University Council

Over 120 UCL security officers currently employed by the security contractor Axis have signed an open letter to UCL’s University Council detailing their demands for equality of terms and conditions for outsourced staff at UCL and for an end to outsourcing.

These officers are essential to the operation of UCL, and the unequal conditions under which they work are a disgrace. This is only made worse by the incompetence of the contractor Axis who in their second year on the contract are still unable to pay staff correctly.

They have asked that this letter is circulated to the full University Council, and discussed at their meeting tomorrow.

The resolution requested by the officers is that the contract be terminated and that they be brought in-house on equal terms and conditions as the former UCL security officers.

See the full letter and signatures here, and please contact Charlie (charliemacnamara@iwgb.co.uk) with any questions.

UCL CAMPAIGN GENERAL MEETING of Cleaners & Porters — February 4, 2020

UCL CAMPAIGN GENERAL MEETING of Cleaners & Porters

On 8 October 2019, IWGB launched the UCL End Outsourcing Campaign. Since then, we have achieved many things: outsourcing has been brought to light at UCL and our strikes have led to immediate improvements to our terms and conditions.

Moreover, we have achieved a unity and solidarity among workers never seen at UCL. These past few months have consolidated the IWGB as union at UCL and shown UCL’s cleaners and porters have the strenght to bring change.

However, much remains to be done. UCL’S promises of improvement are a good sign, but they are not enough. We have a lot to accomplish before us:

  1. We must continue to fight for a decent salary
  2. We need to fight for the elimination of zero hour contracts
  3. We must ensure that sick pay is confirmed and implemented
  4. and the most fundamental: we will continue to fight for the IN-HOUSE!

On Saturday 8 February, come to our campaign meeting to discuss these demands and decide the strategy of our campaign.

This is your oppotunity to define the direction of our campaign and of the IWGB at UCL.

You decide the next steps of this campaign! You are the union!

Independent Workers’ union of Great Breakfasts — January 24, 2020

Independent Workers’ union of Great Breakfasts

UCL cleaners, security, students, volunteers and IWGB staff gathered at 8am this morning for the weekly IWGB breakfast stall on Malet Place.

As UCL cleaners finish their shifts on Fridays, they meet with others involved in the union and the in-house campaign at UCL to share coffee, pastries, life updates, and any issues they’re facing at work.

The stalls are an important part of the campaign at UCL and the general union presence at UCL. They provide an opportunity for workers to resolve any workplace issues (like missing holiday pay or wrongly issued uniforms) with caseworkers and organisers from the union. But most importantly they’re a space for strengthening relationships and building the community that has helped make the campaign so successful so far.

If you would like to come along to the next stall, we meet at 8am at the entrance to UCL on Malet Place every Friday.

Support IWGB member in court TODAY! — January 13, 2020

Support IWGB member in court TODAY!

IWGB makes call for solidarity and defence of free assembly as Chair of United Private Hire Drivers’ Branch faces charges over use of a megaphone

In a case which could have chilling effects on the right to peaceful protest in the UK, the Chair of one of IWGB’s branches, UPHD, faces a criminal charge of ‘assaulting’ two police officers, allegedly having hurt their ears by using a megaphone at a protest.

IWGB’s Executive Committee (EC) has committed £15,000 to support legal costs for the case, following a unanimous vote of support in 2019.

IWGB is now calling on the public to donate to the crowdfund that has been set up in the last few days to find the remainder of the higher-than-expected legal costs. Please see further details of how to donate at:

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/defend-trade-unionists/

Further details of this shocking case can be found below, in a shortened/amended version of a motion of solidarity passed by the IWGB EC over the weekend.

IWGB wishes James all the best at court today and stands with him in the fight for justice!

Motion

IWGB stands in solidarity with James Farrar in his criminal trial for actions that took place while he was undertaking legitimate Trade Union activities. The IWGB Executive Committee (EC) backs James 100%.

We understand that this is a very difficult and personally distressing time for James Farrar and his family and wish to do all we can to support him. This union also notes that this is a case of critical importance for campaign groups, activists and unions across the UK.

In a unanimous motion of support from the EC, IWGB has already allocated £15,000 of central union funds to support the case at trial. A barrister has been retained to represent him, supported by a reputable firm of solicitors that were found by IWGB. IWGB officials and staff plan to attend court en masse in support of their union colleague and fellow activist.

