Academic explains why he is proud to back the IWGB’s University of London boycott — May 24, 2019

Academic explains why he is proud to back the IWGB’s University of London boycott

Dr Dion Georgiou, a senior lecturer at the University of Chichester, calls on academics to “stand in solidarity with cleaners and security staff, and fight precarious employment.”

Writing in the Guardian, Dr Georgiou who has been organising seminars and events at Senate House for more than a decade, said outsourcing has to end and he is proud to back the University of London boycott.

In his article he also points out that universities routinely invest huge amounts in real estate while neglecting to invest in their staff. And commenting on the difficulties the outsourced workers at the University of London have been facing since their campaign began in 2017, he said “… they face an intransigent university management with skewed priorities, whose response has all too frequently blended short-termism with heavy-handedness.

“Refusing to negotiate directly with the workers’ chosen union representatives, it has instead expended heavily on policing the workers’ industrial action and student protests taken in support of them, spending over £400,000 on additional security over a two-month period last year alone.”

Remembering the IWGB members who supported academics who themselves had to take industrial action against their employers, Dr Georgiou said “Last year, while I was stood on the picket line outside King’s College London (where I myself was then precariously employed) during our strike over pensions, IWGB members supported our action, with some refusing to cross UCU picket lines. Now we must stand with them. We are all in this fight together.”

Read the full article here.

Campaigners against outsourcing take their battle to the Palace of Westminster —

Campaigners against outsourcing take their battle to the Palace of Westminster

The battle for the outsourced workers at the University of London (UoL) has entered the lofty corridors of the House of Parliament. 

This week (22 May), members of the IWGB union joined a panel led by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP to discuss how outsourcing is used to drive down working conditions and what can be done to fight back.

As well as John McDonnell, speakers included Maritza Castillo Calle, IWGB’s UoL’s branch chair, Liliana Almanza, union representative and cleaner. They were joined by Katie Leslie, London south branch secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) representing staff at Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, and representatives from the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).

Since 2017, IWGB has been campaigning for UoL, one of the UK’s largest university in terms of student numbers, to end outsourcing and directly employ the workers who provide cleaning, catering, security and other services.

Outsourcing is one of the underhanded methods used by employers for decades to drive down our employment conditions. By using middlemen in the form of outsourcing companies such as Cordant, employers are able to offer some workers far worse pay, holiday entitlements, sick pay and pension contributions. 

But the abuse doesn’t stop there. The unaccountable nature of outsourcing companies means the workers (who are often from minority ethnic and migrant backgrounds), employed by them are much more likely to suffer from bullying and discrimination. 

But recent years have seen outsourced cleaners, security officers, receptionists and catering staff, win a number of important victories that have pushed back against some of the worst abuses of the outsourcing industry. 

At the event in Westminster, Maritza Castillo Calle and cleaners’ representative, Liliana Almanza, spoke movingly about their experiences as outsourced migrant workers, and how they had been empowered by joining a union. John McDonnell pledged his support to end outsourcing in general AND for the Boycott Senate House campaign in particular.

Workers from other outsourced campaigns also spoke, including the representatives from the PCS and RMT unions. All committed to building closer links between unions to strengthen the fightback.

Couriers working for The Doctors Laboratory strike over pay and conditions — May 17, 2019

Couriers working for The Doctors Laboratory strike over pay and conditions

On Thursday and Friday next week (23 and 24 May) medical couriers at The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) will be going on strike, and IWGB members are encouraged to show solidarity for our cycle couriers who provide blood delivery services to more than 50 NHS and private hospitals on behalf of this private company.

The focus of the action will take place at TDL’s Euston Road headquarters (95 Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London NW1 2RA) from 7.30am–1.30pm on both days. However, the main event that as many people as possible are being encouraged to attend will be from 12 noon–1.30pm on the Thursday. A range of speakers have accepted invitations to take part. 

All sorts of activities are lined up for the two days and a Facebook event “SAVE LIVES NOT PENNIES” has been launched. IWGB members are urged to show their support at this Facebook page, which will reassure and empower the workers taking part in the strike – a decision that was not taken lightly.

After years of mistreatment TDL couriers unionised in 2018 in the hope of achieving better working conditions and an increase in pay that had stagnated for years. The IWGB has been engaged in talks with TDL for the last year, but the company has done everything it can to delay negotiations and has continued to treat the couriers with contempt. 

Indeed, TDL decided to cease negotiations and instead pursue forced employment on its self-employed couriers which would mean huge pay cuts. This was the final straw. The couriers decided there was no other option than to ballot for a strike with 84.6 per cent voting to take industrial action.

A large part of TDL’s ridiculous wealth is founded on the dismantling of the NHS through privatisation. As the NHS is slowly broken down TDL hoovers up services and transform them into huge profit for the senior management and shareholders.  

TDL’s refusal to meet the workers’ demands for modest increases in pay is in sharp contrast to the generous pay rises it has given its top two executives. They earned a combined £2.6 million in 2017with the highest paid director doubling his pay since 2013 to £1.6m,far more than any NHS manager. The company’s Australian owner, Sonic Healthcare, has received £60 million from the business over the last 5 years. While this company is turning over such astronomical profits, it is looking for ways to squeeze the long-serving, hardworking couriers.

As Alex Marshall, a TDL courier and IWGB member, said: “While TDL investors and managers get fat off NHS contracts, the couriers that risk their lives every day to deliver emergency blood and pathology samples are being left to suffer under a regime of pay cuts and neglect.”

Huge victory at University of London as first workers come back in house! —

Huge victory at University of London as first workers come back in house!

Next week marks a watershed moment in IWGB’s ‘back in house’ campaign as the first outsourced workers will formally be transferred to University of London employment.

Selected members of staff from reception, portering, postroom and audio-visual support will be the first in 20 years to reverse the trend of outsourcing at UoL.

This is a huge victory for the workers’ campaign as just two years ago the University refused to discuss the issue of in-housing, claiming that issues with the workers’ employment conditions were not a matter for the University to consider.

In recent communications to directly employed staff, the University has changed its line and sought to claim credit for the decision to bring the workers in house and for the beneficial effects of doing so. But it won’t be forgotten that the decision to bring these workers back in house comes after a huge campaign and massive pressure applied to the University by the workers and their union, IWGB!

IWGB has now been able to scrutinize the terms and conditions of incoming workers’ contracts and confirm that existing working patterns will be respected while everyone will be entitled to the University’s pensions, sick pay, annual leave and other benefits such as closure days – all of which mark a significant improvement on terms and conditions available to outsourced staff.

“This is an incredible day for us,” said Abdul Bakhsh, one of the affected workers and UoL IWGB Vice Chair. “We are finally getting what we have been asking for – to be treated equally with our colleagues at the University.”

But workers are determined to carry on the campaign until all their outsourced colleagues are brought in-house: the number transferring on 20 May is a tiny proportion of affected staff. The University maintains in communications that it is ‘committed to the principle of in-sourcing’ but still refuses to make a clear statement committing to transferring the remaining 200+ staff into its employment. Understandably, this gives no reassurance to those left out of scope. The workers will fight on until the campaign is won!

Have you made your check call??? — May 16, 2019
AGM and end of year celebration for IWGB’s University of London branch — May 10, 2019

AGM and end of year celebration for IWGB’s University of London branch

The IWGB’s annual branch meeting on 27 April, was attended by a capacity crowd at SOAS in London’s Bloomsbury.

It was the once-a-year chance for members to find out everything the branch had done in the last action-packed year; approve the union’s finances, stand for election, vote for our officers, and make plans for next year.

Voting for officers at 2019 AGM

Just as important though, it was an opportunity to meet with colleagues, and to show their appreciation for the tireless volunteers and activists whose vital day-day-day role is instrumental in helping the union give its members a voice.

The AGM reflected the international make-up of the union at the most basic level. Conducted in English and Spanish (Spanish and English lessons are offered free of charge to all members), it demonstrated the power of unity and cohesion among its supporters.

Arguably the most important date in the branch calendar, the AGM was celebration of a highly democratic organisation that is doing something new, demanding national institutions do the same.

Ballots resulted in a refreshed line-up of officers and representatives. The new officers are as follows:

Delegates for central union AGM

  • David Kalanzi
  • Adbul Bakhsh
  • Joe Trapido
  • Rebecca Dooley
  • Catalina Punguil
  • Marty Steer
  • Talitha Wachtelborn
  • Jose 
  • Mark Murphy
  • Franki Cunha

Branch officials 2019

  • Chair: Maritza Castillo Calle
  • Secretary: Danny Millum
  • Vice chair: Abdul Bakhsh
  • Assistant secretary (job share): Rebecca Dooley and Mark Murphy
  • Treasurer: Lindsey Caffin
  • BME officer: David Kalanzi
  • Women’s officer: Talitha Wachtelborn 
  • Recruitment officer: Abubakar Mohamed
  • Education officer: Jamie Woodcock
  • H&S officer: Jonathan Blaney
  • Campaigns officer: Joe Maggs
  • Trustees: George Orton and David Kalanzi
Serious concerns re the ongoing TUPE process for Cordant staff — May 9, 2019

Serious concerns re the ongoing TUPE process for Cordant staff

Danny Millum, secretary of the University of London’s (UoL) branch of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), locked out of Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) meeting between UoL’s contractor Cordant, and IWGB member. See below his letter to UoL’s director of property and facilities management, which raises some serious concerns about this denial of an employee’s right to be accompanied to such meetings by a ‘representative of their choice’.

Dear Ghaz

I am writing following an incident on Tuesday to raise serious concerns with regard to the ongoing TUPE process.

As you will be aware, as part of this process Cordant have been conducting 121 consultation meetings with transferring staff.

It is normal practice at the University of London for outsourced staff attending such meetings to bring a representative of their choice. I have attended dozens of such meetings in the past, as part of TUPE transfers from the University to Balfour Beatty, as part of the transfer from Cofely to Cordant etc. The union affiliation of the rep has NEVER been an issue.

Furthermore, the invite letters stated that ‘You will also have the right to be accompanied to the consultation with [sic] a fellow employee or trade union official.’

Even more egregiously, this would never be an issue for a direct employee, who would always be allowed a rep of their choice at any meeting of this sort.

Obviously, these are very important meetings, and it is very important that these workers be able to be accompanied by someone that they trust and have chosen themselves.

