University of London no nearer to resolving historical asbestos issues highlighted nearly a year ago, emails reveal — November 19, 2018

University of London no nearer to resolving historical asbestos issues highlighted nearly a year ago, emails reveal

Emails show that not only is the University of London prevaricating over the issues raised in relation to the health of maintenance workers who have been exposed to asbestos, but that there are potentially more issues with areas previously declared clear.

 

From: Danny Millum <dannymillum@iwgb.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2018 at 17:00
Subject: Re: FW: John Barnett and asbestos
To: Simon Cain <Simon.Cain@london.ac.uk>
Cc: John Barnett <Johnbarnett1010@hotmail.co.uk>, Peter Kopelman <Peter.Kopelman@london.ac.uk>, Chris Cobb <Chris.Cobb@london.ac.uk>, Ghazwa Alwani-Starr <Ghazwa.Alwani-Starr@london.ac.uk>

Dear Simon,

I am writing once again with regard to the ongoing asbestos issue.

On 12 September you reassured me that:

  • The collation of historical data by a consultant is ongoing and good progress has been made.
  • The updated Asbestos Management plan will be published in the near future.

Since then I have heard nothing more. Instead, I have been informed by John today of the following email, which states:

Can you please notify all of our staff that access to the North Heating Chamber is limited by approval from Martin Prout, John Stone or John O’Donnell at this time as there is suspect materials that have been identified during the Lucien inspections in that area and until verified and treated accordingly access is restricted.  

In other words, we have still not made any progress on the historical asbestos issues on which I have been promised action since January (see email chain below) AND now it transpires that there are potentially more issues with areas previously declared clear.

To demonstrate the seriousness of the situation, John has asked me to attach his CT scan appointment – as a consequence of his condition (developed while working at the UoL for the last 30 years) he now has to attend such an appointment on a yearly basis.

Could you please as a matter of urgency provide the information promised above and confirm that a full investigation of the North Heating Chamber situation will take place?

Best wishes

Danny

 

On Wed, 26 Sep 2018 at 11:02, Danny Millum <dannymillum@iwgb.co.uk> wrote:

 

Dear Simon,

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you – John has been on jury service.

With regard to the specific points we would like raised with P&FM, we would urgently request answers to the following:

  1. Following the departure of Paul Lambert, the UoL asbestos manager, who took over his duties and responsibiities?
  2. Can we see the documentation relating to the periodic asbestos checks that should have been conducted between Paul Lambert’s departure and the re-opening of the asbestos issue in 2015-16?
  3. During this period had asbestos danger areas been identified, and were they checked? Can we see this documentation?
  4. Can we see the asbestos management reports for the period after Paul Lambert’s departure?

If you could get this information to us as soon as possible that would be much appreciated.

Best wishes

Danny

 

On Wed, 12 Sep 2018 at 17:46, Simon Cain <Simon.Cain@london.ac.uk> wrote:

Dear Danny,

Apologies as I realise that I have overlooked providing you with a response to your message below.

I have spoken to my colleagues in P&FM and understand the position regarding the work that has been completed coupled with the work being done and progress that has been made is as follows:

  • The collation of historical data by a consultant is ongoing and good progress has been made.
  • The updated Asbestos Management plan will be published in the near future.
  • Asbestos Management Surveys for the whole estate continue through our Framework Consultant and the aim is to be complete by year end 2018.

I have noted that it is important for the work to be completed as soon as possible.

It would be helpful for you to send me any specific points if any that you would like raised with P&FM and I will facilitate a response.

Best wishes,

Simon

From: Danny Millum [mailto:dannymillum@iwgb.co.uk]
Sent: 27 July 2018 16:05
To: Simon Cain <Simon.Cain@london.ac.uk>
Cc: John Barnett <Johnbarnett1010@hotmail.co.uk>
Subject: Re: FW: John Barnett and asbestos

Dear Simon,

Thanks for getting back to us – I think it would be really helpful for John and I if we could meet with you and whoever is working on this in P&FM so we can get a sense of what work is being done and what progress has been made.

If you could let us know when this might be possible that would be much appreciated.

Best wishes

Danny

On 20 July 2018 at 16:11, Simon Cain <Simon.Cain@london.ac.uk> wrote:

Dear Danny,

I have now had the opportunity to discuss these matters with colleagues in P&FM.

I am informed that they are in the process of putting together an update, which will be made available to all staff shortly.

The work to draw together the University’s Asbestos Management history continues.  Largely for the reasons given in Kim’s previous response, but also due to some resourcing challenges within the P&FM team, this work will not be completed significantly before the end of September 2018.

Best wishes,

Simon

From: Danny Millum [mailto:dannymillum@iwgb.co.uk]
Sent: 19 July 2018 08:21
To: Simon Cain <Simon.Cain@london.ac.uk>
Cc: John Barnett <Johnbarnett1010@hotmail.co.uk>
Subject: Fwd: FW: John Barnett and asbestos

Dear Simon,

Many thanks for your email – has this meeting now taken place?

I have met with John, and he would like a date by which this material will be provided.

Best wishes,

Danny

From: Simon Cain [mailto:Simon.Cain@london.ac.uk]
Sent: 13 July 2018 14:57
To: Danny Millum <
dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk>
Subject: RE: John Barnett and asbestos

Dear Danny,

Just by way of update, I have arranged a meeting next week with relevant colleagues in PFM and will come back to you substantially following that meeting.

On a related note, I will be working with Sarah on the Health referrals that I understand have been made for a number of individuals.  We received confirmation of an appointment at the Royal Brompton within the last week and I have posted this on to the individual concerned.

Best wishes,

Simon

From: Danny Millum [mailto:dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk]
Sent: 08 July 2018 17:50
To: Simon Cain <
Simon.Cain@london.ac.uk>
Cc: Ghazwa Alwani-Starr <
Ghazwa.Alwani-Starr@london.ac.uk>; ‘John Barnett’ <Johnbarnett1010@hotmail.co.uk>; Chris Cobb <Chris.Cobb@london.ac.uk>; Adrian Smith <adrian.smith@london.ac.uk>
Subject: RE: John Barnett and asbestos
Importance: High

Dear Simon,

Many thanks for your email.

The reason we would expect a comment from the University is that the death of a former colleague is obviously of massive significance to colleagues also exposed to asbestos, and the University had committed going forward (having failed to do this in the past) to keeping staff informed.

Could you therefore arrange a meeting with the relevant University manager in charge of the asbestos situation and in charge of the gathering of files (as if Kim is to be believed, this process has already begun)?

