UoL and Cordant planning to bring in zero-hours staff to cover security strike — April 19, 2017

UoL and Cordant planning to bring in zero-hours staff to cover security strike

See our letter to Chris Cobb below:

Dear Chris

As you know, security officers at the University of London will be striking next week over zero-hours contracts, inadequate payslips, and broken promises on pay that has meant an effective 25% pay cut.

Many of these staff have worked here for years, and they are extremely reluctant to cause any disruption to fellow staff and students.

However, the University and their security contractor Cordant have given them no alternative. Despite the reasonableness of their demands, all efforts at negotiation have been ignored.

It has now come to light that rather than make any effort to meet these employees and avert this damaging strike, the Cordant is planning:

  1. To bring in temporary staff on zero-hours contracts to cover them.
  2. To force existing staff to train these replacements (this is already happening).
  3. To pay these temporary staff only the minimum wage of £7.50 an hour, despite the University of London guaranteeing that all staff will be paid at least the London Living Wage of £9.75.
  4. To place at risk staff and students across the University of London by employing staff with minimum training and no knowledge of the buildings or their occupants.

If the University is aware of this, it is breaking its London Living Wage commitments and openly encouraging the use of zero-hour contracts in order to break the strike. Furthermore it will also be legally culpable should a fire or other serious incident occur  without trained staff on hand to handle it.

Can you therefore confirm that the University will instruct its contractor to abandon this plan, and instead offer a fair solution to the issues raised by its employees?

Can you also confirm that the University is guaranteeing that it is providing a safe environment for staff and students, as it is legally required to do?

Best wishes


Danny Millum



Te invitamos a la Asamblea General Anual de la rama IWGB de la Universidad de Londres! Sábado 29 de abril 2017! — April 16, 2017
Come to the University of London AGM – Saturday 29 April at IALS! —
IWGB at Pride in London — April 12, 2017

IWGB at Pride in London

Andrew Boxer from the Couriers Branch invites all IWGB members to Pride in
London on Saturday July 8th 2017.

Andrew has been in contact with the march organisers and they have offered
us a space on the march for 40 people, at a cost of £440 (but we might get a
20% discount).

The deadline to book a space on the march is April 17th, so we ask that
members who wish to take part get back to Andrew by this Saturday April

If there is a big enough take up, we can then book our place on Sunday.

If you want to be part of IWGB’s Pride group, please email Andrew now:

He will then coordinate the group and get us all together to go to the march
or come up with an alternative plan for the IWGB LGBT Community 🙂

Thank you all very much!

Mags Dewhurst

IWGB Couriers & Logistics Branch

University of London security officers to go on strike 25-26 April —

University of London security officers to go on strike 25-26 April

Around ten University of London buildings will be shut down on 25th and 26th April as the majority of the central university’s 60 security officers go on strike.

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) sent today the notice of industrial action to Cordant, the company that has the contract for the provision of security officers in the University of London’s central administration buildings. The union is demanding an end to zero-hour contracts, proper itemised payslips, and a 25% increase in pay for all security officers, increasing the salary of the lowest paid officer to around £12 an hour.

While the pay of other workers at the university has increased in recent years, that of security officers has stagnated, breaking a commitment the university had made in 2011 to maintain pay differentials between different types of workers.

“The security officers strike at the University of London goes to the heart of the problem of outsourcing in universities,” said IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer Lee. “The university blames the contractor, the contractor blames the university and the workers lose out. Let’s see if paralysing the university’s operations for two days pushes them to act.”

Cordant has so far been unwilling to negotiate with the IWGB on the matter of pay, while the University of London has said dealing with this issue is not its responsibility.

“We are determined to take industrial action, which has been caused by the university breaking their promise,” says University of London security officer and IWGB representative Abdul Bakhsh. “We do not want to disrupt the lives of students, who we are here to help, but we feel we cannot do our job properly if the University doesn’t keep its promises.”

The strike will affect the following university buildings: Senate House, Stewart House, the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, Student Central (formerly University of London Student Union), the Warburg Institute and five halls of residence: Nutford House, Lilian Penson, Connaught Hall, College Hall and International Hall.

The IWGB is a campaigning union, which has waged a number of high profile campaigns such as for the London Living Wage at the Royal Opera House and at John Lewis, and the 3 Cosas Campaign (sick pay, holidays, and pensions) at the University of London. Other campaigns have been waged over bullying and harassment as well as improved pay for university employees (London Weighting).

For more information:
Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, IWGB General Secretary

Migrant Rights Network project seeks participants —

Migrant Rights Network project seeks participants

The Migrants Rights Network is working on areally interesting project, collecting accounts of the difficulties migrants face in the UK. They would love to chat to a few of our members and will give a £10 voucher to each person in exchange for their time. All interviews will be anonymous.

You can download a flyer here: 20170412 London focus group flyer

Or read more about it in English and Spanish:
Unworkable Episode 1 – The Gig Economy — April 7, 2017

Unworkable Episode 1 – The Gig Economy

You can now listen to the new podcast from IWGB’s Emiliano Mellino!

The debut episode of “Unworkable” looks into the so-called “gig-economy”, with stories from Deliveroo riders fighting below minimum-wage pay in Brighton. There are also interviews with Leigh Day solicitor Annie Powell, who successfully challenged Uber at the employment tribunal, London School of Economics fellow Jamie Woodcock and University of Hertfordshire professor Ursula Huws.

Hosted and produced by Emiliano Mellino for the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB).

More correspondence with UCLU — April 6, 2017

More correspondence with UCLU

Earlier this week, Danny wrote to UCLU to raise concerns about cuts affecting cleaners. He’s had an unsatisfactory response from Lynne Adam of UCLU, and responds below:

Dear Mr Millum,

I am responding to you myself as Ian Dancy is on leave at the moment.

UCLU strongly supports workers’ rights; we are proud to pay all of our staff the London Living Wage and we insist that our contractors match the generous terms and conditions we receive as staff of UCL. In this instance, we have worked hard with our contractor to ensure that there are no redundancies for the cleaning staff and only a reduction in the number of hours worked for some.

It is the very clear view of the Board of Trustees that it is appropriate to save our charitable money through not continuing to pay for cleaning that isn’t required. As a membership based organisation this decision is correct and puts our members at the heart of all of our decisions.

Some of the points in your email are not accurate, however many should be taken up with our contractor SecuraClean who directly deal with the cleaners affected by this decision.

I’m about to go away on holiday (from 6-20 April), so if you have any questions during my absence, don’t hesitate to contact Kris de Souza (copied in to this email).