Despite all of the above, when members notified Cordant that I would be accompanying them, the response from Darren Cox (Operations Manager) was to inform them that I would not be allowed to attend, but that should they wish to be accompanied by a Unison rep he could help arrange this.

I wrote to Mr Cox and made the points above – to which he replied that he was acting on advice from Cordant HR.

I confirmed that nevertheless I would be attending.

On Tuesday I arrived at Stewart House basement with my member only to be confronted by a security officer who refused to allow me entrance to the corridor outside the room where the meeting was to take place. When I asked him on what authority he was denying me access, he told me it was neither Cordant nor the University of London, but that he had been given these instructions by his manager. He refused to tell me what company he worked for.

After explaining to him the situation and still being denied access myself and the member left.

I would like to put on record that I consider this behaviour to be completely unacceptable – for all the reasons above, my presence was completely legitimate. Furthermore, it is clear that the member concerned, a vulnerable migrant worker for whom English is a second language, was denied their right to a representative of their choice for a meeting of the utmost importance, an experience which they found extremely distressing.

The importance of having a rep present was confirmed when I spoke to another member who had attended the meeting alone – they were asked to sign a form giving permission for Cordant to pass their personal details to the University. When they asked what details were involved, they were told that this could not be specified, and then pressured to sign anyway, which they did despite having strong reservations.

Workers have been therefore left in a nightmarish scenario where either they take part in a meeting they are not properly equipped for OR refuse to take part and therefore leave part of the TUPE process undone.

I would like to know:

1. If the University signed off on this behaviour on the part of its contractor?
2. Who is paying the bill for the additional security officer employed solely to exclude me from these meetings?
3. That now the University is aware of this situation it will commit to ensuring that all workers get the representative of their choice at these 121 meetings?

Could you please respond to me as a matter of urgency as the date of transfer is rapidly approaching?

Best wishes


Office warming – Sat 4 May! All welcome! Todos bienvenidos! — May 2, 2019

Office warming – Sat 4 May! All welcome! Todos bienvenidos!

After lots of hard work from our amazing employees our new office is finally up and running! So please come and see it yourself and meet the IWGB office team on Saturday 4 May from 16:00 – 18:00.

There will be soft drinks and nibbles, and we will move to a close-by pub afterwards.

Address: St. Margaret’s House, Room 1, 15 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PL.

2 mins from Bethnal Green underground station.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Hola a todos!! Despues de un trabajo arduo de nuestros maravillosos empleados, nuestra nueva oficina esta finalmente lista! Así que por favor vengan a verlo por ustedes mismos y conozcan a nuestro equipo de trabajo de la oficina de IWGB este sabado 4 de mayo de 4pm-6pm.

Habra bebidas y bocadillos. Despues de eso estan invitados a ir a un pub cercano.

Direccion: St. Margaret’s House, Room 1, 15 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PL.

2 minutos de la estacion de metro de Bethnal Green. Los esperamos a todos!

Call for action over ethnicity and gender bias in UoL holiday allowances — April 17, 2019

Call for action over ethnicity and gender bias in UoL holiday allowances

Our branch secretary has written to the University to raise once again the issue of the discrepancy in holidays between 1-6 and 7-10 staff, and to call for immediate action! Happy Easter!

Dear Mark and Simon

I am writing with regard to the issue of the disparity in holiday allowances between staff on grades 1-6 and those on 7-10.

As you know, staff in the latter group receive 3 days more annual leave per annum than those in the former.

This is not just unfair, but I believe it raises issues of race and gender discrimination, as BAME staff and women are disproportionately represented among grades 1-6.

This was originally raised at the ICE Forum a year ago (see here for the full document submitted then)  but no action has yet been taken.

Could you please get back to me and confirm that the University will be taking steps to resolve this issue, and the timescale in which it will be doing so?

Best wishes


Your union needs you – AGM Saturday 27 April! — April 9, 2019

Your union needs you – AGM Saturday 27 April!

All University of London IWGB members are invited to our Annual General Meeting (AGM), which will be held on Saturday 27 April at 2pm. It is the most important date in the branch calendar and we urge everyone to make the effort to attend. Food and drink will be provided.

It is your once-a-year chance to:

  • find out everything the branch has done in the last action-packed year
  • approve the union’s finances
  • meet colleagues from across the branch
  • stand for election and vote for our officers (see full list of current officers and posts)
  • thank our volunteers and activists
  • make plans for the next year

Venue: SOAS Main Building, Room B103, 10 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG .

The nearest tube station is Russell Square, and the 59, 168, 68, 91 and 188 buses stop nearby.

More information about the AGM and how to stand as an officer, is available from

A reasonable approach – IWGB offers negotiations on in-housing — April 3, 2019

A reasonable approach – IWGB offers negotiations on in-housing

Our branch secretary Danny wrote today to the VC and the heads of SAS:

Dear Peter

I am writing to you and to the SAS Directors with regard to the ongoing in-house campaign and boycott of Senate House

SAS have indicated to us and to the campaign on numerous occasions the extremely serious impact the boycott is having on the School, particularly if it continues into the long term.

The University meanwhile has reiterated that the wellbeing of the School is a top priority.

It would therefore make sense that if there were a course of action that could lead to the boycott being lifted the University should take it.

We want to make clear that this course of action is available – we are offering direct negotiations with the outsourced workers and their chosen union which could start immediately. Only through negotiation will we find a solution that will convince workers to call off the boycott. Once an agreement is reached, the boycott will be lifted.

If the University wishes to find a way to resolve this issue and has the interests of the School at heart, all it needs to do is accept this offer, which would cost it nothing.

We are looking forward to your response, and moving forward with a solution that will benefit everyone at the University in the long term.

Best wishes


IWGB raises grave concerns with in-housing TUPE process —

IWGB raises grave concerns with in-housing TUPE process

The first phase of in-housing at the University of London has now begun.

After 18 months of campaigning by outsourced workers, around 10% of them are now scheduled to become direct employees of the UoL on 20 May 2019.

The group selected for inclusion consists of porters, postroom staff, AV technicians and receptionists.

Notwithstanding the fact that 90% of outsourced staff still have no guarantees as to their fate, even those who should have been included in this first phase have found this to be a confusing and stressful process.

Meetings have been scheduled at the last minute, with little information given and no allowance made for language issues.

Even more worrying, there has been no clarity as to who should and should not be included in the process, with many of those receptionists who should fall within the scope of the TUPE not having received letters of notification. The IWGB has already received 10 such complaints, and this far Cordant have not responded to any of the workers who have raised this.

The IWGB’s position is clear – any worker illegally left out will have our full support in challenging the process AND until the other 90% of affected workers are brought in-house the campaign will continue to escalate.

Hasta la victoria siempre!

The weighting game — March 28, 2019

The weighting game

A successful 2014/15 London weighting (LW) campaign by the IWGB ended with the University of London agreeing a gradual increase so that on 1 August 2018 the annual allowance paid to staff would total £3,500. Matter closed.

However, a clause in the original agreement left the door open for the LW issue to be revisited if the London Living Wage (LLW) went up by more than 6% by 2018. And guess what? In November 2017, the LLW rose 11.5% on the 2014 rate so in July 2018 we brought this to the attention of the university director of HR, Simon Cain.

Eight months later, we are having to broach the subject again. See below for the latest letter to Simon Cain from our Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) representative.

Dear Simon

I am writing to follow up on our earlier correspondence relating to the issue of London weighting.

As the university itself agreed to tie further discussion of the level of London weighting to the rise in the London Living Wage (LLW) – both of which being intended to reflect the rising cost of living in London – our position is clear. The London weighting allowance should be increased to bring it in line with the increase in the LLW over the period since 2014, with a guarantee going forward the two measures will continue to rise in tandem.

Our contention remains that this matter is salient to the ICE forum, and as a consequence we wish it to be added to the agenda for the April meeting.

If you could confirm this and your attendance at this meeting so that a meaningful discussion can take place, that would be much appreciated.

Best wishes,

Hunter gatherers, Candy Crush Saga and excess workload at the University of London — March 24, 2019

Hunter gatherers, Candy Crush Saga and excess workload at the University of London

Many of us working at the University of London feel pressure at the moment to work extra hours beyond their contracts to meet increasingly burdensome demands and expectations, and it is sometimes difficult to take a step back and realise that this is a) not necessary and b) not something you need to put up with in silence!

If in the basement of Senate House you should come across the skeleton of a woman that’s about 10,000 years old you might idly wonder if she belonged to a hunter-gatherer group or a farming community that grew grain. Simply examine the skeleton’s back, knees and toes: if they’re deformed it’s because the woman spent many hours rocking back and forth grinding grain, to give her severe RSI.[1]

It’s widely accepted that the gradual move from a mixed lifestyle of hunting and harvesting to the backbreaking raising of a monocrop was a terrible deal for humans. Hunter-gatherers were healthier, bigger and less prone to disease than their counterparts. Their lifestyle was more varied and, arguably, more skilled. Long hours doing the same thing are bad for us physically, mentally and emotionally.

In modern times we can congratulate ourselves on many achievements: The Daily Mail, Candy Crush Saga, BaeWatch. How do our working lives compare with the hunter-gatherer? The University of London is obviously not the worst place in Britain to work: just ask fruit pickers, workers in massage parlours who rely on tips, or many others. But owners of massage parlours do not generally crow about work-life balance so perhaps we can and should hold UoL to a higher standard.

The University has, for several years, operated a “recruitment chill”. This normally means that if someone leaves they are not replaced for a minimum of six months. Who does their work? Who do you think? Were these colleagues previously sitting around looking to fill their time? Scarcely. Were they already in fact overworked? You betcha. The recruitment chill should more honestly be called the Exploit Existing Workers Doctrine.

A number of people in my department regularly work more than 70 hours a week. Because they love the job? Not so much. Chronic under-resourcing means they have to do it or everything would break down (and they would be blamed for it). What’s being selected for here is goodwill and self-sacrifice. Those who won’t do it will leave or push work onto others. A cash- and resource-rich institution is making its most dedicated workers ill through excessive hours in the name of “bearing down on costs” or similar self-serving nonsense.

Leaving aside the morality of this, it’s nonsensical on a practical level. It is well known that the quality of work falls as people become more and more tired. That’s kind of obvious but Quartz recently reported on a study that shows how quickly this happens.[2] If the eight-hour work day produces low-quality work what effect is the recruitment chill having, on top of all the other extra loads being rammed onto our shoulders?