Best wishes

Danny

From: Simon Cain [mailto:Simon.Cain@london.ac.uk]
Sent: 05 July 2018 17:07
To: Danny Millum <
dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk>
Cc: Ghazwa Alwani-Starr <
Ghazwa.Alwani-Starr@london.ac.uk>; ‘John Barnett’ <Johnbarnett1010@hotmail.co.uk>; Chris Cobb <Chris.Cobb@london.ac.uk>; Adrian Smith <adrian.smith@london.ac.uk>
Subject: RE: John Barnett and asbestos

Dear Danny,

Just writing initially to acknowledge receipt of your email.

I have noted your questions and will confirm at the earliest opportunity who will be taking forward your request for information.

I will also confirm who will be providing updates moving forward.  I trust you will accept however that it would not be appropriate for me or the University to comment specifically on a named individual.

You will note that I have removed Claire Rae from the circulation list.  Claire is now on maternity leave and so I would grateful if you could not include her in future correspondence.

Best wishes,

Simon

From: Danny Millum [mailto:dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk]
Sent: 03 July 2018 12:31
To: Simon Cain <
Simon.Cain@london.ac.uk>
Cc: Claire Rae <
Claire.Rae@london.ac.uk>; Ghazwa Alwani-Starr <Ghazwa.Alwani-Starr@london.ac.uk>; ‘John Barnett’ <Johnbarnett1010@hotmail.co.uk>; Chris Cobb <Chris.Cobb@london.ac.uk>; Adrian Smith <adrian.smith@london.ac.uk>
Subject: RE: John Barnett and asbestos

Dear Simon

I am writing to you with regard to the issue below, given that Kim has now retired.

Having spoken to John we are both shocked at the way the University has continued to deal with this issue. Kim promised us this information on 5 February. He then continued to procrastinate, knowing full well that he was about to retire, and that this would become ‘someone else’s problem’.

Could you please inform us who is now taking responsibility for providing this information?

We were also promised by the University that they would keep affected staff apprised of all asbestos-related developments going forward. Once again, this is not being adhered to. We have become aware of another former University employee, Roger Blake, who also died of mesothelioma. This obviously is of crucial interest to staff – and yet the University has failed to pass on this information.

Can you explain why this has happened and who is responsible?

If you could urgently either respond to these queries or direct us to the relevant person that would be much appreciated.

Best wishes

Danny

From: Kim Frost [mailto:Kim.Frost@london.ac.uk]
Sent: 04 June 2018 13:41
To:
dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk
Cc: Claire Rae <
Claire.Rae@london.ac.uk>; Ghazwa Alwani-Starr <Ghazwa.Alwani-Starr@london.ac.uk>; ‘John Barnett’ <Johnbarnett1010@hotmail.co.uk>
Subject: RE: John Barnett and asbestos

Dear Danny,

I understand that John attended his appointment at the Royal Brompton Hospital and that an advice report has been sent to him for review. Others have also had appointments or been offered them.

We are compiling the documentation which as you’ll appreciate goes back over a number of years and is held in a variety of formats and locations. We are keen to do this thoroughly and to be sure we have it all. This is not something that can be done quickly and I estimate will need a number of weeks to complete.

Best wishes

Kim

Kim Frost
University Secretary and Director of Human Resources
University of London
Senate House
Malet Street
London
WC1E 7HU
Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8026 Web: www.london.ac.uk

From: Danny Millum [mailto:dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk]
Sent: 31 May 2018 15:08
To: Kim Frost <
Kim.Frost@london.ac.uk>
Cc: Claire Rae <
Claire.Rae@london.ac.uk>; Ghazwa Alwani-Starr <Ghazwa.Alwani-Starr@london.ac.uk>; ‘John Barnett’ <Johnbarnett1010@hotmail.co.uk>
Subject: RE: John Barnett and asbestos
Importance: High

Dear Kim

I am writing to follow up on this – nearly three months has elapsed, and we have had neither the documentation nor even confirmation of any timescale for this.

Could you get back to me as soon as possible with this information?

Best wishes

Danny

From: Danny Millum [mailto:dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk]
Sent: 01 March 2018 17:41
To: Kim Frost <
Kim.Frost@london.ac.uk>
Cc: Claire Rae <
Claire.Rae@london.ac.uk>; Ghazwa Alwani-Starr <Ghazwa.Alwani-Starr@london.ac.uk>; ‘John Barnett’ <Johnbarnett1010@hotmail.co.uk>
Subject: RE: John Barnett and asbestos

Dear Kim,

Many thanks for getting back to me – if you could let us know when you have a timeframe that would be most helpful.

Best wishes

Danny

From: Kim Frost [mailto:Kim.Frost@london.ac.uk]
Sent: 28 February 2018 16:12
To: Danny Millum <
dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk>
Cc: Claire Rae <
Claire.Rae@london.ac.uk>; Ghazwa Alwani-Starr <Ghazwa.Alwani-Starr@london.ac.uk>; ‘John Barnett’ <Johnbarnett1010@hotmail.co.uk>
Subject: RE: John Barnett and asbestos

Dear Danny,

Much of this information is in paper form in archives and assembling it is not an overnight task. Once it is collated electronically we will be able to make it available. I cannot yet give a timeframe but hope to have a better estimate in a few days

Best wishes

Kim

Kim Frost
University Secretary and Director of Human Resources
University of London
Senate House
Malet Street
London
WC1E 7HU
Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8026  Web: www.london.ac.uk

From: Danny Millum [mailto:dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk]
Sent: 25 February 2018 12:57
To: Kim Frost <
Kim.Frost@london.ac.uk>
Cc: Claire Rae <
Claire.Rae@london.ac.uk>; Ghazwa Alwani-Starr <Ghazwa.Alwani-Starr@london.ac.uk>; ‘John Barnett’ <Johnbarnett1010@hotmail.co.uk>
Subject: RE: John Barnett and asbestos
Importance: High

Dear Kim

Would you be able to confirm when the documentation referred to below will be available, as it is now more than 5 weeks since the original request?

Best wishes

Danny

From: Kim Frost [mailto:Kim.Frost@london.ac.uk]
Sent: 05 February 2018 10:43
To: Danny Millum <
dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk>
Cc: Claire Rae <
Claire.Rae@london.ac.uk>; Ghazwa Alwani-Starr <Ghazwa.Alwani-Starr@london.ac.uk>
Subject: RE: John Barnett and asbestos

Dear Danny,

Thanks for this. Claire has been in contact with our Occupational Health advisers and will be in touch with you today to arrange private appointments with a chest physician for John and Dennis. Please obtain similar signed authorisations from the others who would like to do this.