Kind regards


Danny responds:

Dear Lynne

Many thanks for getting back to me. However, in response I would note that:

  • It is disappointing that you are acting like any employer of an outsourcing company in passing the buck on SecuraClean when it is UCLU making the cuts.
  • You state that you are proud to pay the London Living Wage – given the unrefuted claims below that you are NOT doing so, will you cooperate with an independent investigation by the Living Wage Foundation?
  • It is not at all reassuring to be simply told that ‘some points in your email are inaccurate’; if this is the case, which points, and in what way?
  • It is also intriguing that unelected managers are able to put members at the heart of decisions while at the same time ignoring their democratic voice – members’ representative voted against these cuts, so you are essentially claiming that they are not to be trusted to make decisions in their own interest.
  • You have still provided no evidence that you are ‘over-paying’ – nor have you deigned to speak to any of the workers involved.

As a consequence our position remains the same. We fully support the UCLU cleaners in their campaign, and will back any actions they decide upon. We will also be circulating this to UCL staff.

Best wishes


El acceso a la justicia no es más un derecho laboral, sino un lujo —

El acceso a la justicia no es más un derecho laboral, sino un lujo

Below is a translation of Aditya Chakrabortty’s recent Guardian article on access to justice for workers.

El acceso a la justicia no es más un derecho laboral, sino un lujo


“Si no hubiera podido ir al tribunal, no creo que hubiera estado aquí hoy,” dice la limpiadora Liliana Almanza. “Si yo hubiera seguido así, no habría podido contar esta historia.”

Aditya Chakrabortty

La introducción de tarifas ha alejado los tribunales de empleo del alcance de muchas personas. El Supremo debe restaurar el equilibrio.

“Si no hubiera podido ir al tribunal, no creo que hubiera estado aquí hoy,” dice la limpiadora Liliana Almanza. “Si yo hubiera seguido así, no habría podido contar esta historia.”

Martes el 28 de marzo, 2017 06.00 BST

Las leyes que cuestan demasiado para ejecutar son leyes falsas. Un derecho civil que no está al alcance de la gente no es realmente ningún derecho. Y una sociedad que convierte la justicia en un artículo de lujo es una sociedad que no se ve más gobernada por la ley, sino por el dinero y el poder. Esta semana el tribual más alto del país va a decidir si Gran Bretaña se convertirá en tal sociedad. Hay abundantes signos que ya hemos ido demasiado lejos.

Escuchad al juez más destacado del país, Lord Thomas de Cwmgiedd, quien admite que “nuestro sistema de justicia ha pasado del alcance de la majoría.” Mirad nuestro sistema de asistencia jurídica, con su financiamiento cortado tan duramente por David Cameron y Theresa May que los pobres tienen que hacer de sus propios abogados litigantes, destinados a ser derribados por los abogados a sueldo de sus oponentes adinerados.

Siete jueces del Supremo oirán el caso más reciente, el cual enfrenta al gobierno contra el sindicato Unison. Será el colofón de una batalla legal cuatrienal centrado en uno de los derechos más fundamentales: el derecho de empleados a hacerles frente a sus jefes.

En 2013, Cameron despojó a trabajadores del derecho de acceso al sistema de tribunales de empleo. Sea una mujer embarazada que han expulsado de su trabajo, sea un hombre de origen bangladeshí que lucha contra el racismo en el trabajo, o un licenciado joven con discapacidades que sufre molestias por parte de su jefe, ahora todos tendrían que pagar £1.200 para tener la oportunidad de buscar reparaciones.

El número de casos que iban al tribunal cayó sin demora – en un 70% dentro de un año. El Citizens Advice Bureau (Atención al Ciudadano), unos abogados de empleo, y unos académicos prácticamente hicieron cola para advertir que la consecuencia sería que los trabajadores – y sobre todo los trabajadores pobres – encontrarían la justicia inasequible. Pero para los ministros conservadores, todo estaba bien. Unos portavoces leales tales como Matthew Hancock (el entonces Ministro de Empleo) sostenían que las personas disuadidas por las tarifas no eran nada más que oportunistas “inescrupulosos” que tenían el propósito de  “acosar a los jefes”. Siguiendo la lógica de Hancock, y habiendo escardado todas esas pérdidas de tiempo, uno esperaría ver aumentar el número de reclamaciones exitosas en los tribunales. De hecho, el número ha bajado.

En cada audiencia del caso de Unison, los jueces han terminado pidiendo ver a personas para quienes las tarifas han realmente representado una barrera para la justicia. Uno estaba seguro de que “si las estadísticas … se redujeran a unos casos individuales, unas situaciones se revelarían que mostrarían una incapacidad de ciertas personas de proceder ante un tribunal de empleo a causa de una falta de fondos.”

Si resultara que los jueces del Supremo quisieran la misma cosa, podrían conocer a Liliana Almanza. Encontrarían en ella un testigo convincente, aunque le resulte difícil estar sentada durante mucho tiempo debido a las tres hernias discales que tiene en la parte inferior de la espalda, las cuales le hacen sentir que esté arrastrando “una carga pesadísima”, provocándole dolores punzantes en las manos, en los hombros, y en el cuello. A veces ella sufre también de depresión severa y de ansiedad. El dolor físico y la enfermedad mental se alimentan el uno del otro.

Almanza ha trabajado de limpiadora en la Universidad de Londres desde el año 2011, y nunca ha escondido sus condiciones médicas de su empleador, una empresa de subcontratación que se llama Cofely. Entonces vino una supervisora nueva que, según Almanza, le tenía manía, amontonándole más trabajo encima de lo normal. Ella mandó a Almanza a la “planta de castigo” – realmente se trataba de tres plantas, las que normalmente limpiaban dos personas, pero ella tenía que hacer este trabajo a solas, y en poco tiempo. La aumentada carga de trabajo, sobre todo el manejar la aspiradora y la fregona, le causaba tanto dolor que a veces le mareaba. Sin embargo, dice Almanza que cuando se quejaba, la supervisora o se reía o le decía que cogiera una baja por enfermedad. Aunque esté requerido por ley, no hubo ningún ajuste por sus incapacidades.

Almanza, que es colombiana, recuerda como la supervisora le dijo que los latinoamericanos eran una banda de mendigos. En otras ocasiones, ella trataba de “perra” y “puta” a Almanza.

En sus peores días, Almanza andaba a la estación de Euston y se ponía en el mismísimo límite del andén. Esperaba a que viniera el metro. Luego ‘se encendía una luz’ y ella hacía un paso atrás.