If you want a quick way to know if an institution actually cares about the quality of work being done there look no further than open-plan offices. These are such a bad idea that kids today probably learn “don’t work in an open-plan office” from their parents at about the same time they learn “don’t drink bleach”. Open-plan offices reduce work and reduce communication between colleagues; the only thing they increase is sickness rates. [3]

Despite this the University has put a lot of effort into creating a giant open-plan office in Senate House’s basement. In a gesture of solidarity the managerial elite of the University have moved down there too. But open-plan is especially harmful for deep, thoughtful work, so the output of our senior managements remains unaffected.

If anyone complains about this situation the managerial response varies between sympathetic head-nodding, which does very little to reduce anyone’s workload, and injunctions to think creatively about that workload, to ensure that you are working smarter not harder. To be fair the mantra work smarter not harder is pretty useful: it tells you that the person saying it is an imbecile whose views can be conveniently ignored.

If there are any humans left in 10,000 years’ time they can examine our skeletons. If they’re deformed in the hands, wrists and shoulders it’s because of RSI, produced by long hours at a computer or tablet. I don’t think they’ll be able to tell if we were working smarter not harder.

Are you forced to work beyond your contractual hours because of workload? You’re not alone. Contact if you want to discuss this issue in confidence.

1. James C. Scott, Against the Grain, p.83.


3. See, for example,–horrible–no-good–very-bad-idea/, or just ask your parents if going open-plan/drinking bleach is a smart move.

University of London’s victimisation of IWGB member causes ‘grave concern’  — March 22, 2019

University of London’s victimisation of IWGB member causes ‘grave concern’ 

Danny Millum, secretary of the University of London’s (UoL) branch of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), has been reprimanded, in writing, by his employers for accepting an invitation from seminar convenors to discuss the union’s ‘Boycott Senate House’ campaign. 

Below, Rebecca Dooley, an IWGB activist and member of UoL’s Information and Consultation of Employees forum, calls out Professor Rick Rylance for singling out and victimising Danny for his trade union activity. In his 5 February letter the dean of the School of Advanced Study where Danny has been a loyal employee for more than 13 years, made it clear he would not hesitate to instigate disciplinary action in the future.

Dear Professor Rylance, 

I am writing in my capacity as the assistant secretary of the University of London IWGB. I am assistant to our branch secretary, Danny Millum, and I am writing with regard to the letter that he received from you regarding his attendance at an IHR seminar. 

I write with grave concern, as both an employee of the University and as a committed trade union member and activist, that Danny is being singled out and victimised for his trade union activity, despite being an exemplary employee of the university for many years. I am a member of the ICE forum and have publicly stated on more than one occasion at those meetings that the university has recently been showing a degree of disdain towards the IWGB and its members as a result of our in-house campaign, and I fear that this attitude towards our union is now manifesting itself in very real ways in potential disciplinary action against a valued employee.

I would ask you at this time why it was deemed necessary to take such action against Danny for his attendance at this seminar? Whilst I do note that your letter states that no action is being taken, the very fact of it being a formal letter, from yourself, copied to senior management, seems to say the complete opposite. 

For something that I think many would consider to be a very minor matter, this seems to be a wholly excessive response, designed to intimidate Danny into reigning in his trade union activity. The work of union representatives is vital for maintenance of a safe and secure workforce and those who choose to undertake this work (often giving up vast amounts of their free time, unpaid) should be able to do so without the fear of reprisal from their employer.

Kind regards,

Rebecca Dooley

University cleaners unhappy about the use of biometric clock-in — March 19, 2019

University cleaners unhappy about the use of biometric clock-in

University College London (UCL) cleaners are protesting against the introduction of a biometric time management system that is being forced on them. 

The cleaners, who are employed by Sodexo, say the technology will infringe their rights and have written to Sodexo and UCL to express their unanimous opposition. They also confirm that 100% of those who attended a meeting to discuss the plans to introduce this technology voted in favour of strike action.

IWGB and UCU, the unions supporting the cleaners, said that to date neither UCL nor Sodexo have responded to their letter (see copy below) or made any attempt to answer any of the queries raised.

They said it is “extremely disappointing that Sodexo and UCL seem to have such a lack of concern for the opinion of their cleaning staff and these potential breaches of GDPR and the Biometric Privacy Guidelines.”

The matter has now been raised with the University Council and passed to the IWGB’s legal department.

UCL security officers detail “serious issues” relating to outsourcing contractor — March 11, 2019

UCL security officers detail “serious issues” relating to outsourcing contractor

Nearly 100 security officers working at University College London have signed an open letter to the University Council drawing its attention to extremely serious issues relating to Axis, the university’s outsourcing contractor.

Dear Professor Arthur,

We are writing as security officers currently employed by Axis on the University College London contract to bring to your attention and that of the wider UCL community the conditions, which those staff who keep your buildings and people safe currently endure.

The security contract was taken over by Axis on 1 November 2018, more than four months ago. We consider this to have been a probationary period, and one which they have unfortunately failed, as a result of their inability to resolve the following issues:

1. Loss of personal data

As part of the TUPE process when an employee moves over to a new company they are asked to supply a comprehensive schedule of data. This includes bank details, copy of passport, national insurance number, full name, addresses in the last 5 years and other biographical details.

Guards provided this information to Axis (in hard copy), only to be later contacted and asked to supply data that had already been provided. We estimate around 70% of the guards were asked to resupply data, including passports and bank details.

We believed that Axis had lost a quantity of the hard copy data we had given them, and this was confirmed in an email by an Axis manager in response to union enquiries. Despite this, Axis have subsequently denied losing the data and claimed that it had just not been sent in the first place by the guards.

Not only the loss of this data extremely serious, but the fact that Axis have chosen to blame officers and cover up the truth makes them unfit to hold this contract. The matter has now been referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

2. Loss of all holiday information

Despite Axis having had 3 months prior to the 1 November 2018 transfer to shadow the outgoing contractor (CIS), they made the astonishing revelation after the handover that they had not obtained any of the holiday records for the 200 or so officers who had TUPE’d from CIS.

Quite simply, this meant that they had no record of the holiday that had already been taken that year, and no way of knowing what their officers were entitled to. When this came to light, rather than take responsibility for the situation, they blamed CIS.

We believe that it is one of the basic requirements of an employer to be able to handle holiday issues, and would add that the failure to flag this up prior to handover casts grave doubts on the capability of the UCL facilities team tasked with overseeing the transfer.

3. Failure to pay holidays correctly, as well as other pay problems

As a consequence of the above, the payment of holidays to Axis staff has been utterly chaotic for the last 4 months. Issues regarding holidays and pay break down into a number of categories:

  • Paying guards at a rate lower than their usual hourly rate.
  • Holiday pay missing completely from pay.
  • Paying holiday at less than the 12 hours that they work in a shift.
  • Not recognizing the correct number of holidays a guard had remaining for the pay year.
  • Not recognizing when guards had been given permission to carry over holiday from the previous year by the previous security company.
  • Guards unable to book holiday on the company’s holiday system (Timegate).
  • Guards being placed for months on the wrong tax code, in some cases depriving them of thousands of pounds.

For December alone, the IWGB union reported more than 30 cases where errors had been made, and there were doubtless many more errors, which were not brought to their attention. That this should occur for one month is shameful. That four months after the contract was taken over by a company that boasted of their record of low payroll issues guards should continue to be underpaid on a regular basis is unacceptable.

Indeed, given the frequency of these payroll errors for a predominantly BAME outsourced workforce versus the virtually zero rate of error for mostly white in-house staff, this constitutes indirect discrimination.

It should be re-iterated that we (with cleaners and caterers) are the lowest paid staff in the University – one missed or reduced wage packet can lead to direct debits bouncing, mortgage payments failing and overdraft charges being incurred. It is a scandal that this has been allowed to occur with nothing more than a shrug of the shoulders from UCL.

4. Failure to communicate

Since taking over the contract, the communication from Axis has been extremely poor. Some key examples of this are:

  • Failure to remedy mistakes. Despite the fact that they must have realised that they did not have the correct holiday information for any of their guards (see above) Axis made no effort to contact them. When the IWGB flagged this up, they then promised to send a letter to all staff to elicit the relevant missing information. No such letter was sent – and when challenged on this Axis first lied and claimed it had been, and then when confronted with the truth said they had email ‘some’ of their staff.
  • Lack of response. Axis managers often do not reply to or even acknowledge emails. Staff were constantly being told another manager is dealing with a problem, or that they need to talk to head office, who then passes them back to a site manager. Now they have one manager to deal with problems, but it took too long to appoint and communicate this to the guards.
  • Passing the blame. First of all they blamed CIS, the previous security company, saying that they had not supplied the information they were required to supply, or that it was just inaccurate. They seemed to suggest that the very guards who they were failing to pay properly were LYING about having supplied information to them and about the details of the holiday entitlement. They hinted that individual CIS managers, some of whom themselves were TUPE’d over to Axis, were taking actions designed to sabotage the handover. This is very subjective, but they seemed, at times, to suggest that UCL had not told them everything they should have been told before tendering for the contract.
  • Failure to honour promises. At and IWGB meeting on 9 January with Mark West and Lesley May we asked Mark and Lesley to request Axis send a written apology to each guard’s home address, as a first step in winning back the guard’s confidence in Axis. They promised this would happen. We assume Mark and Lesley relayed our request. A letter was sent, but it did not contain anything we believe could pass as an apology. Finally an email containing an apology was sent – on the 5 February, nearly a month later.

5. Failure to provide uniform

Despite the contract having been in place for more than 4 months, many security guards at UCL are still without proper uniforms. Some guards are still wearing CIS uniforms, while others have had to purchase their own garments have been issued with inappropriate items for their gender. This has been flagged up by guards on many occasions but without resolution.

6. Worst terms and conditions of security staff in the whole of Bloomsbury

The terms and conditions under which security at UCL work are a disgrace to the institution. Security are the lowest paid staff (along with cleaners and caterers) and work extremely long hours. We do not have work related pensions (only have the Statutory Enrolment Pensions).

Unlike outsourced security in other Bloomsbury universities, UCL guards receive only the statutory minimum 28 holidays (in-house staff get 41), and just 4 weeks company sick pay (in-house staff get 6 months full and 6 months half-pay). In addition many security guards (working 3 on 3 off etc) are only receiving 22 days holiday, not 28.