We are compiling documentation on asbestos management for the last decades but you will appreciate that for the earlier decades this needs to be recovered from paper archives and will take some time. We will share this when that is done

Best wishes

Kim

Kim Frost
University Secretary and Director of Human Resources
University of London
Senate House
Malet Street
London
WC1E 7HU
Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8026  Web: www.london.ac.uk

From: Danny Millum [mailto:dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk]
Sent: 02 February 2018 14:17
To: Kim Frost <
Kim.Frost@london.ac.uk>
Subject: RE: John Barnett and asbestos
Importance: High

Dear Kim

We have now provided the relevant signed agreements, and have still not received the substantive response you promised.

John and Dennis are feeling extremely stressed re the slow handling of this issue, and have asked me to reiterate their request, namely:

  1. All documentation relating to asbestos management at the University of London for the last 30 years
  2. An acknowledgement from the University of responsibility for the damage to his health and a suitable offer of compensation
  3. Immediate CT scans for all potentially affected staff (this latter point is extremely important – staff have thus far only received OH checks (and this only after demanding these were demanded by the IWGB), and as John’s OH check failed to reveal his lung damage, it is clear that these are completely inadequate)

Furthermore, I have a list of more maintenance workers who have requested scans – can this be arranged please:

John O’Flaherty

Adam McTaggart

Peter Barraclough

Ashley Frampton

Matt Bayles

Neil Holmes

Matt Lee

If you could get back to me as soon as possible that would be much appreciated.

Best wishes

Danny

From: Kim Frost [mailto:Kim.Frost@london.ac.uk]
Sent: 23 January 2018 11:21
To: Danny Millum <dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk>
Subject: RE: John Barnett and asbestos

Dear Danny,

Could I please ask you to get John to provide his signed agreement for us to share information about this with you? You’ll understand that we need explicit consent from the individual when dealing with these issues. In the meantime our specialist advisers are investigating these issues so that we can provide a substantive response.

Best wishes

Kim

Kim Frost
University Secretary and Director of Human Resources
University of London
Senate House
Malet Street
London
WC1E 7HU
Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8026    Web: www.london.ac.uk

From: Kim Frost
Sent: 18 January 2018 09:27
To: ‘Danny Millum’ <
dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk>
Cc: ‘john’ <
johnbarnett1010@hotmail.co.uk>; ‘Emiliano Mellino’ <emilianomellino@iwgb.co.uk>; ‘Mariachiara Valsecchi’ <mvalsecchi@iwgb.co.uk>; ‘Jason Moyer-Lee’ <jasonmoyer-lee@iwgb.co.uk>; ‘Henry Chango-Lopez’ <henrychangolopez@iwgb.co.uk>; Simon Cain <Simon.Cain@london.ac.uk>; Ghazwa Alwani-Starr <Ghazwa.Alwani-Starr@london.ac.uk>; Chris Cobb <Chris.Cobb@london.ac.uk>
Subject: RE: John Barnett and asbestos

Dear Danny,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your email. We will be in touch soon.

With best wishes

Kim

Kim Frost
University Secretary and Director of Human Resources
University of London
Senate House
Malet Street
London
WC1E 7HU
Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8026  Web: www.london.ac.uk

From: Danny Millum [mailto:dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk]
Sent: 16 January 2018 10:50
To: Kim Frost <
Kim.Frost@london.ac.uk>
Cc: ‘john’ <
johnbarnett1010@hotmail.co.uk>; ‘Emiliano Mellino’ <emilianomellino@iwgb.co.uk>; ‘Mariachiara Valsecchi’ <mvalsecchi@iwgb.co.uk>; ‘Jason Moyer-Lee’ <jasonmoyer-lee@iwgb.co.uk>; ‘Henry Chango-Lopez’ <henrychangolopez@iwgb.co.uk>; Simon Cain <Simon.Cain@london.ac.uk>; Ghazwa Alwani-Starr <Ghazwa.Alwani-Starr@london.ac.uk>; Chris Cobb <Chris.Cobb@london.ac.uk>
Subject: John Barnett and asbestos
Importance: High

Dear Kim

I am writing on behalf of John Barnett, the painter and decorator at the University of London.

John had an appointment with his GP on 8 December relating to a persistent cough. The GP was concerned, and arranged for a CT scan which took place on 13 December.

He received the results on 20 December – these indicated that he had pleural plaques on his lungs, which the consultant confirmed could only have been caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos in the workplace.

Pleural plaques typically take 10-20 years to manifest themselves. John has worked at the University of London for 30 years and so it is clear that the exposure took place here.

Further evidence that this is the case has now been provided by John, in the form of:

  1. A signed letter from Robin Thomas dated 13 August 2003 which states ‘I retain a record that you were working in the vicinity of the boilerhouse in Germanic Studies when there was a release of asbestos and that you entered the boilerhouse after the event and before the area was hygienically cleaned’.
  2. An improvement notice issued to the University of London by the HSE on 30 July 2002, which states that the University were in contravention of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 1987 because ‘adequate arrangements have not been made for the management of the risk from exposure to asbestos to employees’.

John has suffered from a huge amount of stress as a consequence of this, has been prescribed diazepam and has been recommended that a heart monitor be fitted as a consequence of his heart palpitations. In addition he has also been forced to seek help from Camden and Islington’s I COPE counselling service.

As the above clearly demonstrates, the University has put his life at risk by exposing him to asbestos in breach of HSE regulations, and in addition his health is now suffering as a consequence of the stress caused by this diagnosis.

This is of course in addition to the recent asbestos issues discovered in 2016, which demonstrated that further exposure has occurred between 2003 and 2016, and in response to which the University has still failed to produce an asbestos management plan, in further contravention of HSE regulations.

As a consequence, John is requesting as a matter of urgency:

  1. All documentation relating to asbestos management at the University of London for the last 30 years
  2. An acknowledgement from the University of responsibility for the damage to his health and a suitable offer of compensation
  3. Immediate CT scans for all potentially affected staff (this latter point is extremely important – staff have thus far only received OH checks (and this only after demanding these were demanded by the IWGB), and as John’s OH check failed to reveal his lung damage, it is clear that these are completely inadequate)

Please could you respond to this email as a matter of urgency (the IWGB’s legal department and press office have also been copied in).