Almanza hizo exactamente lo que querrían los ministros al hacer una queja formal vía los trámites internos de Cofely. Se la rechazó. Ella hizo una apelación y no oyó nada del tema durante meses. Por más desesperada que fuera su situación, no habría podido permitirse las tarifas de un tribunal. Algunas personas están exentas de las tarifas, pero Almanza y su marido – que son limpiadores los dos – aparentemente ganaban demasiado dinero para cumplir los requisitos de elegibilidad. La evaluación de medios económicos tampoco tiene en cuenta los costes de vida, a pesar de que, después de alquilar una habitación individual en una casa compartida en Londres (anteriormente una casa consistorial), y de pagar las facturas, no tienen casi ningún dinero a fin de mes.

Su sindicato, el minúsculo Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB), contribuyó algún dinero para ir al tribunal, y ayudó a financiar colectivamente el resto del dinero. Tan pronto como Almanza lo hizo, recuerda que su empleador hizo varios ajustes y alivió su carga de trabajo.

Yo me puse en contacto con Engie – así se ha renombrado Cofely – para obtener su respuesta a los cargos de Almanza. En una parte de su declaración dicen: “No toleramos la discriminación en el trabajo y cualquier reclamación … se investiga completamente. Después de una investigación extensa de los alegatos contra Cofely Workplace, se denegó todas las reclamaciones y el tribunal descargó oficialmente a Cofely de los procedimientos judiciales el 24 de mayo 2016.” Los documentos del tribunal demuestran que realmente Cofely fue descargada porque otra empresa se había quedado a cargo del contrato, la cual también llegó a un acuerdo con Almanza.

Sin donativos y los escasos recursos del IWGB, Almanza no habría podido presentar una reclamación. Si ella pudiera testificar en el Supremo, ¿qué diría? “Les diría a los jueces que si yo no hubiera podido ir al tribunal, creo que no estaría aquí hoy. Si yo hubiera seguido así, no habría podido contar esta historia. Quizás parezca una exageración, o una película. Pero es una cosa hablar de eso, y otra cosa vivirlo.”

Deliveroo are confusing themselves —

Deliveroo are confusing themselves

Deliveroo argue that they don’t have any employees or workers, just ‘independent suppliers’ – but their own contracts and instructions make it clear that they do. Here’s a quick roundup of news articles covering IWGB’s fight for Deliveroo workers’ rights:

Support the IWGB Security Officers strike at the University of London —

Support the IWGB Security Officers strike at the University of London

We’ve just launched our Crowdpac campaign – you can find out more and donate here:


Why you should support the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain

Security officers at the University of London are fighting back against zero-hours contracts and pay cuts!

The University of London’s security officers will be striking for the first time ever in the next few weeks.

Security staff work long shifts, round the clock, and are here to help every day of the year: bank holidays, University closure days, even Christmas day.

They’re friendly, professional, and highly qualified. They support and protect staff and students alike in these uncertain times.

Why are they striking?

Their demands are simple:

1. No zero-hours contracts

2. Proper payslips for everyone

3. The University of London to honour its promises on pay

The University of London promised when it introduced the London Living Wage that it would maintain pay differentials.

It has completely failed to keep that promise, with the result that since 2011 security officers have seen their relative pay decline by a massive 25%

Security officers tried to resolve this by writing a petition letter to ask for the difference to be reinstated, then organised a group meeting with their managers.

The response? There will be no pay rise, and security officers’ holidays for the next two months, even ones that have been pre-booked, are being cancelled!

IWGB ran a ballot for strike among its members – the result was 100% in favour of taking strike action.

The strike will take place in the next few weeks – but every day of strike means money lost for these already low-paid workers.

Donating to the strike fund will help us compensate workers – and make it more likely that the strike will succeed!

SOS: Support Our Security! — April 5, 2017

SOS: Support Our Security!

With a successful ballot under our belts, we’re planning strike action. Here’s a flyer explaining the reasons for the campaign and what you can do to help.

Please also see, share and donate to our new Crowdpac strike fundraiser –

You can download the flyer as a PDF here:



Unworkable – a podcast on the hidden side of work —
IWGB writes to UCL —

IWGB writes to UCL

IWGB’s Danny Millum has written to UCL to discuss the planned cuts affecting cleaners at UCLU:

Dear Mr Dancy

I am writing on behalf of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) with regard to the planned cuts affecting cleaners at UCLU.

The IWGB completely supports the cleaners’ campaign against these cuts, which are both unjustified in themselves and have been implemented in a fashion contrary to UCLU’s constitution.

Despite previous commitments by UCLU in which it has stated its support for workers’ rights (specifically campaigning for better conditions and pay for cleaners) it appears that:

  • the main justification for these cuts are unsubstantiated lower quotes from competing cleaning companies
  • when it was discovered that management was planning these cuts the student council of representatives voted that they should not go ahead – but last week overruled by the board of trustees, a body containing unelected members
  • at no point has UCLU management cited talks with workers’ union representatives. Instead reference has been made to talks with the company and it seems likely no direct contact between UCLU and CAIWU (the workers’ union) has taken place
  • there has been no solid evidence presented to say that UCLU is overcharged by Secura Clean
  • no-one seems to have spoken to the workers – who can say for sure if the work they are doing could indeed be squeezed – even the management doesn’t seem to know for sure how these hours can be reduced, beyond anecdotal evidence
  • management is thus bringing UCLU into disrepute by breaking UCLU’s fundamental principles of democracy and ethical conduct (see UCLU’s Articles of Association which reads that “The Union is a democratic institution” and that it will “fulfil its objects in a socially and environmentally responsible manner”)
  • management in addition has failed to listen to its members (hundreds of whom have signed a petition calling on the cuts to stop)
  • furthermore it now appears that UCLU may be breaching its commitments as a London Living Wage employer

The IWGB would like to make it clear that it will be supporting wholeheartedly the cleaners’ campaign to correct these injustices. This may well manifest itself it strikes and demonstrations such as those seen as part of the 3 Cosas Campaign at Senate House – the video here should give you some indication of what is involved.

UCLU helped support and fund the IWGB when we found ourselves homeless shortly after this campaign – it is a sad irony indeed that it should now be on the side of those exploiting the most vulnerable in our society.

UCLU faces a straightforward choice – treat its workers with the dignity and respect that it pays lip service to, or see massive reputational damage and a prolonged and disruptive campaign which can only discredit the organisation itself.

Let’s hope they choose the former – if not, la lucha continua!

Best wishes


A potted history of 3 Cosas — March 31, 2017

A potted history of 3 Cosas

Verso Books have published a new collection of essays by Stefan Collini, on the neoliberalisation of the university, and to promote the book, they invited a number of people to write for their blog. I’ve written a short account of the 3 Cosas campaign, with a little bit about our recent activities – you can find it here alongside articles by Will Davies and Emma Dowling:

Where are the Unions? book chapter —

Where are the Unions? book chapter

The IWGB’s Chair and General Secretary have written a chapter in Sian Lazar’s Where are the Unions?
The chapter deals with the 3 Cosas Campaign at Senate House, and the implications for the wider union movement.
¡Apuntaos esta fecha! La Asamblea General Anual de la rama de la Universidad de Londres – el sábado 29 de abril 2017 — March 29, 2017

¡Apuntaos esta fecha! La Asamblea General Anual de la rama de la Universidad de Londres – el sábado 29 de abril 2017

agm2016Como se anunció en la última reunión, la Asamblea General Anual de la rama tendrá lugar el sábado 29 de abril desde las 3 de la tarde hasta las 5 en el Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, Londres WC1B 5DR).