There are no additional payments for overtime, whether that be at weekends or nights.In addition, staff are forced to stand outside without relief for huge stretches of the day, and breaks are frequently missed or delayed.

While Axis have failed to resolve these issues, it is at least fair to say that many of them pre-date them. The issue here lies with the very nature of outsourcing itself, which is a cruel, inhuman and discriminatory way for a supposedly progressive institution like UCL to avoid its responsibilities to its most vital workers.

As a consequence, we would contend that although Axis are demonstrably unfit to run this contract, these problems would exist to a greater or lesser extent under any outsourcing company (under CIS payroll problems were rife, as was the rapid turnover of managerial staff which continues to hamper efforts to run a competent service).

UCL therefore does not just need to cancel this particular contract (re which, if the above evidence is not enough, the IWGB can provide copious detail on Axis’ failings and incompetence) but to end the process of contracting out entirely, and restore security to their rightful place as UCL employees, with the humane treatment and decent terms and conditions this implies.

We are calling on you too make this decision as soon as possible – before UCL’s reputation is permanently tarnished before the wider world and its security staff lose their patience entirely.

Best wishes,

Your security guards

University of London contractor delays paying staff the London living wage —

University of London contractor delays paying staff the London living wage

In December 2018, a group of city investors wrote to listed firms urging them to pay all employees a living wage, which in London is £10.55 and hour.

Coordinated by the Share Action campaign group, the letter pointed out that “paying the living wage to all staff and contractors is the hallmark of a responsible business.”

What pity that Nurture, the gardening outsourced company contracted to look after the University of London’s (UoL) grounds at Senate House, doesn’t buy into that “responsible business” sentiment.

The living wage is a powerful weapon against poverty. Yet, nearly four months after the London Mayor announced a new London Living Wage of £10.55 per hour (an increase of 35p per hour) some of the staff employed by Nurture are still being paid at the old rate.

Hopefully that will change now that the secretary of the UoL branch of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has sent the company a gentle reminder (see below).

Dear Greg

It has been brought to my attention that some staff employed by Nurture on the University of London contract are being paid below the London Living Wage (LLW) rate of £10.55 an hour.

As you are aware, Nurture is obliged under the terms of its contract to pay the LLW as a minimum.

Can you confirm that this will be corrected with immediate effect, and back-dated to November?

Best wishes,

Damning report into outsourcing at University of London released today — March 8, 2019

Damning report into outsourcing at University of London released today

World renowned research NGO Corporate Watch has today released a damning report into the University of London’s outsourcing plans.

Outsourced workers at the University of London have been campaigning for an end to outsourcing since September 2017. Despite countless strikes, protests and a boycott of the university which was launched last year, the university has only agreed to bring in-house around 35 of a total of more than 250 outsourced workers that work at its premises.

The Corporate Watch report found that: 

  • the university has substantial cash reserves, with £45 million in the bank. 
  • financial problems used by management to argue against in-housing have been a direct result of their own expansion strategy. 
  • many of the staff at the consultancy chosen to review the costs of in-housing used to work for outsourcing companies.
  • The University of London has refused our Freedom of Information request for a copy of that review. Similar reviews by other universities found in-housing would not be significantly more expensive.

The report can be found here

For more information:

Emiliano Mellino, press officer



La reunión general anual de la Rama Universidad de Londres de este año tendrá lugar el sábado 27 de abril, ¡y todos los miembros están invitados!

Esta es una oportunidad de escuchar todo lo que la sucursal ha hecho en el último año (¡cuando hemos crecido a más de 600 miembros!), Elegir a los oficiales para el próximo año y comer algunas empañadas …

Todos los detalles para seguir, ¡pero por favor póngalos en el diario ahora!

Cualquier pregunta a



This year’s University of London Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday 27 April, and all members are invited!

This is your chance to hear about everything the branch has done in the last year (when we have grown to over 600 members!), elect officers for the next year and eat some empañadas…

Full details to follow – but please put in the diary now!

Any questions to

No to the fingerprint! Joint letter of protest from UCU and IWGB —

No to the fingerprint! Joint letter of protest from UCU and IWGB

The IWGB and UCL UCU have written jointly to Sodexo and UCL in protest at their plans to introduce biometric testing for cleaners at UCL – full letter below!

We are writing in response to the announcement by Sodexo that the company plans to introduce a Time Management System using biometric technology for cleaners employed on the UCL contract.

Both we and the affected workers (many of whom are members of the IWGB union) believe that this proposal is ill-considered, discriminatory and likely to be in breach of the Biometrics Institute’s2017 Biometric Privacy Guidelines, as well as the UK’s 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) with regard to the principle of proportionality.

These workers are already the most heavily scrutinised in the University. They have passes in order to clock in and out, as well as a signing in book, and their supervisors control their entry to and exit from work. The introduction of additional monitoring systems is out of step with contemporary practice in relation to cleaning jobs in buildings of this type, and therefore excessive.

We are therefore calling on Sodexo and UCL to halt the implementation process immediately, and to provide answers to the following questions:

1)      Why is this system being introduced for cleaners, but not for any other group of staff working at UCL?

2)      Why is it being introduced at UCL and not at other comparable institutions (indeed, plans for a similar system at Birkbeck were recently abandoned)?

3)      Given the disproportionate number of BAME staff working on the cleaning contract, has an Equality Impact Assessment been conducted to ensure that these plans are not in breach of the Equalities Act 2010?

4)      Can Sodexo please provide references to their own policies to show that they have addressed the following guidelines as laid out in the 2017 Biometric Privacy Guidelines?

i)        Principle 1 Respect for Individuals/Data Subject Privacy

ii)       Principle 2 Proportionality

iii)     Principle 3 Informed Consent

iv)     Principle 4 Truth and Accuracy in Business Operations

v)      Principle 5 Protection of Biometric Data Collected

vi)     Principle 6 Complaints and Enquiries

vii)   Principle 7 Purpose

viii)  Principle 8 Non Discrimination

ix)     Principle 9 Accountability

x)      Principle 10 Sharing of Biometric Data

xi)     Principle 11 Provision of Advance Warnings of Surveillance

xii)   Principle 12 Transmission of Biometric Data Beyond National Boundaries

xiii)  Principle 13 Employee Biometric Data Must be Protected

xiv) Principle 14 Limit the Extent of Personal Data Exchanged and Retained

xv)   Principle 15 Maintain a Strong Privacy Environment

xvi) Principle 16 Maintain Privacy Logs

5)      If the Biometrics Institute Privacy Guidelines have not been incorporated into the policy, could  Sodexo please send a copy of the relevant Privacy Impact Assessment that has been carried out in relation to the proposed implementation?

The IWGB and UCU are extremely concerned both at these plans and at the way they are being implemented with little consultation or consideration for the privacy rights of our colleagues. If this is not halted then we will be passing the matter to our respective legal departments and considering a representation to the Information Commissioner., especially in relation to any areas of GDPR-related non-compliance.

A failure on the part of Sodexo to address our concerns within 10 working days will leave us no option but to alert all UCL staff and students to this inconsiderate and disproportionate approach to the privacy rights of the most vulnerable and low-paid of our colleagues on campus.

Yours sincerely

Maritza Castillo Calle (President UoL IWGB)
Danny Millum (Branch Secretary UoL IWGB)
Sean Wallis (President UCL UCU)
Saladin Meckled-Garcia (Vice President UCL UCU)
Tony Brown (Branch Secretary UCL UCU)

Caroline Lucas joins the Senate House Boycott —

Caroline Lucas joins the Senate House Boycott

Caroline Lucas, Green Party joint leader and Brighton Pavilion MP, has joined the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain’s (IWGB) Senate House boycott.

In a statement she said: ‘I strongly support the action being taken by the UoL workers – it is completely wrong that they are subject to worse terms and conditions than directly employed workers. Like you, I am deeply concerned about fundamental changes in our labour market in recent decades, including the spread of outsourcing by public bodies: well-paid jobs on permanent contracts have dwindled, while bogus self-employment, zero-hours contracts, and low pay are rife.

‘With wage growth stalled, the high employment rate masks the insecurity faced by huge numbers of workers. So I am very happy to join my Green Party colleagues Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley in supporting the boycott.’

Migration is not a crime. End the hostile environment — March 3, 2019

Migration is not a crime. End the hostile environment

SOAS Unison, the University and College Union (UCU) and Stand Up to Racism, have come together to host a meeting calling for politicians and the media to end the demonisation of migrants and refugees. 

Taking place in London on 14 March in the Torrington Square headquarters of SOAS, the public event will discuss why migration is not a crime, and how we can put an end the ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy introduced by Theresa May when she was home secretary. 

The Windrush scandal highlighted by the Guardian’s investigative journalists has revealed the inhumanity of our government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy. Yet, despite the damage, including death, it has caused to thousands of British citizens from the ‘Windrush generation’, the prime minister has steadfastly refused to apologise for putting it in place. 

Detention and deportations are destroying the lives of people that are part of the fabric of our society, and thousands of refugees remain stranded in northern France. Moreover, in the turmoil of Brexit, Theresa May is using the rights of migrants as a bargaining chip.

Added to this, Islamophobic hate crime is continuing to grow, with Muslim women at the sharp end. And there has been a major resurgence of antisemitism across Europe with France reporting a 74 per cent increase in the number of offences against Jews last year and Germany pointing to a surge of more than 60 per cent.

From Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Marine Le Pen in France, to the right wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and Austria’s anti-immigration Freedom party (FPO), racists and fascists are moving off the political margins to centre stage. The threat is huge, but together we can turn the tide. 

Speakers include Melanie Strickland, one of the ‘Stanstead 15’ anti-deportation activists who were convicted of a terrorism-related offence for chaining themselves around an immigration removal flight at Stanstead airport, Paru Raman, SOAS Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, and Naima Omar, Stand Up to Racism.

Come along to the Wolfson Lecture Theatre, SOAS, Torrington Square, London WC1H 0XG (Paul Webley Wing, Senate House North Block), 14 March, 7pm, and join in the discussion. It takes place in the run up to the national United Against Fascism and Racism demonstration which is on the following Saturday, 16 March.


Migration is not a crime: end the hostile environment, 7pm, 14 March, SOAS, Torrington Square, London WC1H 0XG (Paul Webley Wing, north block, Senate House )

National anti-racism demonstration, 16 March. Assemble 12 noon, Park Lane London W1, near Dorchester hotel (nearest tube Hyde Park Corner). March to Whitehall

Landmark outsourcing protest strikes a chord with the world’s media — February 27, 2019

Landmark outsourcing protest strikes a chord with the world’s media

Yesterday (26 February) hundreds of London’s outsourced workers, including cleaners, security and catering staff, walked out in the latest in a series of strikes over pay and conditions.