The situation has arisen that the legal costs for this case were underestimated due to (i) a misunderstanding re the legal fees, (ii) the advice that a QC should be retained in addition to the current representation, and (iii) the fact that the case will run for longer than thought. James Farrar therefore stands in need of additional money to support the case at trial for the full four days. The total cost is estimated at around £21,000.*

Background

Whilst organising a UPHD-branch protest on 4 March 2019, UPHD-Branch Chair James Farrar used a megaphone to rally supporters and make statements on behalf of the protest, as is common at IWGB protest events.

Around this time, he made a formal complaint about police behaviour during the demonstration.

Several weeks later, he was himself accused of ‘assaulting’ two police officers by using the megaphone (it is alleged that the noise hurt the officers’ ears). James is now facing a criminal charge and may be imprisoned for up to a year if he loses the case.

The IWGB Executive Committee (EC) has previously passed a motion, with unanimous support, which gave James Farrar IWGB’s full support in fighting a case which has the effect of intimidating him and others in IWGB and the wider Trade Union/activist movement from making legitimate, peaceful protests. It is vital that we support his case as strongly as we are able, and that others do likewise.

* Since this motion was passed, it appears the this figure may be inaccurate and may, in fact, be higher. See the crowdfund page for further details.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/defend-trade-unionists/ 

New Year, Same Old incompetence: UCL’S security subcontractor, Axis, fails to pay thousands of pounds in wages. — January 10, 2020

New Year, Same Old incompetence: UCL’S security subcontractor, Axis, fails to pay thousands of pounds in wages.

In November 2019, UCL promised al Security Officers an improvements in the holiday entitlement. UCL said this would be implemented by 1 December 2019. This would include an increase in days of annual leave + paid closure days and bank holidays.

However, on January 6 the majority of Security Officers working at UCL reported the failure of Axis to pay their wages for closure days.

It has been admitted by  Axis that management failed to notify their payroll department properly to make the payment, deducting thousand of pounds from ALL security officers at UCL. Yet another example of the incompetence of outsourced companies.

IWGB-UoL’S branch secretary has written to UCL to demand immediate payment:

To whom it may concern,

On 6 January 2020, a number of security officers working at UCL reported the failure of UCL’s subcontractor Axis to pay their wages as per the changes adopted on 1 December 2019 (payment of closure days for those not working and payment at double rate for those working during closure days).

The mentioned changes have not been reflected in the wages paid this month. This has been further confirmed in an email from Anna Knight where she states “we have experienced a syncing issue with the system which therefore may lead to pay queries tomorrow regarding your pay day 7th January 2020”.

Please note that this error made by Axis has resulted in the unlawful deduction of wages from all security officers employed by Axis on the UCL contract who have not received any pay for the closure, or double pay (if they worked), as per the letter of variation of their contracts received by security officers in mid-December.

This shows not only that the changes announced by UCL as per the harmonisation of terms and conditions have not been implemented, but it also constitutes further evidence of the utter incompetence of the security contractor at UCL. All this after weeks of silence from Axis, where they did not even bother to inform their workforce of how these changes would take effect, and avoided all questions raised regarding this until two weeks after the deadline for implementation of the changes. This is despite the numerous emails sent by our union requesting clarification and dialogue regarding the plans.

It is frankly astounding that UCL continue to tolerate the incompetence of this subcontractor and their unlawful practices. These repeated failures only make it clearer that the system of outsourcing at UCL results in incompetence and failure, harming those precariously employed under such contracts.

We urge UCL to take immediate action regarding this matter to ensure that all the Security Officers at UCL receive correct payment no later than 13 January 2020 by close of business.

Should Axis fail to pay these wages we will not hesitate to initiate legal proceedings to recover them.

Furthermore, we urge UCL to take seriously the demands made by the majority of the outsourced workforce to be brought in-house. We urge UCL to meet with the representatives of the IWGB union and to quickly implement an end to outsourcing to ensure further mistakes of this nature are avoided in future.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email.

Kind Regards,

Dr Jamie Woodcock

Justice for Stan — December 20, 2019

Justice for Stan

As Christmas approaches, University of London Bouygues engineer Stan Jackson is still thousands of pounds out of pocket following his heart attack at work.

image of Stan Jackson
Merry Christmas, Stan: Stan Jackson faces Christmas thousands of pounds down

We wanted to update everyone on the case of Stanford Jackson, who was deducted £5000 by his employer Bouygues while recuperating from a heart attack suffered at work (see https://iwgb-universityoflondon.org/2019/12/03/justiceforstan-university-of-london-and-its-contractor-bouygues-deduct-5000-sick-pay-from-employee-who-had-heart-attack-while-on-duty/).