Instamos a todos miembros a asistir a la asamblea, porque hemos tenido otro año ocupado y con éxitos: la rama se ha crecido aún más, y ha hecho una serie de campañas y ha apoyado a miembros en numerosos casos.

Ésta es una oportunidad que viene una vez al año para:

  • escuchar reportajes completos sobre las actividades de la rama
  • presentarse como candidato a las elecciones para puestos de oficiales
  • eligir a nuevos oficiales
  • disfrutar de comida y bebidas y conocer a otros miembros

Enviaremos más información antes del día de la Asamblea, pero si uno quiere presentarse como candidato a las elecciones, se puede poner en contacto con Catherine Morrissey ( para conseguir un formulario de propuesta. Se puede simplemente preguntar si quiere más información – ¡siempre tenemos muchas ganas de ver participar a nueva gente!

Los puestos disponibles son:

  • Presidente de filial
  • Vice-Presidente de filial
  • Secretario de filial
  • Subsecretario
  • Oficial de contratación
  • Oficial de educación
  • Tesorero
  • Segundo tesorero
  • Oficial de comunicaciones
  • Oficial de campañas
  • Síndicos (x2)


BREAKING NEWS! Ballot results! 100% YES vote —

BREAKING NEWS! Ballot results! 100% YES vote


BREAKING NEWS! The strike ballot results are in! Security officers have voted 100% YES to strike action over pay!

We have just sent the results to Cordant!

We are one of the first unions to successfully ballot under the new Trade Union Act. John Gallogly of the Electoral Reform Services (who ran the ballot) told us: ‘Excellent turnout and one of the first to close with the new requirements’.

We will be announcing strike dates imminently!

Any questions please contact us via

Save the date! University of London Branch AGM – Saturday 29 April —

Save the date! University of London Branch AGM – Saturday 29 April

agm2016As announced at the last branch meeting, the branch AGM will take place on Saturday 29 April between 3pm and 5pm  in the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 5DR).

All members are urged to attend – we have had another busy and successful year, with the branch once again growing in size, running a series of campaigns and supporting members in numerous cases.

This is a once-a-year chance to:

  • hear full reports of branch activity
  • stand for election for officer posts
  • elect new officers
  • enjoy food and drink and meet fellow branch members

We will send out more information in advance of the day, but if you do wish to stand for election, please contact Catherine Morrissey ( for a nomination form. Please do just ask if you want more information as well – we are always super-keen to get new people involved!

The available positions are:

  • Branch Chair
  • Vice-Chair
  • Branch Secretary
  • Assistant Secretary
  • Recruitment Officer
  • Education Officer
  • Treasurer
  • Second Treasurer
  • Communications Officer
  • Campaigns Officer
  • Trustees (x2)


Access to justice in the Guardian — March 28, 2017

Access to justice in the Guardian

Liliana and RobinsonThe Guardian’s excellent Aditya Chakrabortty has written about access to legal aid, and spoke to Liliana Almanza, a cleaner at the University of London:

“Almanza has worked as a cleaner at the University of London since 2011 and never kept her conditions from her employer, an outsourcing company called Cofely. Then came a new supervisor, who Almanza felt had it in for her and who piled on extra work. Almanza was sent to the “punishment floor” – actually three floors, normally handled by two people, but she had to do the work on her own and in little time. The extra workload, especially the pushing about of a hoover and a mop, caused her so much pain that she sometimes felt dizzy. Yet when Almanza complained, she says the supervisor either laughed or told her to sign off sick. Despite being required under law, there was no adjustment for her disabilities.”

Tired of sending emails? —
Bumper IWGB press roundup! — March 27, 2017

Bumper IWGB press roundup!

IWGB has been in the news a lot recently, with another victory for a cycle courier represented by our Couriers and Logistics branch – here’s a roundup of recent articles (including a radio interview if you don’t feel like reading!):

Jason on the gig economy, on 5 Live Drive:

IWGB in Selftrade news:

On bike nerd newsletter

HR news site Personnel Today:

The Guardian:

The BBC, again:

Trade news site Tradebuddy:

The Telegraph:

The Belfast Telegraph:

There’s also one in the Sun, but we’ll leave you to find that yourself if you really want to.


Jason Moyer-Lee on rights in the gig economy — March 24, 2017
Cordant in chaos over security strike! —

Cordant in chaos over security strike!


Yesterday University of London Security contractors Cordant told staff that ALL ANNUAL LEAVE would be cancelled for April and May because of the planned IWGB security guards strike. This included porters, postroom staff, AV – workers who have nothing to do with the strike!

Unsurprisingly, this caused uproar!

Today Cordant have issued a new decree – annual leave will now be authorised for all staff APART FROM SECURITY!

All of this shows two things – they are panicked by the prospect of a strike AND they don’t know what they’re doing!

Meanwhile YES ballot papers are apparently being returned on a daily basis!

Hasta la victoria!

Cordant bosses summoned to UoL — March 16, 2017

Cordant bosses summoned to UoL


Inside sources have told us that yesterday Cordant’s senior management team plus lawyers were summoned to a meeting with the University of London, almost certainly to discuss the security officer pay campaign.

The University has clearly been rattled not just by the impending strike, but also by IWGB General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee’s email threatening legal action against Cordant.

We’ll keep you posted!

Not if, but when — March 15, 2017
Jason Moyer-Lee replies to Cordant threats — March 14, 2017

Jason Moyer-Lee replies to Cordant threats

We have received an incredible letter from Tanya Vittorio, a representative of Cordant, which claims that we’re not in dispute and threatens striking members. Our General Secretary, Jason Moyer-Lee, has replied at length to refute the claims that Ms Vittorio makes, and to affirm that our strike ballot is lawful and will continue:

Tanya Vittorio wrote on Friday 10 March 2017:

Dear Sirs,

With regards to the above matter. I have now taken instructions from our operations team and they in turn have discussed matters with the University of London (UOL).

Whilst we have seen the email from the UOL to the IWGB in 2011 we do not consider this to give rise to any contractual entitlement. The UOL were not in a position to create legal relations with your members (our employees).

As we have given no undertaking to ensure that pay differentials are maintained no legal entitlement arises.