Best wishes

Danny

Danny Millum
Branch Secretary
University of London IWGB
https://iwgb-universityoflondon.org/

 

Advertisements
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
Director
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!

https://www.facebook.com/events/749668095389529/

 

Academics appeal to University of London to provide details on employment status of its outsourced staff — November 8, 2018

Academics appeal to University of London to provide details on employment status of its outsourced staff

More than 100 academics have signed an open letter to the director of the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) regarding the employment status of its staff

Dear Professor Fox

We are over 100 IHR seminar convenors who have jointly signed this letter in support of outsourced workers at the Institute, as we believe that all staff at the IHR – and indeed, across the wider University of London – should be treated equally.

While we welcome the IHR’s commitment to make bringing all outsourced workers in-house a priority, we would request on behalf of these workers that the IHR provide a full details of how this process will work, and a commitment (which the workers themselves have been very clear on) that they will all be in house by June 2019.

We are particularly concerned about the workers’ position in light of the recent revelation that a senior manager in charge of these staff on behalf of Cordant Services, through whom they are subcontracted, had to be moved from this role after he was found to have shared xenophobic and pro-far right posts on social media.

Given that the majority of the outsourced staff are migrant and BAME, we feel that we 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 obviously treasure our seminar groups’ long association with the IHR, and would want this to continue, and we hope to have your support in ensuring that these seminars take place in an institution where all workers are treated the same regardless of their role.

We, the undersigned,

Dr Larne Abse Gogarty (University College London; Marxism in Culture Seminar)

Dr James Baker (University of Sussex; Digital History Seminar)

Dr Catriona Beaumont (London South Bank University; Contemporary British History Seminar, and Voluntary Action History Seminar)

Professor Matthew Beaumont (University College London; Marxism in Culture Seminar)

Dr Chiara Beccalossi (University of Lincoln; History of Sexuality Seminar)

Guy Beckett (Birkbeck, University of London; History Acts Seminar)

Professor Jonathan Bell (University College London; North American History Seminar)

Dr Justin Bengry (Goldsmiths, University of London; History of Sexuality Seminar)

Professor Michael Berkowitz (University College London; Jewish History Seminar)

Professor Virginia Berridge (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; History and Public Health Seminar)

Dr Steffan Blayney (University of Sheffield; History Acts Seminar)

Dr. Jeff Bowersox (University College London; Modern German History Seminar)

Professor Alan Bradshaw (Royal Holloway, University of London; Marxism in Culture Seminar)

Dr Sean Brady (Birkbeck, University of London; History of Sexuality Seminar)

Dr Georgina Brewis (University College London; History of Education Seminar)

Dr Ludvine Broch (University of Westminster; Modern French History Seminar)

Dr Warren Carter (The Open University; Marxism in Culture Seminar)

Dr Lily Chang (University College London; Comparative Histories of Asia Seminar)

Professor Gregory Claeys (Royal Holloway, University of London; History of Political Ideas Seminar)

Dr Nicola Clark (University of Chichester; Society for Court Studies Seminar)

Dr Liesbeth Corens (Queen Mary, University of London; Low Countries History Seminar, and European History 1500 – 1800 Seminar)

Professor Penelope J. Corfield (Royal Holloway, University of London; British History in the 18th Century Seminar)

Dr Joseph Cozens (University of Essex; British History in the 18th Century Seminar)

Dr Ruth Craggs (King’s College London; London Group of Historical Geographers Seminar)

Dr Gail Day (University of Leeds; Marxism in Culture Seminar)

Professor Filippo de Vivo (Birkbeck, University of London; European History 1500–1800 Seminar)

Professor Richard Drayton (King’s College London; Imperial and World History Seminar)

Dr Max Edling (King’s College London; North American History Seminar)

Professor Steve Edwards (Birkbeck, University of London; Marxism in Culture Seminar)

Dr Hannah J. Elizabeth (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; History and Public Health Seminar)

Dr Mike Esbester (University of Portsmouth; Transport and Mobility History Seminar)

Dr Elizabeth Evenden-Kenyon (Brunel University London; Religious History of Britain 1500–1800 Seminar)

Dr Charlotte Faucher (University of Manchester; Modern French History Seminar)

Professor David Feldman (Birkbeck, University of London; Jewish History Seminar)

Laura Flannigan (University of Cambridge; History Lab Seminar)

Dr Jana Funke (University of Exeter; History of Sexuality Seminar)

Dr Dion Georgiou (University of Chichester; Life-Cycles Seminar)

Professor Shiri Gilbert (University of Southampton; Jewish History Seminar)

Dr Stefan Goebel (University of Kent; War, Culture and Society Seminar)

Professor Anne Goldgar (King’s College London; Low Countries History Seminar)

Professor Martin Gorsky (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; History and Public Health Seminar)

Professor Richard Grayson (Goldsmith’s, University of London; War, Culture & Society Seminar)

Dr Craig Griffiths (Manchester Metropolitan University; History of Sexuality Seminar)

Dr François Guesnet (University College London; Jewish History Seminar)

Dr Bérénice Guyot-Réchard (King’s College London; Comparative Histories of Asia Seminar)

Professor Jane Hamlett (Royal Holloway, University of London; Studies of Home Seminar)

Dr Alana Harris (King’s College London; Modern Religious History Seminar, and Women’s History Seminar)

Professor Peter Heather (King’s College London; Earlier Middle Ages Seminar)

Professor Tim Hitchcock (University of Sussex; British History in the Long 18th Century Seminar)

Professor Kate Hodgkin (University of East London; Society, Culture and Belief, 1500–1800; Psychoanalysis and History)

Dr Sally Holloway (Oxford Brookes University; British History in the Long 18th Century Seminar)

Dr Eva Johanna Holmberg (Queen Mary University of London, and Helsinki University; Society, Culture and Belief 1500–1800 Seminar)

Dr Alejandra Irigoin (London School of Economics; Latin American History Seminar, and Economic and Social History of the Early Modern World Seminar)

Professor Heather Jones (University College London; War, Culture & Society Seminar)

Professor Andrew Jotischky (Royal Holloway, University of London; Crusades and the Latin East Seminar, and European History 1150 — 1500 Seminar)

Professor Ben Kaplan (University College London; Low Countries History Seminar)

Dr Innes M. Keighren (Royal Holloway, University of London; London Group of Historical Geographers Seminar)

Professor Sarah Lloyd (University of Hertfordshire; British History in the Long 18th Century Seminar)

Professor Gary McCulloch (University College London; History of Education Seminar)

Dr Jane Mackelworth (Queen Mary University of London; History of Sexuality Seminar)

Dr Anna Maerker (King’s College London; Public History Seminar)

Dr Christine Mathias (King’s College London; Latin American History Seminar)

Dr Charlotte Mathieson (University of Surrey; Transport and Mobility History Seminar)

Dr Daniel Matlin (King’s College London; North American History Seminar)