Having brought this matter to the attention of the Vice-Chancellor, the IWGB were assured that she was taking a ‘personal interest’ in the case, and Stan was led to believe that it would be resolved.

However, with less than a week to go before Christmas, Stan is still thousands of pounds out of pocket, having been told by Bouygues that they will only pay him partially for his absence, and only compensating him for less than half of the money they deducted from him in October.

Furthermore, they only grudgingly paid this on the grounds of ‘exceptional circumstances’ as a ‘goodwill gesture’. Merry Christmas indeed!

To add insult to injury, and despite the fact that his ongoing ill-health and shortage of money has caused Stan to require counselling, Bouygues are insisting that he raise the matter via the formal grievance and disciplinary procedure, a process that will inevitably be massively stressful and is totally unnecessary.

There is also no indication that either Bouygues or the University of London have addressed any of the serious health and safety issues which led to Stan’s accident (which could easily have been much worse) – including the fact than lone staff were NOT issued with fall alarms despite these being requested.

The issue is NOT complicated – Stan suffered a heart attack in his workplace, a workplace where all staff (in-house or outsourced) are entitled to 6 months full sick pay. Bouygues and the University should be bending over backwards to ensure that everything is done to look after a longstanding member of staff (and one who has never missed a SINGLE DAY’s work through illness while working for Bouygues), rather than leaving him broke and traumatised this Christmas.

As before, the IWGB will continue to escalate this matter until justice has been done, and in the meantime we urge all members and supporters to contact wendy.thomson@london.ac.uk and ask for #JusticeforStan.

Light in the darkness: the solution is solidarity — December 13, 2019

Light in the darkness: the solution is solidarity

The UK today feels like a pretty dismal place. The moral compass seems to have gone solidaritymissing from our politics. We are facing some tough years ahead, and it’s important to take some time to be sad, to reflect, and look after yourself and your loved ones. We need comfort. But there is hope!

If you are reading this, and if you are part of IWGB, you are part of the solution. We already know that by joining together we can overcome incredible odds. That should give us all some hope today. And we will keep fighting, whatever they throw at us.

After the mourning is over, we need to regroup. It’s time to pick ourselves up, shake ourselves down and get back to it. If ever a grassroots union was needed, it’s now.

Things are obviously going to be tough for a good while, but believe: we can do this!

The resistance starts now.

strength-in-unity

Need to stick it to Boris today? Donate to our crowdfunder —

Need to stick it to Boris today? Donate to our crowdfunder

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/no-deal-brexit-case/

In October, IWGB members launched a legal challenge against the Government over Boris Johnson’s threat to disobey the law. One rule for him, and another for us. They wouldn’t stand for that, and fought back. Tory Brexit will damage the lives of precarious workers, and in fact all workers in the UK. IWGB has campaigned tirelessly against it.

We’re in a very different place now: hard Brexit or ‘no deal’ is a certainty. That’s a terrible prospect for us all. It’s easy to feel powerless. But you can help.

Three precarious workers — Maritza, Wilson and Alex — teamed up with the IWGB and chose to fight back against Johnson’s disregard for the law. In the face of repeated statements by Johnson that he would not extend the Brexit deadline beyond 31 October, they filed a claim with the High Court to force the government to abide by the law and seek an extension. A few days later, Johnson went back on his commitment and agreed with the European Union to move the deadline to 31 January. After which, the workers withdrew their claim.

Now, government lawyers are arguing that because the claim was withdrawn, the claimants are liable to cover the government’s legal costs of at least £8,000.

Bojo and friends could sneeze that money out in a second. But to these workers, it’s a life-altering debt. We have just launched our crowdfunder to raise money for these three low-wage members who are being vindictively pursued for legal costs by Boris Johnson.

If you have something to donate, please do now! Early donations help build momentum and create a snowball effect. ❄

Here is the link: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/no-deal-brexit-case/

Please share it once you’ve donated on social media and with friends.

In solidarity,

IWGB

First meeting of new ICE Reps at UoL — December 6, 2019

First meeting of new ICE Reps at UoL

The newly-elected Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) Representatives at the University of London met with senior figures from HR on Tuesday, for the first time in their new two-year term.

IWGB occupies 15 of the 16 current seats on the forum, and welcomes several new members this year alongside many returning faces. Thanks to all reps for taking on this challenge!