In addition we do not accept your assertion that some of our workers are on zero hours contracts. The workers you are referring to are on annual hours contracts and therefore you have no valid complaint here either.

Finally, the pay slips provided to our workers comply with the statutory requirements. We are required to do no more.

On that basis we are not prepared to negotiate with you in respect of these issues and we are fully prepared to embrace any strike action you wish to pursue.  As a Trade Union you are not recognised and have no bargaining, negotiation or consultations rights.

I am sure that you recognise your members will not be paid by us for the days they engage in any strike action. As we are not prepared to accept your demands or negotiate with you, then your strike action will be of no use to your members.

At this moment we do not consider that a trade dispute has arisen and therefore any strike action by your members will be unlawful and they will not attract statutory immunity. The correspondence you sent to our operations team in January 2016, does not have your members support. There is simply no evidence of this.

The attached list of signatures is nothing more than that (a list).  There is no reference in that list to those signatures being in support of the letter sent. Therefore, we do not accept that the definition of a trade dispute has been met.

In addition the Trade Union will not be entitled to rely on statutory immunity either. Therefore, any strike action in the absence of a trade dispute will result in legal action against your member and the Union. We would also be entitled to dismiss any employee that strikes unlawfully.

We also note that your notice to ballot referred to the 1992 Act. We assume that you are aware of the recently implemented Trade Union Act 2016 and the balloting requirements contained within it.

It is unfortunate that this matter can not be resolved. However, the business intend to take a firm stance on this matter.

I will inform ACAS that conciliation is no longer an option.

Kind regards

Tanya Vittorio | Group Employee Relations Consultant, Cordant Group

and Jason Moyer-Lee’s reply of Monday 13 March 2017:

Dear Ms. Vittorio,

Thank you for your email which I have read with with a mixture of amusement and absolute bewilderment.  I would love to keep this reply short and snappy, however as you have managed to cram so much absurdity into your 13 paragraphs, I do fear I will struggle to be pithy in my response.

I am glad to see in your letter that your operation team has “discussed matters with the University of London (UOL)”.  This clarifies for me, lest I had any doubt, that the various unlawful threats you go on to make about suing the union and dismissing workers is on behalf of and with the consent of the University of London.

As you know, the pay dispute over which we are currently balloting security guards arises because in 2011 the University of London made a promise to maintain their differentials with other outsourced workers as part of the London Living Wage implementation.  The University has of course failed to do this and security guards as a result have seen smaller and smaller pay rises each year as compared to other outsourced workers.  The beauty of outsourcing from the perspective of the unethical employer is that it allows a presumably reputable institution like the University of London to contract an incompetent middle-man company like yours to effectively manage relations with UoL workers on the University’s behalf.  Despite the fact that the University paid for the London Living Wage uplift, negotiated the implementation, and the dispute regards UoL security guards, you appear to be saying that the UoL’s promise is worthless because UoL is not technically the employer.  Whilst that may be the case legally, morally it is absurd.

You then go on to dispute that any of your workers are on 0-hours contracts, by implication drawing an important distinction between a 0-hours contract and a less-than-one-hour-per-day contract where all of the other hours routinely worked are on a 0-hours basis.  Indeed this is precisely the sort of contract you appear to be giving security guards (see attached by way of example).  To be clear, if a security guard has a guarantee of 336 hours in an entire year, to be allocated entirely at your discretion, yet they routinely work more hours than this, for all intents and purposes it is a 0 hours contract.  The person has no stability, will struggle to get a mortgage, and is unable to financially plan with any degree of certainty.  The fact that you somehow claim this is different because he is guaranteed on average less than one hour per day is preposterous.  Also, the attached letter indicates you are not offering all security guards their entitlement to the enhanced holiday and sick pay to which they are legally entitled.  I expect that to be rectified immediately, not least because this issue has already been raised before.  As convenient as you may find it to have someone consistently check your work, we have a union to run and cannot spend all of our time trying to correct Cordant’s pervasive incompetence.

Thank you for reminding me that the workers will not be paid for their strike action- very helpful.  And thanks as well for the heads up that in your opinion the strike will serve no purpose.  I’m afraid I’m going to have to beg to differ.  You see after a few days of the University being entirely shut down because there are no security guards or receptionists, and the halls of residence unable to function for the same reason, something tells me UoL will send its lackeys (that’s you guys) to negotiate.

Incredibly, you assert in your letter that you do not consider there to be a trade dispute and as such you may take legal action against the IWGB or the workers and you may dismiss the workers.  Here you appear to be dreadfully confused.  The definition of a trade dispute, according to s218 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 is:

“…a dispute between employers and workers, or between workers and workers, which is connected with one or more of the following matters-”  Included in the list of following matters is “terms and conditions of employment”.  And further down in the section it states: “A dispute to which a trade union or employer’s association is a party shall be treated for the purposes of this Part as a dispute to which workers or, as the case may be, employers are parties.”  In other words, if we are in dispute with you, then the workers we represent are in dispute.  Maybe take a minute to just pause and digest that.

You then go on to point out that the Trade Union Act 2016 has come into force and imply that we were unaware of this as our letter referred to the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.  That’s because the effect of the Trade Union Act 2016 was to amend the existing legislation.  As such the relevant law is the 1992 Act.  So to answer your question, yes we are aware of the impact of the Trade Union Act 2016.  It appears maybe you are not.

You close by stating that Cordant is going to “take a firm stance on this matter.”

In trying to analyse the incredible amount of absolute nonsense contained in your email, I am able to come up with two theories.  Either 1) despite being the in-house legal person you are so incredibly unaware of the relevant laws that the analogy of a doctor not knowing what paracetamol is comes to mind; or 2) you are aware of the relevant legislation and are purposely writing factually inaccurate emails in order to try and intimidate your workers out of strike action.  If theory 1 is correct I’m afraid I don’t have too much to say but I would recommend Cordant and the UoL have a little chat with you about the basics of employment law.  If theory 2 is correct we will pursue you in an employment tribunal.  My guess is your response to this email will probably tip the balance in favour of one of the two theories.

Regardless of what the explanation for your ridiculous email is, let me take this opportunity to make abundantly clear what our position is.  Unless Cordant/UoL engage in meaningful negotiations and make a suitable offer on pay that our members accept, the ballot for industrial action will continue.  And any strike will shut down the basic functioning of the University.  If Cordant makes one more mention of the possibility of dismissing our members, or even issues so much as a verbal warning, we will pursue you to the full extent of the law.  There is nothing we treat with more seriousness than the legal rights of our members and if you think you can act as though the law doesn’t apply to you without consequence, I strongly suggest you think again.

Once again, thanks very much for your email.