Coming together in a show of solidarity, they timed their protest to mark what the Guardian describes as a “landmark case on collective bargaining that could empower the UK’s 3.3 million outsourced workers to negotiate directly with their de-facto employers – the companies buying the outsourced services – as well as their direct employers.”

Starting from Senate House, home to the University of London’s administrative offices, members of unions including the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), United Voices of the World (UVW), and PCS, marched through central London. University of London students and the RMT union’s London Regional Council supported them.

Each group of workers had their own particular grievances, but what they all had in common was the desire to end the “discrimination between those who count and those who don’t count at all,” as eloquently voiced by IWGB member, Emma Margarita Cunalata.

Speaking in front of Winston Churchill’s statue opposite the Houses of Parliament she said, “We have the right to earn money, and to the profits that are taken from us. We have the right to a better life.”

Their employers might have chosen to turn a deaf ear to their pleas to clean up outsourcing, but the UK’s media organisations were listening.

More than 15 national and regional publications such as the Financial Times, the Press and Journal, The Times and the iNews, covered the walkout.

Others include:

UoL proposes new transfer date for Health Education England staff — February 22, 2019

UoL proposes new transfer date for Health Education England staff

The University of London (UoL) has confirmed that the transfer date for employees currently working for Health Education England (HEE) under UoL contracts, is 1 August 2019. 

This decision was apparently made following “an exchange between the vice-chancellor and HEE”, the content of which IWGB has asked to see.

Many of the union’s in-depth legal and financial questions remain unanswered, and its representatives will continue to pursue these as well as explore possibilities of legal action relating to the process.

We will of course keep you posted as to developments.

IWGB launches activities centre for Spanish speakers — February 19, 2019

IWGB launches activities centre for Spanish speakers

The big launch of the IWGB union’s activities centre for Spanish speakers was carried out with great success this Saturday (18 February), which included, employment law workshop, Brexit, legal clinic, language exchange and bingo.

Thanks to all the people who attended the event to get informed, and share a moment of companionship, and fun.

These events will take place every two weeks on Saturdays at Elephant and Castle, which include legal clinics of employment rights and language exchange. The next event will take place on 2nd March from 12.30–3pm to which everyone is invited.

During the week, we will be giving more detailed information about the workshops and the topics to be given.

Details from: 


Con gran éxito se llevo a cabo el lanzamiento del centro de actividades para hispano hablantes del sindicato IWGB este dia sabado, el cual incluyo taller de leyes laborales, salida del Reino Unido de la Union Europea (Brexit), clinica legal, intercambio de lenguaje y bingo.

Gracias a todas las personas que asistieron al evento para informarse y compartir un momento de compañerismo y diversión .

Los eventos tendran lugar cada dos semanas los dias sabados en Elephant and Castle, los cuales incluyen clinicas legales de leyes laborales he intercamibio de lenguaje.
El proximo evento tendra lugar el proximo sabado 2 de marzo de 12:30 – 3pm al cual todos estan invitados..

Durante la semana estaremos dando información mas detallada acerca de los talleres y temas a tratarse.

Details from:

Trade unions join forces to ‘clean up outsourcing’ —

Trade unions join forces to ‘clean up outsourcing’

For the first time in UK history, a coalition of unions are coming together in a day of action against outsourcing. The demonstration will take place on 26 February, with marchers starting out at 8am from Senate House, the University of London’s Bloomsbury headquarters.

Outsourcing is one of the underhanded methods used by bosses for decades to drive down our employment conditions. By using middlemen in the form of outsourcing companies, employers are able to offer some workers far worse pay, holiday entitlements, sick pay and pension contributions. 

But the abuse doesn’t stop there. The unaccountable nature of outsourcing companies means workers employed by them are much more likely to suffer from bullying and discrimination.

But we are fighting back. For the last few years outsourced workers have been doing what many thought impossible – organising and winning better rights at work. Now we are coming together for the first joint day of action against outsourcing.

The demonstration will coincide with the day the IWGB is facing the government and the University of London in a landmark case that turn outsourcing on its head.

If successful, the case could open the door for the UK’s 3.3 million outsourced workers to skip the middleman and negotiate directly with their de-facto employer, making it the greatest expansion of employment rights for UK workers in a generation.

This landmark national demo against outsourcing is organised by, IWGB, United Voices of the World, Public and Commercial Services BEIS Branch, and the Bakerloo and Finsbury Park branches of the Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers Union.

Axis and Unison team up to block IWGB recognition request at UCL —

Axis and Unison team up to block IWGB recognition request at UCL

Despite the IWGB being by far the largest and most active union among security guards at UCL, the security contractor Axis has chosen to thwart our formal bid for recognition by choosing to voluntarily recognise Unison instead.

As Axis are well aware, the IWGB is the largest union among the UCL security bargaining unit, and has consistently flagged up issues on behalf of those members since the company took over the contract.

Indeed, UCL’s Security Manager admitted when the IWGB met him to discuss the innumerable problems with officers’ holidays and pay under Axis that the IWGB had raised around 30 cases, while Unison had raised just one.

It is thus quite clear that Axis have entered into this voluntary recognition agreement simply to block the IWGB’s application. Had they genuinely wished to engage with their workforce, they would of course have chosen to deal with the union actually representing those workers.

It is an indication of the contempt in which Axis holds its employees that it believes that they will not see through this transparent attempt too substitute a management-approved union for the real thing.

The IWGB in reply has written to Axis stating that it is not up to decide what union workers belong to and choose to represent them, and that we will continue to represent members, raise issues with Axis management, and resolve them if necessary via the appropriate legal steps. In addition, we will continue to publicise Axis’s failings, both to the UCL community and to the wider world.

We added that the IWGB has never been recognised in any University workplace – and this has not stopped us from waging and winning multiple campaigns for the improvement of workers’ rights – most recently at Senate House where the first tranche of our members are about to be brought in-house. Oh – and check out Goldsmith’s security guards as well (

Hasta la victoria siempre!

IWGB organiser workshops — February 15, 2019

IWGB organiser workshops

We are organising two day-long trainings in London for IWGB members and volunteers on 2nd March (40 spaces), and 16th March (20 spaces).

We will cover lots of campaigning-related topics:

• organising  
• recruitment 
• dealing with the press
• effective social media 
• effective protesting IWGB-style

RSVP is essential to book you and your reps places, by replying to this email – – and to get times and location details etc.


Hola a tod@s,  estoy organizando dos días de training en Londres para los miembros y voluntarios de IWGB el:

  • Sábado 2 de marzo (40 plazas)
  • Sábado 16 de marzo (20 plazas)

Hablaremos sobre muchos temas relacionados con campañas:

  • organizar
  • reclutar
  • lidiar con la prensa
  • uso eficiente de las redes
  • protestas efectivas al estilo IWGB

Para reservar plazas para ti y tus reps y obtener las horas y detalles de la localización etc. solo necesitáis responder al email ( ).



What do Goldsmiths security officers want most? To be treated fairly and with dignity and respect — February 13, 2019

What do Goldsmiths security officers want most? To be treated fairly and with dignity and respect

Security officers at Goldsmiths, University of London are tired of their second-class treatment. As outsourced workers managed by CIS, they do not enjoy equal treatment and the same terms and conditions as the university colleagues they protect and defend every day.

They want to be treated with dignity and respect, and are taking action over inadequate holiday pay, sick pay and derisory pensions by launching a campaign to be brought back in house immediately. As part of this campaign, they are holding a protest on Valentine’s Day at Goldsmiths HQ, 8 Lewisham Way, London SE14 6NW, 12–2.30pm.

So, come on Goldsmiths; do not continue to keep these men and women who serve you loyally at arms-length. Why don’t you just  Listen to what your security officers and students have to say.

You pride yourself on being a ‘close-knit community’ with a ‘special commitment to our local communities within south-east London’. Don’t you think it is time to end your dirty affair with CIS and show some love for your security officers?

IWGB offers negotiations to break boycott deadlock at University of London — February 8, 2019

IWGB offers negotiations to break boycott deadlock at University of London

Dear Professor Kopelman,

I am writing you on behalf of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), the union which represents the majority of the University of London’s outsourced workers, to once again offer negotiations as a way out of the current crisis. But first, a little context.

In the Spring of 2011, as a University of London postgrad student, I started working with UoL cleaners. At the time they earned just a hare above the minimum wage (then £5.90 per hour), had the statutory minimum of holidays, statutory sick pay, and no company pensions. They were not unionised and the contractor at the time, Balfour Beatty Workplace, had no regard for even the basics of employment law. Cleaners and porters went months without payment of wages sometimes, abuse was rife and maltreatment the norm. These are the effects of outsourcing.

In addition to setting up English classes to try and help provide a route out of the dire circumstances of being a University of London cleaner, we also initiated a massive recruitment drive to UNISON and launched a London Living Wage campaign. After a wildcat strike and some protests the UoL agreed to implement the London Living Wage and Balfour Beatty recognised UNISON for the purposes of collective bargaining. It was industrial action and campaigning which achieved these results.

In September 2012, still in UNISON, we launched the 3 Cosas Campaign, in order to achieve the same sick pay, holidays, and pensions for outsourced workers as enjoyed by their directly employed colleagues. For while the London Living Wage represented a massive improvement in pay, their terms and conditions still effectively compelled them to work sick or injured, made it difficult for them to visit family in their home countries, and obliged them to retire into poverty. Before launching the 3 Cosas Campaign I wrote to your predecessor offering negotiations, which were rejected.

Unfortunately, during the 3 Cosas Campaign it became clear that the UNISON officials in charge of the branch and London Region had no interest in supporting the outsourced workers. We therefore ran a slate of pro-campaign candidates in local branch elections, only to have the elections invalidated on absurd technicalities. To this day the results have not been released. It is for these reasons that we left UNISON en masse and formed the University of London branch of the IWGB.

Despite the fact that virtually all of the outsourced workers left UNISON to join the IWGB, it has been the firm policy of both the University of London and its contractors since that time to only negotiate with UNISON. In addition to the fact that negotiating with an entity which has not authority to represent the workers and no say over the campaigns is utterly futile, the UoL’s decision to negotiate with the union the workers have chosen to leave in disgust is deeply offensive to these workers.