The ICE forum is now entering its third year, having been set up by the University in response to pressure and legal action by IWGB to create a forum through which we can directly raise staff concerns and be properly informed and consulted. The University still  refuses to ‘recognise’ IWGB, which is by far the largest union on campus.

Having failed to negotiate an agreement about what the forum should cover, the University is bound to follow the ICE Regulations (2004). However, following a challenging first two years in which there were more extraordinary meetings than ordinary ones (!), IWGB reps were happy to agree to discuss how best to run the forum on an administrative basis. The first meeting was therefore an informal discussion on this topic alone, at which IWGB Reps put forward the proposals below. This was well-received by the forum Chair and by HR – but we have yet to see how much of it will be implemented!

IWGB ICE Reps have requested an ordinary meeting before the end of term (or at least early in January 2020) in order to raise a number of staff issues that have not been dealt with since the last ordinary meeting in August 2019.

As always, if you have any issues or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your local rep (see list below!).

IWGB-proposals

Your friendly local IWGB Reps 2019–2021

Senate House Library

Leila Kassir Leila.Kassir@London.ac.uk

Elizabeth Morcom Elizabeth.Morcom@london.ac.uk

UoL Worldwide

Adrian Calo Adrian.Calo@london.ac.uk

Bill Kelliher Bill.Kelliher@london.ac.uk

Leman Mehmet Leman.Mehmet@london.ac.uk

Catherine Morrissey catherine.morrissey@london.ac.uk

Simon Nightingale Simon.Nightingale@london.ac.uk

ITDS, CoSector and Finance

Colin Watson Colin.Watson@london.ac.uk

Property & FM

Abdul Bakhsh Abdul.bakhsh@london.ac.uk

Jelony Nwaneri Jelony.Nwaneri@london.ac.uk

SAS

Jonathan Blaney Jonathan.Blaney@sas.ac.uk

Lindsey Caffin Lindsey.Caffin@sas.ac.uk

Mark Murphy Mark.Murphy@sas.ac.uk

Damien Short Damien.Short@sas.ac.uk

Martin Steer martin.steer@sas.ac.uk

 

Increased annual leave VICTORY! Plus London Weighting “offer” for UoL staff —

Increased annual leave VICTORY! Plus London Weighting “offer” for UoL staff

red_sauce
Loyd Grossman: It’s all gravy

We have written to all members this week, quoting celebrity fans such as Madonna, Danny Millum and Loyd Grossman (of pasta sauce fame), to inform them of developments in our ongoing campaign to achieve equality and fair pay at the central University of London. 

Read the email below!

………………………………………………

Hi everybody,

Holiday! Celebrate! It will be so nice!

You may already have heard from friends and colleagues that there has been a big victory on holiday for grades 1–6 – it has now been equalised with grades 7+, to 30 days!

That’s fantastic news, and is due in large part (rough estimate: 99.9%) to work done by IWGB! We have been campaigning for holiday equality for many years and for a LW increase since 2014.

We’re (still) waiting for decent London Weighting…

On the issue of London Weighting (LW), which affects all grades, you may also have seen that the two recognised unions are balloting their members on whether or not to accept the University’s latest ‘final’ offer: an insulting one-off payment of £275, to close the issue forever. We discussed this in the branch meeting and as a result, if you are dual-carding with either of these unions, we urge you to vote NO to acceptance, as we believe they can do better!

(Not everyone can make it to the branch meeting, so please do let us know if you have a different view – thoughts welcome. J)

As Loyd Grossman would say on Through the management keyhole, let’s look at the evidence:

Original demand made in 2014:

  • An immediate increase of £1,866 per year, to bring annual LW up to what it should have been at that time (£4,000), had it kept up with inflation. (See also our original info about this (attached), if you haven’t been around for the whole story!)

Original deal accepted by Unison and UCU in 2014:

Current offer, prompted by IWGB agitation and apparently acceptable to the recognised unions:

  • A one-time-only offer of £275, not affecting the annual LW at all. So it’s still £500 less than it should have been four years ago.

Obviously this doesn’t account for increases in cost of living which have occurred since 2014, which is precisely what LW is supposed to counterbalance. And to state the obvious, it’s almost 2020 now!