Kind regards,

Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee, General Secretary, IWGB

ICE update — March 13, 2017

ICE update

Mark Murphy has supplied the following update on ICE mediation:

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since you heard from us so you may have forgotten that today we attended a formal mediation with the University, UNISON, and UCU over the ICE Regulations.

The University’s proposal to mediate follows on from them trying to impose reps on staff (which was overturned in the tribunals) and trying to impose a deal which excluded reps chosen by level 1-6 staff (which was rejected in a ballot by all staff).

Our first proposal was to add the IWGB – the union levels 1-6 have chosen to represent them – to the JNCC so that we can negotiate alongside the other two unions.  This was rejected.

So we offered a compromise: a second, distinct forum, at which levels 1-6 would have equal representation to levels 7-10, and which would discuss all matters of importance to staff at any level.

The only thing we wouldn’t budge on is that levels 1-6 would have equal representation and that their chosen reps would be able to deal with the same issues as the recognised unions.  This was unfortunately rejected as well.

So the ball is once again in the University’s court.  We believe they can do better and as long as these procedures are on-going we will continue to do our best to represent the interests of levels 1-6.

Do let us know any thoughts or feedback.

Henry Chango Lopez writes to LSE —

Henry Chango Lopez writes to LSE

Our President, Henry Chango Lopez, has written to LSE in support of the UVW actions taking place this week:

Dear LSE

I am writing on behalf of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) to call upon the London School of Economics and its cleaning contractors Noonan to end their two tier system of employment at the LSE and meet their cleaners’ demands for equality as regards to sick pay, holiday pay, maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay and pensions, as well as the reinstatement of Alba Pasmino, the end of attempts to deny cleaners representation via UVW rep Petros Elia and a review of disciplinary procedures.

Should these demands not be met, the IWGB will be fully backing the UVW strikes planned for 15 and 16 March and will be calling upon all our members, supporters and friends to do the same.

There is no moral or financial justification for the LSE’s stance. It is simply racist and discriminatory to treat one set of almost entirely migrant workers differently to another set of predominantly white British workers, and is an insult to the progressive tradition of the institution founded by Sidney and Beatrice Webb that the LSE still trades on.

Finally, as it seems that history is repeating itself, this time at the LSE, we leave the article below for your perusal in case you are not familiar with our union or the similar campaigns we have waged alongside our comrades from United Voices of the World,

I await your reply

Kind regards

Henry Chango Lopez



IWGB given permission to appear at the Supreme Court —
IWGB Couriers feature in OpenDemocracy — March 10, 2017
BREAKING NEWS! Cordant contact ACAS requesting talks — March 7, 2017

BREAKING NEWS! Cordant contact ACAS requesting talks

Breaking news! The IWGB has been contacted by the conciliation service ACAS on behalf of Cordant, who have enquired about the possibility of opening negotations over the security officers pay dispute.

General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee stated that the IWGB welcomed negotiations, as long as Cordant ‘brought their cheque book’.

Watch this space!

Date set for Deliveroo tribunal —

Date set for Deliveroo tribunal

We have some major news on the gig-economy and Deliveroo: A tribunal has set a date to decide the employment status of Deliveroo riders, a decision which will be as important if not more important than the Uber decision of some months back.

This will have major implications for both UK employment law and future decisions on the so-called gig-economy, as well as on Deliveroo’s business model.

Saying we are very confident that the tribunal will rule in our favour and determine the riders are workers is an understatement. Our press release is below.

Tribunal to determine Deliveroo riders’ employment status in May hearings 

The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), the tribunal that oversees the regulation of UK collective bargaining law, will determine the employment status of Deliveroo riders, in what could turn out to be a landmark ruling for the so-called gig-economy with national implications for Deliveroo.

The tribunal will look at whether Deliveroo riders are workers or independent contractors, the status under which Deliveroo bogusly classes them currently, in hearings to take place on 24 and 25 May.

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is confident the tribunal will rule that the riders are workers, following on from similar decisions by the central London employment tribunal with regards to CitySprint couriers and Uber drivers.

The IWGB applied in November for the tribunal to determine the riders’ employment status and to force the company to recognise the union for the purposes of collective bargaining on behalf of riders working in the Camden area in London.

The CAC has informed the union that if the riders are ruled to be workers it will decide issues related to the bargaining unit in later hearings.

Leading trade union barrister John Hendy QC and Leigh Day are acting for the IWGB in the case.

For years employers in the so-called gig economy have been able to get away with unlawfully depriving their workers of employment rights to which they are legally entitled. The chickens are now coming home to roost,“ said IWGB General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee. “In this tribunal hearing we intend to expose Deliveroo’s sham operations and force them to finally reckon with the rule of law.”

The union represents Deliveroo riders in London and Brighton, where there is an ongoing campaign to push the company to increase the “drop rate”, the amount each driver is paid per delivery, from £4 to £5.

The Brighton campaign has so far gathered support from the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Green Party Co-leader and Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas, as well as several branches of other trade unions and local Labour party branches.

A petition on Care2 asking the company to increase riders’ pay has also gathered around 25,000 signatures.

For more information:

Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, IWGB General Secretary


University of London security officers union ballots members for strike action — March 3, 2017

University of London security officers union ballots members for strike action

IWGB today notified Cordant that the union will be balloting its security officer members for strike action. Below is the press release:

University of London Security officers could go on strike shortly, as their union has today given notice of ballot for industrial action.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is demanding an end to zero-hour contracts, proper itemised payslips, and a 25% increase in pay for all security officers, increasing the salary of the lowest paid officer to around £12 an hour.

While the pay of other workers at the university has increased in recent years that of security officers has stagnated, breaking a commitment the University had made in 2011 to maintain pay differentials between different types of workers.

Cordant, the company that has the contract for the provision of security officers in the University of London’s central administration buildings, has so far been unwilling to negotiate with the IWGB on the matter of pay.

The union invites Cordant to return to the negotiating table to avoid causing disruption to the lives of the students, the security officers and other staff.

The IWGB is confident members will vote in favour of strike action.

“We are determined to take industrial action, which has been caused by the university and Cordant breaking their promise,” says University of London security officer and IWGB representative Abdul Bakhsh “We do not want to disrupt the lives of students, who we are here to help, but we feel we cannot do our job properly if the University doesn’t keep its promises.”

The strike would affect the vast majority of the around 50 security officers that look after Senate House, Stewart House, the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, Student Central (formerly University of London Student Union), the Warburg Institute and five halls of residence: Nutford House, Lilian Penson, Connaught Hall, College Hall and International Hall.

The IWGB is a campaigning union, which has waged a number of high profile campaigns such as for the London Living Wage at the Royal Opera House and at John Lewis, and the 3 Cosas Campaign (sick pay, holidays, and pensions) at the University of London. Other campaigns have been waged over bullying and harassment as well as improved pay for university employees (London Weighting).