After over a year of high profile campaigning, involving multiple protests, videos, social media activity, an email writing campaign to your predecessor, and industrial action, at the end of November, 2013 the University and its contractor announced improved sick pay, holidays, and pensions for Balfour Beatty workers. The terms were still not as good as UoL direct employees but were definitely a major improvement on the abysmal conditions prevailing at the time. Once again, this episode demonstrated that it was public pressure and campaigning which led to an improvement in the working lives and dignity of UoL outsourced workers.

But the problem has not been solved. The outsourced workers still work under inferior terms as compared to directly employed colleagues, not just in terms of sick pay, holidays, and pensions, but also in terms of maternity pay and more. Importantly, the outsourced workers suffer a far inferior treatment from management compared to direct employees. The administrative incompetence and incapable management of the outsourcing companies causes immense hardship for your outsourced workers. Pay problems, abusive management, unreasonableness, and incompetence are the defining features of outsourcing at UoL, not mere aberrations. There is no justifiable reason why the predominantly low paid and BME outsourced workforce at UoL should be continuously treated worse than, and have inferior terms and conditions compared to, the better paid, predominantly white British direct employees of the University. It is for all of these reasons that we launched the Back in House campaign in September 2017.

Throughout the duration of this campaign we have had an outstanding offer of negotiations. Indeed, I personally have written to you on more than one occasion offering to negotiate. It is the University’s refusal to negotiate, and its dogged dedication to only engaging with the recognised unions, which has led us to escalate campaign pressure. And thus we find ourselves in the midst of the Senate House Boycott, supported by hundreds, including a number of MPs and political leaders. The Boycott has led to numerous event cancellations and lost revenue for the University and has caused irreparable reputational damage.

Unlike other campaign tactics which can fizzle out without constant injections or resource and energy, the Boycott simply grows with time and becomes self-propelling; the more people cancel events, the more pressure there is for others to do the same. The Boycott is not being waged out of malice or out of desire to harm the UoL; the Boycott is the culmination of eight years of struggle for dignity and decent working conditions on the part of the workers and an obstinate refusal to engage in dialogue on the part of the University. The thing you need to understand is that just as you have a responsibility to safeguard the finances, sound management, and reputation of the University, we have a responsibility to assist our members in achieving respect, dignity, equal treatment, and decent working conditions. In the absence of dialogue and negotiation, campaign tactics are simply the most expeditious method of achieving these results.

Having set the context, I therefore reiterate my offer to talk. The University of London is unique in its refusal to negotiate; indeed the IWGB has engaged in dialogue, debate or negotiation with senior Uber executives, Matthew Taylor, directors of courier companies and a range of other employers.Especially when taking into account the IWGB’s unimpugnable claim to be the representative voice of UoL outsourced workers, the UoL’s position is all the more surprising. But it’s not too late to changecourse. If you agree to negotiate we will send a delegation of IWGB officials, comprised of both full time officers and outsourced worker reps, chosen by us, and we will sit down with you in good faith to see if we can find a negotiated way out of the current crisis.

The choice is yours.

Kind regards,

Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee

General Secretary IWGB

Want to learn for free? Find out what’s on offer at our weekly Spanish classes — February 5, 2019

Want to learn for free? Find out what’s on offer at our weekly Spanish classes

Hola a todos

I have found a new teacher for the lunchtime Spanish classes! Julio from the library, who some of you may know, has ‘volunteered’ to help out.

We will be starting again on 14 February at 12.30pm in the lower mezzanine room, 3rd floor, Institute of Historical Research.

Please do let me know if you can make it so I can give Julio an idea of numbers.

Hasta luego!


26 February – Joint Employer case against the University of London comes to court! — January 30, 2019

26 February – Joint Employer case against the University of London comes to court!

On 26 Feb our Joint Employer case against the University of London comes to court! If we win it will not just be the outsourced workers at the University that benefit, but the 3.3m outsourced workers across the U.K. currently denied the opportunity to bargain directly with the employer that really determines their terms and conditions. So it’s a biggie!

To mark the day we are teaming up with a bunch of other unions to march against outsourcing – please make sure to join us!


Relief for HEE staff as IWGB pressure helps postpone TUPE — January 23, 2019

Relief for HEE staff as IWGB pressure helps postpone TUPE

The University of London have confirmed to the ICE Forum that plans to TUPE all employees currently working for Health Education England under UoL contracts have been postponed.

IWGB reps on the Forum had been vociferous in their opposition to the plans, opposed by the majority of staff, and had tabled over 30 in-depth and largely unanswered legal and financial questions relating to the process.

The IWGB wanted the whole process scrapped, whereas the University’s position now is that it has been paused and will be returned to at an as-yet-unspecified date.

We will of course keep you posted as to developments – any questions do drop us a line at!

IWGB launches in-house campaign for security guards at Goldsmiths — January 15, 2019

IWGB launches in-house campaign for security guards at Goldsmiths

Outsourced security guards at Goldsmiths, University of London have won the backing of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which has today launched its campaign to bring them in-house with a letter to the university setting out its demands and next steps.

Dear Patrick Loughrey

I am writing to you in my capacity as President of the Independent Workers’ Union of GreatBritain (IWGB) on behalf of the security guards who are currently outsourced to CIS Limited at Goldsmiths University.

As you are aware, these outsourced workers have far inferior terms and conditions in comparison to directly employed members of staff at Goldsmiths, being treated as second class workers despite providing a vital and important job to without which the University could not function. The only way to end this injustice is to bring these outsourced staff back in house so that they benefit from the same payroll and HR departments, the same maternity and paternity pay, the same pensions, sick pay, and holidays, and the same standards of management as in-house employees.

This type of security, decency, and fairness will not be found by using the incompetent contractors you routinely use. We therefore call on Goldsmiths to take immediate action and bring the security guards in house by no later than 1 February 2019. If the workers are not brought in house by this date, the workers at Goldsmiths are prepared to wage a high profile “Goldsmiths Back In House Campaign”. These workers will have the full support ofthe IWGB in this campaign.

We of course remain open to dialogue and negotiations on these matters. However, given past examples where institutions like Goldsmiths have chosen the masochistic path todefeat by ignoring the workers’ demands until they had exerted enough public pressure toforce them into humiliating backpedaling and concessions, we can only assume you will do the same. So let me take this opportunity to be perfectly clear about what will follow should you choose to ignore these reasonable demands:

  • We will build support for the campaign among other trade unions, politicians, NGO’s and other organisations. Indeed you can expect public letters from a number of them right after the given deadline calling on you to accept the workers’ demands.
  • We will publicise on social media the ills of outsourcing and the stories of the workers who suffer the consequences of insufficient holiday, sick pay, paternity and maternity pay.
  • We will make and distribute videos where workers and supporters articulate the exploitation of being outsourced at Goldsmiths University.
  • We will be contacting the press to tell them about the two tier workforce at Goldsmiths University, where predominantly BAME migrant workers are on one set of terms and conditions and work without the respect of the University, and another set of predominantly white British workers operate in the same building but a different world.
  • We will be holding loud and disruptive protests. Indeed the first one will be scheduledright after the given deadline if we don’t have a positive response, which should see a few hundred people outside Goldsmiths.
  • The outsourced workers are ready to go on strike over their various demands if needed.
  • We will be flyering Goldsmiths University events to inform the public of the University’s exploitative practices.
  • Write to Goldsmiths donors and famous alumni to inform them of the exploitative working conditions of outsourced workers at the university and highlight the fact that the people who keep the university secure are exploited and treated like second class workers.

You and your colleagues may or may not be familiar with the IWGB and the campaigns this union has waged and is currently waging. However lest you have any doubts about the union’s track record on waging and winning campaigns, it might be worth your while to peruse the union’s website, the current campaign at the University of London at Senate House, including the current boycott, and the history and press coverage of the 3 Cosas Campaign at the University of London ( reports/).

In closing, I would advise that Goldsmiths not question the determination of the IWGB to achieve justice in this matter. There is nothing that the union treats with more seriousness and urgency than achieving improved wages, terms, and conditions for its members.

The workers at Goldsmiths University and the IWGB more generally look forward to receiving your response.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Kind regards,

Henry Chango Lopez

EU settlement scheme —

EU settlement scheme

As the UK prepares to leave the European Union many higher education institutions are showing their commitment to staff by confirming they will pay the settlement fees of all EU employees wanting to stay in the UK after Brexit. In a letter to the University of London’s director of HR services, the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain call for the university to follow suit.    Continue reading

New job opportunity: caseworker (maternity leave cover) — January 4, 2019

New job opportunity: caseworker (maternity leave cover)

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is currently looking for a new caseworker to work from its London office for £11.55 per hour, with hours yet to be discussed. The position will be temporary to cover a staff members’ maternity leave. Therefore, the person should be able to start in mid to late January and end on 14 June.

The role

The main responsibilities of the post are to:

  • manage a varied caseload, chiefly of disciplinaries, grievances, and deduction of wages claims, but also entering into other areas of law as required by the diverse and changing membership (e.g. licensing issues for private hire drivers)
  • assist with preparation of tribunal cases (and may develop into running such cases) help to maintain the smooth operation of the IWGB legal department maintain data management processes and keep members informed while acting in accordance with their needs
  • assist the general secretary and other legal department colleagues with other tasks appropriate to the post
  • undertake any other duties appropriate to the post and help other staff maintain the smooth running of the union’s head office.

Person specification


  • Have a high level of spoken Spanish
  • Have experience of employment-related case work.
  • Grasp the IWGB’s approach and be personally committed to social justice and the improvement of working conditions.
  • Have good computer skills, including a knowledge of MS Office including Excel.
  • Have a high level of personal organisation and an ability to deal with a demanding and stressful job.
  • Be able to work independently and in a team


  • Have been an active member of a union or have knowledge of the trade union movement.

How to apply

Please email your CV and a cover letter explaining why you feel you would fit this role to Seb Flais at by no later than 12pm on 10 January.

Please also include the details of two professional references.

Health Education England (HEE) TUPE transfer proposals – report from the emergency ICE forum — January 3, 2019

Health Education England (HEE) TUPE transfer proposals – report from the emergency ICE forum

Below is an an update from the ICE forum following the emergency meeting held just before Christmas.