The LW offer may be derisory, but it wouldn’t have happened at all without IWGB pressure. And the holidays are an outright win! It was an IWGB member who pointed out last year that the LW negotiations could be reopened at UoL if the London Living Wage went above a certain threshold, which it now has. And it was our indefatigable Assistant Branch Secretary Mark Murphy who, with the help of many other wonderful IWGB members, circulated a petition for increased holiday for grades 1–6, which went around the entire University. We’ve sent this to management, repeatedly raised the issues of LW and holiday parity in the ICE forum, and written to the University about it numerous times. This is what we can achieve when we work together. Great work everyone!

As you can see from the attached email, [included below in PDF] the usual suspects are claiming the credit for this. However, we know that IWGB members did the hard graft! This means that University management are effectively negotiating with IWGB by proxy. So let’s vote NO to the LW offer, and let’s keep up the campaign!

As Danny would say – ¡Hasta la Victoria!

Catherine

G1-6leave-and-ballot-email   LW_original_myth-buster

Welcome new Women’s Officers! —

Welcome new Women’s Officers!

UoL IWGB Branch is proud to welcome two members to the role of Women’s Officer: Hosne Ara and Ruqayya Al-Faisal, who work for the University at Student Central.

Hosne and Ruqayya were unanimously elected at the branch meeting of December 2019, and will jointly hold the position alongside their other joint position as BAME officers – bringing a much-needed intersectional approach to the many challenges that women and BAME people face in the workplace.

Please do contact them at the email address below if you have any issues related to these areas, or just to say hello!

A message from the Women’s Officers

Hosne

HosneMy name is Hosne Ara, and I am truly honoured to be elected as joint women’s officer for IWGB UOL Branch. I am grateful to all of you for believing in me that I can take on that role! 

My aim is to create a sustainable, intersectional feminist force by being a voice for all women workers regardless of race, culture, religion, sexuality and ability. We need to work together to create a bridge amongst women of different backgrounds and cultures towards the liberation of self-identified women. 

I aim to support women workers, especially those who need help. I believe I can make a positive impact by ensuring that all women workersreach their potential in the work environment and feel safe and valued at work. Thank you,

Hosne Ara 

Ruqayya

Ruqayya

Thank you guys for electing me as joint women’s officer with Hosne Ara. In a male-dominated environment it is very important as a woman to stand up for your rights, ensure your voice is heard and to make it known that you’re just as capable as any other individual, and that being treated any less is not acceptable.   

Again, thank you for trusting me to be vocal for those that don’t have the courage to speak out.

Feel free to contact either of us via email: uolbame@iwgb.co.uk

 Ruqayyah Al-Faisal 

 

#JusticeForStan: University of London and its contractor Bouygues deduct £5000 sick pay from employee who had heart attack while on duty — December 3, 2019

#JusticeForStan: University of London and its contractor Bouygues deduct £5000 sick pay from employee who had heart attack while on duty

The IWGB has been forced to intervene in the case of Stanford Jackson, an engineer who has worked at the University of London for 18 years and who suffered a heart attack while on duty.

Mr Jackson suffered a heart attack on 7 September 2019 whilst on callout duty at College Hall.

Mr Jackson, currently employed by Bouygues, has worked at the University of London for 18 years, having been TUPE transferred across a variety of different contractors. He is well known across the many UoL sites as a vastly experienced and popular member of staff.

Since his heart attack, Mr Jackson has been recuperating at home, and is only now starting to return to work.

One might have thought that this traumatic and life-threatening incident was bad enough, but worse was to come, as on Mr Jackson’s October payslip he was notified that there would be a deduction of over £5000 pounds from his wages, with the justification given for this being that he is only entitled to 4 weeks paid sick leave!

This is a truly outrageous situation, given that:

i) Bouygues’ decision is based on what they admit to be utterly incomplete records of Mr Jackson’s previous contractual arrangements, which do not even stretch back to his original contract.

ii) Bouygues are ignoring the fact that the University of London enhanced terms and conditions for outsourced workers supersede any other inferior sick pay or holiday conditions. All outsourced staff of Mr Jackson’s length of service are entitled to 6 months sick leave on full pay.

iii) Mr Jackson’s heart attack occurred in the workplace and while he was performing his duties.

Any other worker at the University would be paid in these circumstances. Mr Jackson has given 18 years and almost his life to the University, and for the buck to be passed between Bouygues and the University of London while he feels a huge financial pressure to return to work prematurely is shameful for all concerned.

Both Mr Jackson and the IWGB have already raised this on numerous occasions, but with no satisfactory response. Last week the matter was brought to the attention of Vice Chancellor Wendy Thomson (who has just made the decision to continue the outsourcing of the UoL maintenance contract), but still no reply has been received and no money paid.