For more information:

Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, IWGB General Secretary


Aramark presses ahead with redundancy plans — March 1, 2017

Aramark presses ahead with redundancy plans

After an extended pause in its restructure, University caterer Aramark has this week imposed a new revised structure on staff. While there have been some changes, unnecessary redundancies are still planned. The IWGB has written to Aramark and the University to oppose these:

Dear Viv

We have now seen the minutes of Monday’s meeting.

It is clear from these that Aramark and the University of London intend to press on with a number of completely avoidable ‘redundancies’.

  1. None of the questions raised in our initial response have been answered.
  2. No business case has been provided.
  3. No justification has been given for why this restructure could not wait for the opening of new café.
  4. No exploration of the impact of these changes on staff with protected characteristics has been attempted.
  5. No recognition has been made of the negative impact the absence of a café supervisor has already had
  6. No attempt has been made to halt the spread of zero-hours contracts at the University of London.

The law is clear that avoidable job losses are not redundancies at all.

Should these plans go ahead, we will advise our members that they have strong claims for unfair and/or constructive dismissal.

Best wishes


Danny Millum




Donate to the Security Officers’ Strike fund! —

Donate to the Security Officers’ Strike fund!


One of the reasons that IWGB’s strikes at the University of London have been so successful is that we’re able to get a very high proportion of members out onto the picket line. This is mainly due to the mass support the union enjoys, but our strike fund has been a great help in turning support into participation.

When workers strike they lose pay, so the ability to participate in strike action is often dependent on a worker’s financial situation. The result is that strikes for the lowest paid workers are often poorly attended, despite their need for better conditions being more urgent!

IWGB is proud to have supported members on strike by paying wages from our strike fund, but we need your help to make sure we can do it again. Our security guards have entered into formal dispute with their employer, Cordant, and we’ll be balloting for strike action soon.

We don’t take industrial action lightly, and we hope that Cordant improves the security guards’ pay and enables us to end our dispute. But we will strike if we have to. Our fighting fund is low, and any donations you can offer would greatly help our cause.

Please donate using PayPal – anything you can give will help!

Leo Zeilig’s An Ounce of Practice —

Leo Zeilig’s An Ounce of Practice


Last night we attended the launch of Leo Zeilig’s new novel, An Ounce of Practice (Hope Road Press) – the novel is set amid an outsourced workers’ campaign, and draws heavily on Leo’s involvement in 3 Cosas.

As well as a kind introduction by Philip Murphy and words from his editor, Leo also gave the floor to Comandante Robinson, who gave a rousing account of the early days of IWGB (expertly translated by Camila) and Danny, who brought the audience up to date on the latest campaign around security guards’ pay differentials.

Congratulations to Leo for a great launch – we look forward to reading it!


You can find out more about the book here:

Photos: Philip Murphy

IWGB enters into formal dispute with Cordant —

IWGB enters into formal dispute with Cordant

IWGB General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee has written to Cordant to serve notice that we are now in formal dispute, and to inform them that we will shortly be serving notice of our intention to ballot our security guard members for industrial action.

This follows Cordant’s failure to meet the IWGB’s demand that security officer pay differentials be restored to their 2011 levels.

Ballots have to be sent by post, so it is vitally important that we make sure that we have an up-to-date postal address for all members – please contact Danny ( to confirm your address is the same as the one on our database.

The IWGB is calling on all members to vote YES for strike action! A strong YES vote will show Cordant that we are serious, and that we are prepared to strike if they do not come up with a fair offer!

Mmebers with any questions should email

If you would like to support the strike, you can do one simple thing to help ensure it’s a success. In previous IWGB stikes, we’ve been able to pay striking workers from our strike fund. Having a strike fund means that members who can’t afford to lose pay will still be able to participate in the strike. Our fund is sadly depleted – which is where you come in! Please donate to the IWGB UoL Security Guards Strike Fund and help our members to win better pay.

February branch meeting — February 22, 2017

February branch meeting

Our next branch meeting is taking place this Friday 24 February in the IHR
Mezzanine, 3rd Floor Senate House  at 12.30.

Amongst other things, we will be discussing:

*       Security guards strike update
*       Aramark
*       Asbestos update

English classes begin again —

English classes begin again


English classes have started up again. They will run on Saturday, with a drop-in class that everyone is welcome to attend,, and an ESOL 2 class. Please contact our education officer Andres if you want to find out more:

Las clases de inglés han comenzado de nuevo. Ellos correrán el sábado, con una clase que todos están bienvenidos y una clase ESOL 2. Póngase en contacto con nuestro oficial de educación, Andres, si desea obtener más información:


IWGB issue Cordant with deadline — February 21, 2017

IWGB issue Cordant with deadline

IWGB met with Cordant representatives on Monday 20 February. As Danny reports:

The IWGB presented three demands to Cordant. It was promised that the first two would be resolved:

  1. With regard to payslips, it was agreed that Danny would liaise with John Preston, to ensure all staff were receiving payslips with a full breakdown of hours, overtime hours etc.
  1. With regard to zero-hour contracts, it was agreed that Danny would provide to John Preston a list of staff who were on contracts that did not reflect their hours, and that these would then be resolved.

All members currently on zero-hour contracts, or who would like to have a contract which reflects their hours properly should contact Abdul as soon as possible!

The third demand has not yet been met:

  1. With regard to pay, the IWGB position was that differentials should be restored to their 2011 levels.

The union has provided a deadline of Friday 24 February at 5pm. If we have not received an offer along these lines, or an invitation to a serious negotiation with Cordant and the University about these issues, we will start the procedures to ballot for a strike.

We can’t let Silicon Valley companies and their spin undermine workers’ rights — February 16, 2017
UoL security officers sign up to the IWGB en masse as strike over pay looms — February 15, 2017

UoL security officers sign up to the IWGB en masse as strike over pay looms


Many more UoL security officers have now joined the IWGB following last week’s meeting over pay, at which the prospect of strike action was raised and wholeheartedly endorsed.

Security officers have seen their pay differentials vastly eroded over the last six years, from nearly two pounds above the UoL minimum in 2011 to just 19 pence in 2017.

IWGB officials and security guard reps are scheduled to meet with bosses from security contractor Cordant on Monday 20 February, and intend to make the following demands:

  • That differentials be restored to 2011 levels (by our calculations this would mean an hourly rate of just over £12)
  • That zero-hour and so-called 365 hour (per year!) contracts be abolished
  • That proper payslips showing a clear breakdown of hours worked and overtime be provided.

Please do get in touch with or for more information.