Attached are some answers to the questions submitted prior to the meeting, and below is the relevant section from the minutes which provides some more detail as to the proposals and their implications.

It is clear from the responses that we have had so far from the university that:

  1. many aspects of these proposals remain to be finalised
  2. the hniversity / HEE have not yet explored the option of having the government assume these HMRC liabilities
  3. these plans will have a negative impact on staff pensions
  4. these plans are being rushed (particularly in comparison with the continued delay over the FM services in-housing process) and if carried out by April, will cause massive stress and disruption for staff at the busiest time of the year

The university has asked that further questions / response are submitted by the end of the week.

The IWGB ICE reps plan to respond that until the issues referred to above are resolved, the process should be halted – but please do send us any additional questions or feedback. Bear in mind that we do not necessarily have to adhere to the university’s deadline!

HEE discussion

The ICE Forum considered the request from HEE to transfer the services currently provided by University-employed staff to HEE with effect from 1 April 2019, which required the university to release HEE from its requirement to provide 12-months’ notice to exit the Memorandum of Understanding between the University and HEE.

SC reported that HEE had formally made its request in mid-November 2018.

SC reported that a number of queries raised by Forum members had already been addressed in the confidential Briefing Note that had been circulated prior to the meeting. Any further questions should be submitted, as soon as possible, to ZM for a prompt response.

SC clarified that due diligence work would only begin in advance of the TUPE consultation, which itself had yet to start. At that time, the university would consider a number of matters, including its duty to care to staff affected and the potential implications for their pay, conditions and benefits.

SC clarified that any decision to review London weighting would not affect staff transferred to HEE. It was also reported that transferred staff would no longer be members of the Senate House Branches of UCU/Unison. However, it was understood that there was a trade union structure in place at HEE. SC clarified that staff, once transferred, would be subject to HEE’s established consultation arrangements.

SC reported that, in considering the existing arrangements between the university and HEE, it was estimated that the university would bear a net loss of £150k per year following the transfer of staff.

SC indicated that affected staff could apply for vacancies elsewhere within the university. If successful in their applications, they would remain employed by the university.

SC noted that the board of trustees, at its meeting on 28 November 2018, had agreed to delegate its authority to the vice-chancellor to respond to HEE on behalf of the university.

SC reported that the forum was being asked, at this time, to only provide any further feedback on the request to transfer staff to HEE on 1 April 2019 and that the forum’s feedback would inform the vice-chancellor in his reply to HEE in January 2019.

The forum noted the financial benefits to HEE to complete the staff transfer by

1 April 2019. However, it was suggested that the university should not be held to the timeline proposed by HEE. SC would consider the following relevant matters to inform on the reply from the vice-chancellor to HEE:

It was reported that the work of HEE was at its busiest from January to March and urged that work on the transfer of staff, which included the due diligence work and the TUPE consultation, should take place during the summer months.

TH noted that, in view of the amount of time that the university was taking to carefully consider the impact of bringing back outsourced workers, the university should also adopt a similar approach to this matter and take as much time as it needed.


Breaking news! IWGB submits formal request for recognition on behalf of UCL security officers — January 2, 2019

Breaking news! IWGB submits formal request for recognition on behalf of UCL security officers

Happy New Year! Starting 2019 as we mean to go on, the IWGB has just banged in a recognition request to Axis, the outsourced security company at UCL. Axis currently don’t recognise any unions, but with rapid growth in membership among security officers at UCL the IWGB has now been able to submit a formal request for voluntary recognition.

Axis have 10 days to respond – they can either agree to the request or refuse it. Should they take the latter option then the IWGB would then be able to apply for statutory recognition.

Either way, we are confident that this will be our branch’s first ever recognition agreement, which will further strengthen our capacity to support our members as they fight for better terms and conditions at UCL.

For those interested in the process more details are here (, and the letter itself follows:

Dear John
This email constitutes a formal request by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain for voluntary trade union recognition under Schedule A1 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
The request is to cover the bargaining unit which consists of all Axis Security Services Limited employees employed on the University College London security management contract.
We look forward to your response.
Best wishes
Danny Millum
Branch Secretary
University of London IWGB
IWGB general secretary invites UoL vice-chancellor to join boycott — December 10, 2018

IWGB general secretary invites UoL vice-chancellor to join boycott

Dear vice-chancellor Kopelman,

I’m writing to inform you, in case you’ve missed it on Twitter, of our boycott of the University of London (UoL). The boycott, which has already garnered an incredible amount of public support, ranging from the National Union of Students to the co-leader of the Green Party, the Shadow Chancellor, and Ken Loach, will continue until such time as all outsourced workers are brought in house on equal terms and conditions to their directly employed colleagues.

Given that we are signing up academics and institutions, I’d also like to invite you to join up. You can do so here. This is a great opportunity for you to get on the right side of history.

I appreciate that this may create a logistical conundrum for you as you work at Senate House, but being the progressive and modern institution that UoL intends to be, surely it could make some working from home arrangements for you?  Further, when the dust settles on this whole thing, at least you’ll have something to fall back on lest you be accused of presiding over the worst reputational damage in the history of the institution during your very short tenure.

Going from awarding Nelson Mandela his distance degree to being boycotted by trade unions, student unions, academics, and leading figures on the British left over unfair treatment of predominantly BME workers is quite a steep fall.

Either way, there is and always has been a very easy way out of this mess: bring the workers in house now!

Kindest of regards,

Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee
General Secretary

Party on with IWGB —

Party on with IWGB

It’s that time of year again when employees up and down the country are getting into gear for the office Christmas party. Some people love the opportunity to kick loose, while others view the annual bash as an ordeal to suffer rather than celebrate.

For members of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) the festive ‘works do’ it an eagerly anticipated event – a time to glam up, let your hair down and brush off the stresses of the year at least for a few hours.

And, if every picture really does tell a story, that is exactly what happened at this year’s Christmas party. Happy holidays!

Academics, students and politicians to boycott University of London —

Academics, students and politicians to boycott University of London

More than 100 academics, politicians and others are backing a boycott of the University of London, including the iconic Senate House building, over the institution’s continued use of outsourced workers to provide essential services.

The supporters of the boycott, which include shadow chancellor John McDonnell MP, the National Union of Students and several high-profile professors, are demanding that the university end outsourcing and directly employ the outsourced workers that provide cleaning, catering, security and other services.

A full list of current signatories to the boycott will be found on the page and from Monday 10 December.

Outsourced workers at the University of London have been campaigning to be made direct employees with equal terms and conditions as other staff for over a year. These workers – who have worse sick pay, holiday pay, maternity pay and pension contributions than directly employed staff – have taken up to 15 days of strike action.

Instead of agreeing to negotiate with the workers, the majority of which are migrant and BME, the university has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on heightened security in an attempt to stave off industrial action and protests. More information here, here and here.

After initially stating that it would bring services in-house last May, the university has now gone back on its commitment, only guaranteeing that a small portion of the workforce will be made direct employees by this summer.

The bulk of outsourced workers – maintenance, cleaners and catering – will remain outsourced at least until their contracts are up for tender in 2019, 2020 and 2021. At that point an in-house bid will be presented alongside other commercial bids, leaving the door open for the workers to remain outsourced indefinitely.

In the meantime, outsourced workers continue to suffer under a regime of bullying and discrimination. In 2018, the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain handled over 50 complaints on behalf of outsourced workers a the University of London. Notably the IWGB raised a complaint in July when it discovered that a senior manager of outsourcing company Cordant was supporter of the far right.

In October, the IWGB raised a separate complaint when the university failed to act after three separate women brought complaints of sexism and homophobia against a separate Cordant manager.

London School of Economics Anthropology Professor Dr David Graeber said: “It is completely reprehensible that people that provide such an essential service continue to be treated as second class workers by the University of London. As academics who benefit from the work of the cleaners, catering staff and other outsourced workers, we have a moral duty to stand in solidarity with them and boycott the university until it ensures that they are given the same terms and conditions as other staff.”

University of London cleaner Margarita Cunalata said: “For over a year, we have been asking the university to respect us as equal members of staff, yet it has made clear that it sees us as less than human. We have sent letters, we have been on protests and we have gone on strike, but the university doesn’t even have the basic decency to sit down with us and negotiate. We are tremendously grateful that academics are willing to support our fight by boycotting the university until it makes us direct employees.”

Kings College London Lecturer Nick Srnick said: “At a time when university Vice Chancellor pay is surging across the country, it is an outrage that the least well-off workers of the university continue to face a situation of hyper-exploitation and abuse. Yet there’s an easy solution to immediately improve the lives of the workers that keep the university running: join numerous other universities in bringing them back in-house and paying them a decent wage.”

The boycott asks supporters to not attend or organise events at the University of London central administration, which besides Senate House includes Stewart House, The School of Advanced Studies, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Student Central (formerly ULU).

Events make up a significant proportion of the university’s income. According to its latest financial report, the University of London made GBP 43m from residences, catering and conferences in the year ending July 2018.