The IWGB will continue to escalate this matter until justice has been done, and in the meantime we urge all members and supporters to contact wendy.thomson@london.ac.uk and ask for #JusticeforStan.

Major concession announced at UCL, Campaign and Strike continue until full Victory! — November 29, 2019

Major concession announced at UCL, Campaign and Strike continue until full Victory!

On 28 November UCL announced more information about improvements to outsourced workers’ terms and conditions:

  1. UCL has confirmed outsourced workers will receive increased holiday entitlement from 1 December 2019.
  2. 2. Next term, UCL will begin negotiations with UNISON over improving pay and they will implement improved pay on 1 April 2020.
  3. UCL will give equal sickness benefits on 1 July 2020.

See full statement here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2019/nov/equalised-pay-and-benefits-confirmed-ucls-security-cleaning-portering-and-catering-staff

This is very good news: IWGB Outsourced workers are winning.

It is the outsourced workers who made this happen:

  1. For years workers have been complaining about conditions at UCL, but since they united and showed UCL they will not put up with this any longer UCL have started to pay attention.
  2. In October, outsourced workers threatened to launch a campaign and immediately UCL announced they will look into improving terms and conditions.
  3. In November, outsourced workers went on strike and right after that UCL announced they will firm up the timeline for improvements.

However, there are some very important points that are missing from UCL’s announcement today:

  1. UCL do not say what will happen with pay. They say WHEN it will be implemented (April 2020). But not WHAT pay grade outsourced workers will get.
  2. There is no guarantee from UCL that the outsourced workers will get a good deal. UCL could put them anywhere from pay grade 3 upwards. Getting the right pay deal will depend on the workers maintaining pressure on UCL.
  3. UCL’s announcement does not yet mention a timeline for other benefits such as pensions and parental leave. Parity means nothing without such rights!
  4. It does not give any commitment to ending outsourcing. Ending outsourcing is important to lock in everything so that other cowboy subcontractors cannot come along in 2 years time and cut their terms again. We need to get rid of the exploitative and abusive subcontractors now.

UCL is trying to persuade the outsourced workers to take their foot off the pedal. But now is the time to increase the pressure and FINISH THE JOB.

This announcement is the result of the campaign. Let’s see what else we can get UCL to announce before the New Year!

Our STRIKE on Dec 4th goes ahead and our campaign continues until full VICTORY


The power is ours!

UCL-UCU & IWGB joint Strike on December 4th —

UCL-UCU & IWGB joint Strike on December 4th

The 4th of December at UCL will see the first ever combined strike of directly employed and outsourced workers in the history of higher education!

The outsourced workers at UCL, including security staff, cleaners and porters are fighting to end the inequality and discrimination of outsourcing. As part of the IWGB union, they have called their second day of strike action on 4 December, demanding that UCL end outsourcing and bring them back in house.

The lecturers and professional services staff in the UCU union are having their eighth and last day of a round of national strikes over pensions, falling pay, gender and ethnicity pay gaps, precarious employment, and overloaded workloads.

At UCL we will be making history by combining the struggles of workers across the UCL workforce. It is one of the richest universities in the world, yet for years they have exploited both their directly employed and outsourced workers.

We are one university and one workforce and we demand justice!

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1019488945054547/

Biggest strike of outsourced workers in UK higher education history to happen on Tuesday 19 November — November 15, 2019

Biggest strike of outsourced workers in UK higher education history to happen on Tuesday 19 November

On 19 November, Outsourced workers at University College London (UCL) will be on Strike to end discriminatory outsourcing.

300 outsourced cleaners, porters and security officers at UCL have voted 98% YES to take strike action. And the first strike will take place on Tuesday 19 November for 24 hours.

Despite UCL being one of the richest universities in the world, they continue to treat outsourced workers like second class workers

Outsourced workers, the majority of whom are migrants or from ethnic minorities, receive worse sick pay, pension, holiday pay and parental leave than in-house colleague

While direct employees of UCL can receive up to 26 weeks of pay when they are off sick, outsourced workers are on the statutory minimum. This means they receive no pay on the first three days they are off sick, after which they are entitled to just £94.25 a week. This forces many to work while sick or injured, rather than risk losing a day’s pay. (See comparisons of other conditions in notes below)

For years UCL management have turned a blind eye to the exploitation of the outsourced workforce and ignored us when we raised complaints.