Asbestos issues at the University of London! IWGB members plan formal grievance! —

Asbestos issues at the University of London! IWGB members plan formal grievance!

BREAKING NEWS! Since this article was published this morning the University of London have been in touch with the IWGB with partial answers to the issues raised. Get in touch ( if you want more details!

IWGB members working in the maintenance team are to launch a formal collective grievance against the University and its contractor Bouygues following a series of failings relating to the re-discovery of asbestos across the University of London site.

The site had been declared asbestos-free following a series of previous scandals, most recently in 2002-3 at the then  Institute of Germanic Studies.

However, it recently transpired that these tests had not been carried out properly, and that areas which had been declared safe were in fact contaminated.

Staff who have been working in those areas are understandably extremely concerned as to the danger they might have been exposed to. However, despite the gravity of the situation, the University has thus far only provided vague and generic assurances that the asbestos is now being cleared, and that the risks were minimal.


  • The University has refused to confirm that an investigation will be conducted into how areas were declared safe when the asbestos had not been removed
  • Staff are still being pressured to go into affected areas without adequate training or protective clothing
  • The University has refused to release the detailed sample reports from the most recent surveys
  • The University has failed to address a series of detailed questions on this issue submitted by the affected staff in December
  • The University has failed to inform other potentially affected staff, visitors, or residents at the its Halls of Residence, of these ongoing asbestos risks

As such the IWGB, who represent maintenance workers at the University, will be submitting a formal grievance this week, and pressing, among other things, for a full formal enquiry.

Please feel free to get in touch with any concerns via

London Legal Support Trust accreditation — February 13, 2017

London Legal Support Trust accreditation

The IWGB has been given a grant of £10,000 from the London Legal Support Trust (LLST), to help support the activities of our  Legal Department, and as part of the process of becoming an accredited LLST Centre of Excellence. As well as an ongoing independent review of our activities, this will allow us to access more advice and support from the Trust and apply for further funding.

Watch this space for more info!

Weekend news roundup —

Weekend news roundup

Radio Free Brighton’s Davy Jones podcast this week featured Tim, a Deliveroo rider, and our General Secretary, Jason Moyer-Lee:

And the BBC has produced this handy explainer on the gig economy and what it means for workers in different industries:

IWGB asks for clarification on Cordant contracts — February 10, 2017

IWGB asks for clarification on Cordant contracts

Yesterday IWGB Treasurer Danny Millum wrote to Kim Frost, raising issues around cleaners’ contracts and the University’s negotiations with Cordant. The text of the email is below, with an example zero-hours contract letter. We look forward to his swift response…


9 February 2017

Dear Kim

I am writing on behalf of cleaning staff working for the contractor Cordant to bring to the University of London’s attention serious failings with the way certain aspects of the contract are being handled.

Shortly after Cordant took over, a number of permanent cleaning positions were advertised internally, and various cleaners applied for these, and were interviewed.

These posts were of great importance – many of those applying work just three hours a day, and these extra hours would have allowed them to earn closer to a full-time salary while remaining in the same workplace.

However, following the interviews:

  • no appointments were made
  • no outcome was provided to any of the applicants
  • despite numerous enquiries, no explanation was provided as to why the appointment process had been suspended
  • following union intervention, Cordant stated in September that the process had been halted while a revaluation of the contract was done, but that this would be resolved shortly
  • instead these posts continued to be filled by temporary summer staff, who had never applied for the positions or been interviewed, but whose contracts were extended beyond the normal September cutoff point
  • following numerous other requests for information, the employees eventually filed a collective grievance on the 13 December, which was not heard until the 16 January, and for which an outcome was only provided today, on the 9 February
  • the outcome gave no detail, but merely stated that negotations were ongoing bewteen the University of London and Cordant, and that no timescale could be given
  • in the meantime, despite assurances to the contrary, temporary staff are now being issued with zero-hour contracts (see attached) while they continue to fill these posts.

We have been given no option but to bring this matter to the University’s attention, and ask:

  1. Is the University aware that its contractor has left staff who attended interviews in good faith for nearly a year with no outcome?
  2. Is the University aware that its contractor (until forced to do so by a formal grievance) failed to respond to staff requests for information for months on end?
  3. Is the University aware that its contractor is now employing staff on zero-hour contracts?
  4. Is the University aware that its contractor is claiming that negotiations over the contract have taken over ten months – and are still not resolved?
  5. Is the University aware that the consequence of this has meant that a significant number of permanent cleaning positions have been left unfilled for over ten months – with the work being done instead by temporary staff who were not required to interview?
  6. It cannot be the case that resolving the hours required on this contract should take so long – either Cordant or the University are responsible for this. Which is it?

The affected cleaners feel extremely disrespected and poorly treated – they simply wish for these posts to be awarded fairly to those who originally interviewed for them.

They are in the process of appealing the decision, and considering legal action. In the meantime, we would ask the University to clarify the contract, and compel its contractor to fulfil its obligations to staff. In addition, if it turns out that the University is condoning the use of zero-hour contracts by Cordant, we will be calling attention to this by all means possible.

If you could respond to this as soon as possible that would be much appreciated.

Best wishes,

Danny Millum



The Guardian on the gig economy — February 8, 2017
Assistant Branch Secretary and Communications Officer elections — February 7, 2017

Assistant Branch Secretary and Communications Officer elections

At the last round of branch meetings we held an election to the new position of Assistant Branch Secretary. This post was established to take some of the workload and pressure off our very hardworking Branch Secretary, Catherine. Rebecca Dooley stood for the post and was elected – so congratulations to Rebecca, and good luck!

Rebecca’s election left a vacancy for the post of Communications Officer. Matt Mahon was elected to the post – and he’s still getting to grips with all the logins, but normal service will resume soon…

IWGB and University of London feature in new novel – come to the launch! — February 1, 2017

IWGB and University of London feature in new novel – come to the launch!

an_ounce_standard-175x259The IWGB’s Leo Zeilig has just published his second novel – and it revolves around a lightly fictionalised account of the 2013 3 Cosas struggle at the University of London!

Leo tell us:

‘As I mentioned it is a strange story (about a very distracted blogger/ lecturer on a temporary contract, who gets involved in a struggle at his university of cleaners and security guards and then travels to Zimbabwe). Obviously the story is, in part, a celebration of the battles that workers at Senate House have been involved in.’

There have clearly been some other elements of poetic licence taken, as one reviewer refers to a novel of ‘digital activism and sex’ – Leo was obviously on a different picket line to us!

Dr Leo Zeilig doing his best impassioned activist impression…

Anyway, all members are welcome to come to the launch! Leo has promised booze and music, and it will take place on 28 Feb, G22/26, Senate House, University of London, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU – 6pm.

Just drop Leo a line ( if you fancy it…