Dr Owen Miller (School of Oriental and African Studies; Comparative Histories of Asia Seminar)

Dr Joel Morley (University of Essex; Oral History Seminar)

Dr Anne L. Murphy (University of Hertfordshire; Economic and Social History of the Early Modern World Seminar)

Dr Andrew Murray (The Open University; Marxism in Culture Seminar)

Dr Raf Nicholson (Bournemouth University; Sport and Leisure History Seminar)

Dr Angel-Luke O’Donnell (King’s College London; North American History Seminar)

Professor Miles Ogborn (Queen Mary University of London; London Group of Historical Geographers Seminar)

Dr Daniel Peart (Queen Mary University of London; North American History Seminar)

Dr Christopher Phillips (Independent scholar; Transport and Mobility History Seminar)

Dr Eyal Poleg (Queen Mary University of London; European History 1150–1550 Seminar, and History of Liturgy Seminar)

Dr Robert Priest (Royal Holloway, University of London; Modern French History Seminar)

Dr Dominic Rahtz (University for the Creative Arts; Marxism in Culture Seminar)

Dr Thomas Rath (University College London; Latin American History Seminar)

Dr Tim Reinke-Williams (University of Northampton; British History in the 17th Century Seminar, and Life-Cycles Seminar)

Dr Huw Richards (London College of Communication; Sport and Leisure History Seminar)

Dr Charlotte L. Riley (University of Southampton; Reconfiguring the British: Nation, Empire, World 1600 – 2000 Seminar)

Professor Alice Rio (King’s College London; Earlier Middle Ages Seminar)

Dr Michael Rowe (King’s College London; Modern German History Seminar)

Dr Jack Saunders (University of Warwick; Reconfiguring the British: Nation, Empire, World 1600 – 2000 Seminar)

Dr Andrea Schatz (King’s College London; Jewish History Seminar)

Dr David Sim (University College London; North American History Seminar)

Dr Simon Sleight (King’s College London; Life-Cycles Seminar)

Dr Andrew W. M. Smith (University of Chichester; Modern French History Seminar)

Dr Peter Smith (University of West London; Marxism in Culture Seminar)

Dr Martin Spychal (History of Parliament; Parliaments, Politics and People Seminar)

Dr Iain Stewart (University College London; Modern French History Seminar)

Dr Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite (University College London; Reconfiguring the British: Nation, Empire, World 1600 – 2000 Seminar)

Professor Pat Thane (King’s College London; Contemporary British History Seminar, and Women’s History Seminar)

Dr David Todd (King’s College London; Imperial and World History Seminar)

Professor John Tosh (University of Roehampton; Public History Seminar)

Dr Marina Vishmidt (Goldsmith’s University of London; Marxism in Culture Seminar)

Dr Brodie Waddell (Birkbeck, University of London; Society, Culture and Belief, 1500 – 1800 Seminar)

Dr Erica Wald (Goldsmith’s, University of London; War, Culture & Society Seminar)

Professor Patrick Wallis (London School of Economics; Economic and Social History of the Early Modern World Seminar)

Professor Chris Waters (Williams College, Massachusetts; History of Sexuality Seminar)

Dr Rob Waters (University of Sussex; Conversations and Disputations Seminar)

Dr Janet Weston (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; History of Sexuality Seminar)

Dr Nick Witham (University College London; North American History Seminar)

Professor Nuala Zahedieh (University of Edinburgh; Economic and Social History of the Early Modern World Seminar)

 

London living wage uplift — November 6, 2018

London living wage uplift

The London Living Wage Foundation is encouraging employers to introduce its new ‘living wage’ rates of £9 an hour across the country and £10.55 in London immediately.

Below, Danny Millum requests confirmation from Simon Cain, the University of London’s director of HR services, that the institution’s low-paid workers will benefit from the increase.

 

Dear Simon

I am writing on behalf of outsourced workers at the University of London following the recent announcement of the London Living Wage uplift to £10.55 per hour.
I just wanted to confirm that this rate would be introduced for all affected staff from the start of November as in previous years.
Obviously this is matter of pressing urgency for these low-paid workers, and so I would appreciate if you could get back to me as soon as possible.
Best wishes
Danny
Danny Millum
Branch Secretary
University of London IWGB
Buildings maintenance contract in house —

Buildings maintenance contract in house

On 19 October, the University of London (UoL) made public an announcement about its plans to enter a bid process regarding its outsourced contracts. Desperate for clarity, the IWGB representative for the maintenance staff outsourced to Bouygues has written to the university’s senior management team.
Dear Mike and Ghaz,
I am writing on behalf of Bouygues staff employed at the University of London to request clarity regarding recent announcements affecting the contract.
The 19 October 2018 intranet announcement stated that the ‘Buildings maintenance contract in house bid to be prepared and tested against external suppliers in 2019′.
Obviously this has caused a great deal of speculation and anxiety for me and my colleagues, and we would therefore like you to confirm:
1. Who will be covered by this in-house bid?
2. When this will take place?
3. Why a bid is necessary when other workers are being taken directly in-house without going through a process of this sort?
In the interests of staff morale is is extremely important to have clear information regarding this issue as soon as possible, so I would appreciate a swift response.
Best wishes
John Barnett
IWGB union rep, Maintenance Section
Precarious workers join forces to pile pressure on the University of London — November 5, 2018

Precarious workers join forces to pile pressure on the University of London

The University of London was the final destination for last week’s ‘Rise of the Precarious Workers’ protest organised by the Independent Workers of Union Great Britain (IWGB).

Hundreds of minicab drivers, foster care workers, electricians, couriers, cleaners, security officers and supporters took over the streets of London in what was Britain’s largest march by precarious workers.

It was timed to coincide with the latest round of the union’s court case against Uber over worker status for its drivers. The march also serviced as another strike by outsourced workers at the University of London as they fight to be brought in-house in the face of the continued stalling by the institution.

The university’s latest position is for a few (overwhelmingly male) workers to come in-house next year, Meanwhile, cleaners, caterers and other outsourced workers are left in limbo. These brave men and women have vowed that until they receive confirmation of an end to outsourcing by June 2019 (almost two years after the campaign began) they will continue to escalate their struggle!

A number or organisations, politicians, academics and other trade unions are solidly behind IWGB and its members. Even the media has shown sympathy for the plight of these precarious workers and the protest was extensively covered in the national and local media including the Guardian and Evening Standard. Also see Momentum video here , and photos from the the day here.