This is why hundreds of outsourced cleaners, porters and security officers have united in the IWGB union and launched a campaign on 7 October to demand UCL act now to End Outsourcing.

But after launching our campaign, UCL are still refusing to negotiate with the workers or commit to serious changes. Our members at UCL are left with no alternative but to go on strike. If UCL refuse to treat them with even the most basic respect of coming to the table and listening to our demands, then we have no option but to take action.

Outsourced workers at UCL are sending a clear message to UCL’s management that this is not good enough. The time for action from UCL is now. It is time for UCL to End Outsourcing and to bring all outsourced workers in-house on equal terms and conditions to other university staff.

Join us on the picket line Tuesday 19 November!

Join and show your solidarity on the picket line from 7:30am!

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1276558202531488/

Support Us!

To win this campaign we need everyone to be able to take part in the strike – especially those who might not be able to afford it. It is only through everyone taking part that our strike will be effective. And for that we need to be able to offer strike pay to help make up for some of the lost earnings of those workers who need it most

Please donate to our strike hardship fund:
https://www.gofundme.com/f/ucl-outsourced-workers-strike-fund

Thank you & see you on the picket line!

Hundreds of UCL cleaners, porters and security to vote on strike action over pay and conditions — November 6, 2019

Hundreds of UCL cleaners, porters and security to vote on strike action over pay and conditions

9 October: The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is to ballot cleaners, porters and security officers for strike action at London’s largest university, UCL, in what could be the biggest strike ever of outsourced workers in UK higher education history.

The IWGB will be balloting almost 300 workers over their terms and conditions, as part of the union’s campaign, launched yesterday (8 October), to end outsourcing and zero hours contracts at UCL. The strike ballot will specifically demand the outsourcing companies that manage the security contract, Axis, and the cleaning contract, Sodexo, put cleaners, porters and security officers on the same terms and conditions as UCL’s direct employees. The results of the ballot are expected on 5 November.

Outsourced workers receive worse sick pay, pension, holiday pay, and parental leave than their in-house colleagues. They are also more likely to suffer from bullying and discrimination than directly employed workers.

Specifically, while direct employees can receive up to 26 weeks of pay when they are off sick, outsourced workers are on the statutory minimum, which means that they get no pay on the first three days they are off sick, after which they are entitled to £94.25 a week. This means that many workers chose to work while sick, rather than risk losing a day’s pay. (See comparisons of other conditions in notes below)

IWGB University of London branch chair and former UCL cleaner Maritza Castillo Calle said: “UCL would not be able to function without its cleaners, porters and security officers, however for years the university and its contractors have been happy to treat them like second class workers. They are overworked, underpaid and mistreated, while UCL is happy to look the other way when issues are raised about the abject failure of its contractors to treat people with basic dignity. We gave UCL a clear deadline by which to present a plan to end outsourcing which it failed to abide by. Now we are left with no option but to strike.”

Over the last year the IWGB has also documented a number of severe management failures and discriminatory practices by the outsourcing companies.

The IWGB brought complaints on behalf of 30 Axis security officers that were owed over £15,000, when the company failed to properly pay their holiday pay over a period of three months, between December and February. Following these formal complaints by the University of London branch secretary, the money was paid, but there have been other instances of non-payment of holiday pay since.

In March, Sodexo tried to introduce a biometric time management system, which would require cleaners, the vast majority of whom are migrant workers, to have their fingerprints scanned when logging in and out of work. Following a collective grievance, and protests by the IWGB and its members, the introduction of this discriminatory system to monitor workers was called off.

In September, the IWGB launched a collective grievance on behalf of 30 cleaners and porters who complain that managers assign them an excessive amount of work, resulting in significant levels of exhaustion and stress. Attempts by management to further increase these workloads have so far been stopped by the intervention of IWGB reps.