IWGB announces Brexit position — November 27, 2018

IWGB announces Brexit position

Following our discussion at the September branch meeting on Brexit, the motion was passed by the IWGB Executive Committee – see below for a letter from our general secretary:

Dear Members,
I’m writing to inform you of our position on Brexit, which we will be announcing publicly.  Before the referendum the IWGB had a policy to support Remain, mainly due to concern over our large contingent of membership working in the UK on EU passports and due to concerns over the impact of Brexit on EU-derived employment law.  There are four key areas where Brexit, in particular a hard Brexit, is likely to have detrimental impacts on the IWGB and our members:
1. Immigration. Nearly all of the Cleaners and Facilities Branch members are here on EU passports.  A huge proportion of the University of London Branch members are as well.  Some members in all of the other branches, including Couriers and UPHD, will be too.  And 50% of our staff are here on EU passports.  Restrictions on free movement could make it harder for them to bring family members over, or depending on the type of Brexit, hard for them even to stay in this country.  Further, the environment and discourse around immigration has become increasingly toxic, with Brexit greatly contributing to this toxicity.
2. Employment law. A large number of employment rights are derived from EU law.  The importance of EU law is that: (i) in some cases it introduces rights which didn’t previously exist in the UK (e.g. paid holidays), (ii) the law is ultimately interpreted by an EU court which on the whole is more progressive and pro-worker than UK courts, and (iii) EU law in effect supersedes domestic law, so the Tories are unable to shred employment rights that come from the EU, even with a supermajority.  The IWGB relies on EU law rights to defend members on a daily basis, e.g. paid holidays, protection from discrimination, TUPE, etc.  EU law also forms a central plank to various branches’ legal strategies, e.g. the ICE regulations which are used in UoL branch.  Further, the foster care branches’ current legal strategy is largely dependent on EU law superseding UK law.
3. Economy.  There is a virtual consensus among economists that a hard Brexit will result in an economic shock and a big decrease in government revenues.  We know from past experience that those who bear the biggest brunt of any economic shock and cuts in government spending are low-paid workers, e.g. our members, who have already had to struggle against the austerity agenda.  This will inevitably be the same with any negative economic impact from Brexit.  
4. Inability of Government to get anything done.  Brexit is all consuming and Parliament is hard pressed to focus on anything that isn’t Brexit-related.  This is particularly the case when Parliament and the current government are focusing on creating a new arrangement rather than choosing an off-the-shelf option such as remaining in the single market and adopting EU law into UK law, which would require much less change.  The IWGB needs Parliament to be able to engage with non-Brexit issues, e.g. a central plank of the foster care strategy is to get Parliament to pass legislation regulating the industry.  Similarly, we are calling on legislation on behalf of UPHD branch to give more powers to licensing bodies in particular to cap private hire driver license numbers.
The trade union movement is becoming increasingly vocal on these issues.  The TUC has called for a soft Brexit and a referendum on the final deal if it looks like the deal won’t be in the interests of workers, GMB has called for a referendum on the final deal, UNITE has left open the option of another referendum, etc.  Although the IWGB is not a big player, we are of the size and profile to have an influence on certain sections of the public.  Therefore, our taking a position could contribute, in albeit a small way, to a concrete result which (as outlined above) would directly benefit our members.  
For these reasons the IWGB Executive Committee voted overwhelmingly to adopt the following position:

1.       The people should be given a vote on the final Brexit deal.

2.       Failing the above, Brexit should take the softest possible form, in particular by remaining in the single market with the institution’s protections for free movement and by incorporation of EU-derived employment law.

To help make our case we have made this video:, which we will be pushing on social media tomorrow.  I have also written an article for the Guardian on the employment law aspects of the proposed deal.
Kind regards,
Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee
General Secretary
T: 02034907530; 02035383720
M: 07771783094

Plans to TUPE staff from University of London to Health Education England — November 22, 2018

Plans to TUPE staff from University of London to Health Education England

Dear all,

We are writing in our capacity as IWGB ICE representatives, as the ICE Forum has been sent documentation relating to the proposed TUPE transfer of all UoL staff to HEE, and we will be discussing this at the next Forum meeting, which will be taking place next Wednesday 28 November 2018.

The University has refused to allow us to release the actual documentation to affected staff, despite our objections, but it deals in essence with the email below that you have all received.

It is worth bearing in mind that on 28 September 2018 HR Director Simon Cain wrote to me that – ‘there is currently no discussion underway to transfer UoL staff to HEE’ – and yet now the University is moving with such haste that it intends to complete this transfer by 1 April 2019.

We have submitted the attached questions (HEETUPEtransferquestions) to the University / HEE for a response – but please do let us know if you have further queries you would like raising.

The key element of this move will be that staff will be forced to move from their current UoL pensions (SAUL or USS) into the less favourable NHS pension scheme.

The IWGB’s position is that that staff who have already been through a massive and traumatic restructure are now being made to pay again (this time via their pensions) for an accountancy error made at the highest levels.

Furthermore, there is no need for this to happen – UoL and HEE should be querying the VAT interpretation, especially since it in essence it represents the government taking money from itself.

The IWGB will be challenging this development in the ICE Forum – to escalate the fight then we need staff to get in touch and let us know what action they are prepared to take. If you want to fight this we will back you up all the way.

Best wishes


(on behalf of your IWGB ICE reps)


From: London and South East Communications 
Sent: 21 November 2018 15:00
To: All (London) <>
Subject: Important update message for staff on the business relationship between HEE and University of London (UoL)

Dear colleagues,

Following my communication on 7 September 2018, I am writing to provide an update on the ongoing discussions regarding the current business relationship between HEE and the University of London (UoL). As you will be aware, UoL staff currently work alongside HEE staff as part of our operations in London.

I advised you previously that, following a HMRC review, it has been established that HEE will incur a £2.1 million VAT liability as a result of the current contractual arrangement between UoL and HEE. This change of taxation creates a cost pressure which is not sustainable going forward.

HEE’s Executive Team and the London Regional Management Group have considered all options available to HEE in reducing this cost pressure and we have determined that a full transfer of the service provision is now required.

This transfer of service provision will also require a transfer of employment for staff employed by UoL under this service provision. The transfer would be performed under the protection afforded by the legislative regulations set out under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 amended 2014 (known as TUPE). Those regulations include the requirement for full consultation with affected staff.

HEE have notified colleagues at UoL of our intention to transfer the service provision and we have requested a transfer date of 1 April 2019. UoL will now undertake their governance and consultation procedures in response to our request.

HEE have also notified our recognised trade unions of the transfer and we will be continuing our discussions with trade union representatives on 28 November 2018 at the London Staff Partnership Group and the wider HEE Social Partnership Forum on 10 December 2018.

I will continue to keep you updated on this matter and I fully expect that UoL will also be communicating with their trade union partners and employees in due course.

A set of FAQ’s relating to the effects and practicalities of TUPE will also be provided.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact your line manager, trade union representative, or HR team should you have any questions at this stage.

Best wishes,


Lisa Bayliss-Pratt
Chief Nurse and Interim Regional Director for London

Health Education England
Stewart House | 32 Russell Square London | WC1B 5DN


UoL’s outsourced workers to benefit from UK living wage rise — November 17, 2018

UoL’s outsourced workers to benefit from UK living wage rise

At last some good news. The lowest paid staff at the University of London (UoL) are set for a pay increase as both Cordant Security and Cordant Cleaning, the university’s outsourcing companies, confirm they will adopt the uplift in the rate of pay set by the Living Wage Foundation on 5 November.

It means the outsourced workers struggling with the rising cost of living in London will see their pay rise to £10.55 an hour, an increase of 3.5%. For workers in the rest of the country the rate will rise 2.9% to £9 an hour.

The salary boost for Cordant’s UoL staff, which is effective from 5 November, was confirmed in an email from Guy Pakenham, Cordant Cleaning Limited’s managing director.

In his response to repeated requests for information from Danny Millum, the University of London IWGB branch secretary, Pakenham said, “I can confirm that both Cordant Security and Cordant Cleaning [will] introduce the new LLW rate from the date of announcement and it is paid on the next applicable pay rate, which in this case, falls within November for all our affected staff.”

The UK living wage pay rate is a voluntary measure adopted by more than 4,700 employers and is calculated by assessing how much workers need to meet the basic cost of living in Britain. It is £1.17 higher an hour than the statutory national minimum wage imposed by the government for those over the age of 25.

Currently £7.83 an hour for workers who are over 25, the government’s national living wage, will itself rise to £8.21 an hour from next April. For 21–24-year-olds, the current rate of £7.38 will become £7.70; and the rate for 18-20-year-olds rises from £5.90 to £6.15.



Senior research fellows urge UoL to treat all workers the same — November 16, 2018

Senior research fellows urge UoL to treat all workers the same

While the University of London’s (UoL) senior management team continue to delay providing full details of how it will bring all staff in-house and confirm that they will do so by June 2019, academics continue to show their support for its precarious workers. Below is and open letter from fellows at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies confirming their concern for the workers in view of recent revelations about managers at Cordant Services.

Jules Winterton
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
University of London
Charles Clore House
17, Russell Square
London                                                                                                                                                                                       16 November 2018

Dear Jules,

We are fellows of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) who have signed this letter in support of outsourced workers at the Institute as we believe that all staff at the Institute should be treated equally.

We support the bringing of all outsourced staff in-house as a priority.

We kindly request on behalf of these workers that the Institute provides full details of how it will seek to bring all staff in-house and confirm that it will seek to do so by June 2019.

We are especially concerned about the outsourced workers’ position in view of the recent revelations about managers in Cordant Services, the company that employs these workers. Three women workers have brought the exact same accusations of sexism and homophobia against one Cordant manager. Another manager in charge of these staff had to be moved from this role after he was found to have shared xenophobic and far-right posts on social media. Given that the many of the outsourced staff are women, migrant and BAME, we share their concerns that they cannot be assured that they will be treated in a fair and non-discriminatory way until the University of London takes direct responsibility for their employment and working conditions.

We value our association with the Institute, and wish this association to continue, and we hope to have your support in ensuring that we can continue our association with an institution where all workers are treated the same regardless of their role.

We, the undersigned,

  1. Dr Sinéad Agnew, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS (Faculty of Laws, University College London)

  2. Professor Diamond Ashiagbor, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS (Kent Law School, University of Kent)

  3. Professor Rosemary Auchmuty, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS (School of Law, University of Reading)

  4. Professor Ilias Bantekas, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS (College of Law & Public Policy, HBKU)

  5. Dr Francis Boorman, Associate Research Fellow, History of Arbitration Project, IALS

  6. Lydia Clapinska, Associate Research Fellow, IALS (Office of the Parliamentary Counsel)

  7. Clare Cowling, Associate Research Fellow and Project Director, Legal Records at Risk project, IALS

  8. Dr Richard Danbury, Associate Research Fellow, IALS

  9. Dermot Feenan, Associate Research Fellow, IALS (Law and Compassion Research Network)

  10. Professor Rosemary Hunter, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS (Kent Law School, University of Kent)

  11. Professor Harry McVea, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS (Law School, University of Bristol)

  12. Professor Sa’id Mosteshar, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS (London Institute of Space Law and Policy)

  13. Professor Derek Roebuck, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS

Protest: University of London Foundation Day (Tuesday 20 November) — November 14, 2018

Protest: University of London Foundation Day (Tuesday 20 November)

protestTuesday 20 November is the University of London’s Foundation Day, when honorary degrees approved by the Collegiate Council are presented by University Chancellor Princess Anne.

As has become an annual tradition, IWGB outsourced workers will be demonstrating outside Senate House to demand the University of London end discrimination, take direct responsibility for the employment and working conditions of outsourced workers and bring them in-house now!

Pleaase could all members and supporters try and make it down for 5.30pm next Tuesday and support our outsourced colleagues!