 

 

 

 

 

IWGB’s University of London branch secretary responds to vice-chancellor’s email  — October 29, 2018

IWGB’s University of London branch secretary responds to vice-chancellor’s email 

Dear Peter

I am writing briefly in response to the email below, the tone of which I am afraid I find disappointing.

While I completely agree that professionalism, respect and mutual trust and indeed laudable principles on which to base an institution’s culture, I don’t see how that can be squared with the reality of the University of London.

Currently, predominantly BME outsourced workers at the University suffer much worse terms and conditions than their mostly white directly employed counterparts. This is blatant discrimination and incompatible with the principles you outline.

In addition, the main outsourcing company Cordant have been allowed to employ first a manager that was an open supporter of the far right, and now another manager who has been accused by no fewer than 3 women of blatantly racist, sexist and homophobic behaviour and yet remains in post. These women continue to work in fear on a daily basis, a fact difficult to square with any declaration that no member of staff should work ‘in an environment where they feel uncomfortable’.

Finally, while it’s definitely a positive development that you have met with the cleaners, it is worth bearing in mind that they have just voted 100% yes for strike action following the failure of the University to engage with them.

It is these predominantly middle-aged Latina cleaners, along with your own security officers, who will be forming the bedrock of the 30 October demonstration. When UCU struck earlier this year for 14 days the University continued as usual with no additional security – yet when low-paid migrant workers take action this is cause for a massive lockdown and pre-emptive yet vague accusations of intimidation. This can only be seen as further double standards.

As stated in numerous emails, the IWGB as the chosen union of these workers remains open for negotiation. All of our offers have been ignored. Until the University engages in dialogue to end its discriminatory employment practices there will continue to be strikes and demonstrations, and we believe it’s clear the responsibility for any disruption clearly lies with the side that refuses to negotiate.

Best wishes

Danny

Danny Millum
Branch Secretary
University of London IWGB

 

From: Fiona Bernardone On Behalf Of Vice Chancellor
Sent: 26 October 2018 10:11
To: Central-University <central-university@london.ac.uk>
Subject: Message from the Vice-Chancellor

Dear Colleagues,

I have now met with most of the heads of member institutions and I have been impressed by their support for the University, and their wish to work closely with us. They all see membership of the University as a benefit to their institution. This is important when considering the University of London Bill which is currently passing through Parliament. The Bill establishes member institutions as universities in their own right. It was debated in the House of Commons last week and successfully passed through its second reading and now progresses on to the Bills Committee. Each Head sees the Bill as a means of consolidation within the federal university.

Evidence for this came from a recent visit by Chris Cobb and I to Paris. We were invited by Professor Ed Byrne, President of KCL and Deputy VC UoL, to attend the signing of a preliminary agreement between KCL and the Founding Institutions of the University of Paris for a strategic partnership. Ed was generous in his speech in emphasising UoL’s presence at the ceremony and the opportunities from closer working between the two federal universities. You will be aware of the University of London in Paris which I visited for the first time in the afternoon. It is an impressive building superbly located in the centre of the city. Our exploration with Member Institutions about how we may utilise this “asset in Europe” post Brexit has been met with considerable interest and positive proposals.

As you will have read, the Board of Trustees have firmly supported our plan for Facilities Management Services (intranet post here). I am conscious that this is a matter that has generated strong feelings, some of which have been expressed in communications directed at me and my executive team in a tone that I have found personally disappointing.

I am mindful of the planned demonstration on 30th October and of the feelings that some of you have expressed in relation to the impact of previous demonstrations at the University.  In this regard I would wish to echo the message expressed toward the end of the recent intranet post on this matter, that is, that I do not expect any member of staff to work in an environment where they feel uncomfortable.

My background as a doctor is one of professionalism, respect and mutual trust. I have previously worked closely elsewhere with colleagues and recognised representatives to foster a culture based on these principles. I will carry on with this approach here at UoL. I am continuing to visit the University’s departments and meet staff to enable as many as possible to connect with me directly. I have come in early to Senate House on a number of occasions to meet the cleaners and porters. I am constantly impressed by everyone’s very evident loyalty and commitment to the community of the University, whatever their background and would like to thank you all for the welcome you have given me.

 

Peter Kopelman
Vice-Chancellor

 

 

Next week’s demo and branch meeting — October 23, 2018

Next week’s demo and branch meeting

Calling all IWGB members. We urgently need your help with next week’s strike / march / demo.

On Tuesday 30 October, we are doing the same as last year (except hopefully bigger) and combining an outsourced worker strike at the University of London (as part of the in-house campaign) with the Uber tribunal appeal (as well as other stop-offs) so that we can maximise numbers and make as big an impact as possible on each employer. See full details here.

In order for this to be successful we need the support of as many UoL people as possible. It would be fantastic if you could lend your support by taking the morning off work, or even just come in late.

We’ll be assembling at TFL (197 Blackfriars Road, Southwark tube) at around 8-8.30am. If you have any questions please email dannymillum@iwgb.co.uk.

As a result of this we will not be holding the monthly branch meeting scheduled for 31 October. Anyone who was planning to come to this, should join the march instead where we can hopefully cover some informal union business there!

IWGB general secretary discusses the gig economy on BBC Newsnight —

IWGB general secretary discusses the gig economy on BBC Newsnight

Over the next few weeks, BBC’s Newsnight programme is running a series of episodes looking at how to ‘fix’ some key areas of our changing economy.

Last night (22 October), it focused on the so-called ‘gig’ economy. During the segment, a roving reporter spoke to a range of people who have to cope with precarious pay and worker rights, as well as Dr Jason Moyer Lee, general secretary of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB). He spoke about the gig economy in general and Uber’s policy and business model in particular.

The whole Newsnight programme is available here until 20 November. The segment on the gig economy starts at 28:00, while Jason’s interview is from 31:55 to 32:45 and from 36:28 to 37:13.

University of London launches race equality group — October 17, 2018

University of London launches race equality group

The University of London (UoL) is introducing its first race equality group “in recognition of the under-representation of black and minority ethnic staff in senior levels”. Membership is open to everyone at UoL and participants will be encouraged to share their experiences and insights to help the university improve its “working practices and promote a positive and inclusive workplace culture”.

The launch, which takes place on 24 October in Chancellor’s Hall, 1.30–3pm, includes a presentation by Jannett Morgan, associate director for Advance HE’s Diversifying Academic Leadership programme. She will discuss the empowerment and promotion of talented people from under-represented groups. See details here.