You can donate to the Strike fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ucl-outsourced-workers-strike-fund

Notes to Editors:

  • Conditions of outsourced workers vs direct employees
  • Sick pay: outsourced workers are on statutory sick pay, while direct employees are entitled to up to 26 weeks of fully paid sick pay, depending on length of service.
  • Holiday pay: outsourced workers are entitled to as little as the statutory minimum of 28 holiday days, including bank holidays. Direct employees get a total of 41 days, including 27 days of annual leave, 8 bank holidays and 6 closure days.
  • Parental leave: outsourced workers are only entitled to the statutory maternity leave, while direct employees get 18 weeks full pay (or 9 weeks full pay and 18 weeks half pay) statutory maternity pay.
  • Pensions: Outsourced security officers and some cleaners get a 3% employer pension contribution, while direct employees get enrolled into the SAUL pension scheme with up to 19.5% employer pension contribution.
  • On 16 September, the IWGB gave UCL a three week deadline (7 October) by which to publicly commit to end outsourcing or engage in good faith negotiations with that end.
  • Previously, the biggest strike of outsourced workers in UK higher education took place in 25 and 26 April 2018. More info here and here.
  • Sodexo and Axis took over the cleaning/portering and security contracts, respectively in November 2018.
  • UCL has 42,100 students according to its website. It is the biggest university in London and the third biggest in the UK, by number of students, according to the HESA.
  • Following a separate campaign launched in September 2017, the IWGB won a commitment by the University of London (Central Administration) to bring outsourced workers in-house in July 2018. Since then, only 10% of the workers have been brought in-house, and a boycott of the university is ongoing until there are concrete plans for the insourcing of the remaining 90%.
  • In 2013, following the landmark 3 Cosas Campaign, the IWGB won improved sick pay and holiday pay for outsourced workers at the University of London (Central Administration).


Following UoL’s announcement of dates of in-sourcing, outsourced workers’ Reps give conditions under which Boycott can be called off. — October 28, 2019

Following UoL’s announcement of dates of in-sourcing, outsourced workers’ Reps give conditions under which Boycott can be called off.

On Friday the University of London announced that it would bring security officers in-house in May 2020 and cleaners in-house in November 2020. This is a welcome development and a vindication of the strategy chosen by the outsourced workers of combining strikes with a boycott of the university’s events.

This would have been impossible without your steadfast support, which was unflinching even in the face of several attempts by university management and others to spread misinformation.

However, the need to keep pressure on the university is now more important than ever. So far, no details have been given on what kinds of contracts the university will give the workers. This is an issue of huge importance, since the contracts that were negotiated for the receptionists that were brought in-house in May 2019, behind their backs and behind the back of their chosen trade union, the IWGB, have led to a number of problems.

In the first two months following the introduction of these contracts, seven of the twelve in-sourced receptionists brought grievances against the university, in large part as a result of the terms that were negotiated by third parties that had no mandate from the workers to negotiate on their behalf.

The issues that the workers have raised, some of which form part of formal grievances, are:

  • As a result of the new contracts, receptionists are being moved to different buildings and given different shift patterns on different days, even though previously they were based in one reception, some of them for as long as twenty years.
  • One receptionist had to take several weeks off sick from stress as a result of the university’s attempts to move her, without her consent, out of the place where she had worked for over six years and to another building – a clear breach of TUPE legislation. The university’s justification was that, off the back of the negotiations, it was decided that the hours that she once did now belonged to the outsourcing company, Cordant, which would provide their own staff.
  • Another receptionist, who needs to take breaks at specific times due to the fact he suffers from diabetes, has nearly fainted on several occasions because of changes to shift and break patterns meant no cover was available when he had to take time off.
  • Failure of the university to properly staff one of its receptions, leading to significant overwork for the one remaining receptionist.
  • Failure of the university to properly staff the Post Room following the resignation of a worker, leading to significant overwork for the remaining staff.

While some of these issues are unlawful (breach of TUPE regulations) and if not resolved could result in legal action by IWGB, it would have been preferable for the workers to have been represented in the in-housing talks, so that these issues could have been avoided altogether.

Therefore, being aware of the way the first wave of in-sourcing was handled, we would be failing our members in our duty as their chosen trade union, if we were to drop significant forms of leverage prior to seeing the actual contracts that our members will be asked to sign.

It is also wholly unreasonable that the security officers are being brought in-house six whole months before cleaners, and that gardeners, many of whom have taken a number of days of strike action, are being completely excluded from the deal.

For these reasons, the elected security, cleaning and gardening reps, have agreed that, as a gesture of goodwill, they are happy to call off the campaign and the boycott if two conditions are met:

  1. That there is an agreement that security staff, cleaners and gardeners are brought in-house by May 2020.
  2. That the elected IWGB security, cleaning and gardening reps, in consultation with the membership and their union, review and sign off on the contracts that will be presented to the members.

We are closer than ever to securing a fair deal for the cleaners and security officers that for so many years have been ignored by university management and others. With your continued support of the boycott we are certain to achieve that.