Massive YES vote in latest University of London outsourced worker ballot — October 16, 2018

Massive YES vote in latest University of London outsourced worker ballot

Strike! Outsourced workers at the University of London have, yet again, voted in favour of strike action, with a 100% YES vote among cleaners. We will see you at the picket line on the 30 October.

cleanersvote

Despite the University’s cynical attempts to divide the workforce, porters, security, receptionists, post room workers, audiovisual staff and gardeners have also voted in favour of strike action. For some of them this is their fourth ballot in two years.

This is a level of unprecedented unity among outsourced workers fighting together the UoL’s recent disgraceful announcement  – https://twitter.com/3CosasCampaign/status/1046808688672034822

Their demands are simple – more than a year after the in-house campaign and the FM Services Review was announced, they want to end the current discriminatory 2-tier employment system at the University and be treated as equals.

Full details of the huge strike on 30 October, part of the ‘Rise of the Precarious Workers’ National IWGB demo, can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2337254349835594/.

IWGB’s University of London branch appoints its first BME officer — October 12, 2018
IMMEDIATE ACTION required over abusive homophobic and sexist Cordant manager – letter from IWGB to University of London — October 7, 2018

IMMEDIATE ACTION required over abusive homophobic and sexist Cordant manager – letter from IWGB to University of London

Email sent Wednesday 3 October to University of London Vice-Chancellor Peter Kopelman

Dear Professor Kopelman,

I am writing in a mixture of anger and astonishment to bring to your attention a second successive case of blatantly discriminatory behaviour on behalf of a senior Cordant Security manager and the failure of the University to deal with this.

You will be aware that in July the IWGB brought to your attention the case of Lee Smith, a Cordant manager posting openly racist and far-right material on Facebook (https://iwgb-universityoflondon.org/2018/07/10/university-of-londons-outsourcing-manager-under-fire-for-racist-facebook-posts/).

Following our revelations, Mr Smith was removed from the University of London contract. However, rather than thank the IWGB for their actions, Our branch secretary was rebuked by the head of FM Services, Ghaz Alwani-Starr, for having openly revealed these details, and told that firstly this would better have been dealt with by having been brought to the University’s attention discretely, and secondly that this was not a failure of governance or the contractor, but simply one bad apple.

On both counts this has now shown to be untrue.

The current Student Central security manager, Joynal Miah, was the subject of a grievance by his own staff in July. This covered numerous aspects of his behaviour, but perhaps most notably his racism, sexism and blatant homophobia.

In the grievance notes, one of the receptionists recounts how ‘he always has a comment about women who walk past, not to them, but about them to us, like “she’s so attractive, the things I would do to her”. There was one lady who worked in Birkbeck Employability called XXXX who he was always commenting about. She told me she felt very uncomfortable around him as he was just a perv’.

The same witness goes on to state: ‘a new potential receptionist was training called Fabio. And after he’d finished Joynal said that he didn’t want that “Batty man” working here’.

Allegations of this seriousness ON THEIR OWN should have warranted at the very least suspension while a full investigation took place.

However, they were not isolated allegations. At the same time a complaint had been submitted independently by the Birkbeck employee in question. In it, she states how she had been continually harassed by Joynal. Some of the most shocking passages are as follows:

Whilst asking Joynal about the classes and services the swimming pool have on offer, he briefly mentioned that on Saturdays you get the “Batty Boys”. I didn’t quite understand what he meant by that so I asked him to elaborate further, he then went on to explain that naked gay men are here all day flaunting their bits. I found this comment completely shocking … Furthermore, I went on to say that if he was homosexual would he appreciate comments as such being made? In response to this he replied “Bitch – Do I look gay to you” – there was no need for him to insult me in this way by calling me a “bitch” at which point I was very upset and completely appalled by his attitude.

He also made remarks and inappropriate comments about the clothing that I wear like my “backside is banging in that – I would deal with that all day long!’.

This complaint was emailed to Ghaz Alwani-Starr of the University of London on 12 July 2018. The only response that the complainant received was that this would be passed onto Cordant. However, Cordant made no effort to contact her, and she received no further response whatsoever regarding this until she prompted the University herself two months later. Their reply could not have been more dismissive:

Thank you for your email and apologies you have not received a reply to your initial email. Cordant have investigated and I understand that they spoke to you as part of the investigation. They have included the investigation and the matter will remain on file’.

The fact was that Cordant had not spoken to her. Nor had they made any effort to investigate, or they might have spoken to a witness to the incident above, who stated to us:

I believe there has been a few sexual comments in regards to homosexuality which may have offended a number of people at student central. I have only witnessed or heard of one comment made about this as I was within the vicinity at the time where a staff member looked shocked by this comment made. I am not sure about the relation they both have however making a comment of such nature as well as calling a staff member a bitch did not go down very well in my opinion’.

The grievance taken out by the receptionists took two months to report (only doing so after half a dozen prompts from the receptionists and our branch secretary), and astoundingly the outcome makes NO MENTION of Joynal’s sexism and homophobia – instead merely stating that ‘there appears to be a breakdown in the relationship’ and offering mediation.

It is clear from the fact that no other witness statements were included in the grievance outcome that the whole process was a farce. Had Cordant been interested in getting to the truth of the matter they might, for example, have interviewed Fabio, who stated to us:

The individual by the name of Joynal Miah was the person that showed me around but I found him to be quite stand off and I felt that his attitude towards me could of been because of my sexuality. When XXXX contacted me and made me aware he had made that comment “I didn’t want to hire that batty boy anyway” confirmed my assumptions were correct. I feel disgusted that a person could say such words about myself and I am also questioning the university as a whole. How can you allow an individual that has a personal issue against gays and homosexuals to work in a diverse establishment.

This individual is clearly unfit to work at the University of London, an institution that confirmed only last week that its contractor are bound by its much-heralded ‘Diversity and Inclusion Strategy’, which states:

The University shall not discriminate against any person on the grounds of race, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, religion, social background or political belief.

Of course, there are also serious legal issues which you need to consider, such as the University’s Public Sector Equality Duty pursuant to the Equality Act 2010.

Furthermore, it can no longer be passed off as a coincidence that the University’s outsourced companies are employing and protecting managers exhibiting discriminatory behaviour of this sort – it is clear that outsourcing produces a failure of oversight and accountability which threatens the very diversity and inclusivity the University claims to hold so dear.

Indeed, it makes a mockery of the claims made by Dr Alwani-Starr in her latest FM Services Review email this week, in which she states:

In recognition that there have been issues raised with me in relation to how our contractors are applying their policies locally, I am encouraged that Cordant have over the summer repeated key training for managers and supervisors to ensure proper adherence to their own policies. We are also taking action ourselves and putting in place a rigorous monitoring system to ensure that all terms of the contracts are being adhered to’.

This rigid monitoring system clearly does not extend to excluding or disciplining managers who refer to staff and colleagues as ‘batty boys’ and ‘bitches’.

When our general secretary raised the issue of Lee Smith he ended as follows:

Now your usual tactic is to place the blame for all things outsourcing on the contractors themselves. Not this time. You and only you chose Cordant for your contracts. No one else made that decision except the University of London. This is your responsibility. I want to know what you’re going to do about it, and I want to know now.

This situation is even more serious, given the University’s role in covering it up and the fact that the staff who were brave enough to raise this issue are still at risk, as are all potential visitors and occupants of Student Central.

Can you confirm you will be taking immediate action?

Please feel free to get in touch if you need any further information.

Best wishes

Emiliano Mellino
Organiser/Press officer
IWGB

IWGB General Secretary writes to UoL VC Peter Kopelman following latest in-house announcement —

IWGB General Secretary writes to UoL VC Peter Kopelman following latest in-house announcement

Dear Professor Kopelman,

On 5 September, 2018 I wrote you a long email, entitled “finding another way”, in which I extended an olive branch and offered constructive engagement, dialogue, and negotiation as a way out of the industrial relations disaster playing out at University of London.  In addition to not having the courtesy to respond to my email, it seems you are deliberately trying to make matters worse with your actions since.  Indeed, so far in your short tenure:
1. Industrial relations have worsened;
2. Outsourced workers are currently being balloted for further industrial action;
3. A national demonstration on 30 October will target UoL;
4. Not one but two of your outsourced managers have engaged in racist, homophobic, or sexist behaviour in a particularly egregious way (UoL didn’t do anything about it until we made the matter public);
5. You’ve utterly failed to understand the pressing nature of the outsourcing issue by announcing that some workers won’t be brought back in house until 2021;
6. You’ve continued to engage in the destructive game of ignoring the outsourced workers and the union they have chosen to represent them by instead schmoozing with your preferred sycophants in UNISON, which these workers interpret as a slap in the face;
7. Students have engaged in flash demos inside Senate House;
8. Plans are under way for further high profile actions which, purely as a result of your own decisions, will have a lasting and damaging impact on UoL’s reputation.
The house is on fire and you’re pouring petrol on the flames.  It’s hard to imagine how you could go about things in a worse manner, even if you tried.
If paying a bloated salary is supposed to attract the best talent, I can only imagine how bad things would be if you were paid £10.20 like the cleaners!
If at any point you care to remove your head from the sand long enough to see the writing on the wall and decide to opt for engagement rather than obstinance, feel free to get in touch.
Kind regards,

 

Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee
General Secretary
IWGB
In-House Campaña – Noticias! — October 3, 2018

In-House Campaña – Noticias!

Como algunos de ustedes ya sabrán, hace un par de dias la universidad traiciono a los trabajadores de limpieza, jardineros y a los de catering, diciendo que en el mejor de los casos los haria trabajadores directos (in house) en 2020 y 2021. La universidad a dicho que un pequeño grupo de trabajadores ( porteros, Audio Visual y Recepcionistas) trabajaran directamente para la Universidad a partir del verano del 2019, lo cual por un lado es claramente un intento cinico por parte de la universidad para dividir los trabajadores, pero tambien demuestra que poco a poco estan cediendo debido a nuestra presion.

Nosotros consideramos que esta oferta es completamente inacceptable y por eso le hemos escrito directamente al director de la universidad para decirle que continuaremos he intensificaremos la campaña (traduccion del correo debajo).
Ayer un grupo de estudiantes hizo una protesta sorpresa en la universidad, pero lo más importante es seguir presionandolos con huelgas.

El plan es hacer huelga a fin de mes para dejarle claro a la universidad que no nos van a dividir y que vamos a seguir luchando. Por eso es importantisimo que TODOS devulevan las papeletas de votos lo mas pronto posible!!

La universidad va interpretar el resultado de la votación de huelga como un consulta sobre su propuesta de no hacer nada hasta 2020. Si los trabajadores no votan a favor de la huelga, la universidad pensara que están contentos con lo que ha propuesto. Es importante decirles que NO ESTAMOS CONTENTOS.

Hoy mas que nunca tenemos que estar unidos todos, incluido los que se han beneficiado de esta ultima decision de la Universidad!!

Hasta la victoria compañeros!✊

Carta al Director
——
Estimado Profesor Kopelman,

Le escribo para expresar mi sorpresa y decepción con el mensaje enviado hoy día por su director de gestión de servicios Dr Ghazwa Alwani-Starr. Y escribo sorpresa, no porque esperaba algo diferente de los altos directivos de la Universidad de Londres, pero porque esperaba que su mandato como Vice-Rector abriría un nuevo y más justo capítulo en la relaciones de la universidad con su fuerza de trabajo más precaria.

Lamentablemente su anuncio de no garantizar que los limpiadores, jardineros y el personal de cáterin sean empleados por la universidad directamente, pero que de lo contrario se vayan a enviar propuestas de emplearlos directamente junto con otras propuestas en 2020 y 2011, muestra que está ocurriendo lo de siempre en la universidad. Tal y como su predecesor, parece estar satisfecho con ganar un salario de 6 cifras al mismo tiempo que mantiene a los trabajadores más vulnerables de la universidad en una posición de absoluta precariedad, empleados como trabajadores de segunda clase y en una situación que constituye nada menos que discriminación institucional.
Así que mientras que la Universidad de Londres continua dando largas al asunto, otras universidades han prometido emplear a los trabajadores directamente en 6 meses, como es el caso de Goldsmiths, o en un año, como el caso de Kings, donde su adjunto Ed Byrne es el director (quizá debería pedir algunos consejos).

Desafía toda lógica  que un año después de que la Universidad empezara su falsa revisión, que no incluía ningún trabajador tercerizado o el sindicato que los representa, esto sea lo mejor que pueda ofrecer. Desafía toda lógica que una institución que se supone que cuenta con las mentes más brillantes del Reino Unido, sea tan mala en gestionar sus propios servicios y no pueda ofrecer una opción in-house decente para una proporción tan grande de su fuerza laboral.

Pero quizá no debería haber sido tan ingenuo de creer que le importa la gente que limpia sus baños, su oficina y los pasillos por los que anda con otros grandes con salarios obscenos. En su experiencia estos trabajadores son fáciles de ignorar. Después de todo, se van de la Universidad pronto por la mañana antes de que usted llegue y son convenientemente invisibles.

O quizá pensaba que al hacer a una pequeña minoría de trabajadores – 95% de los cuales hombres- trabajadores directos el verano que viene y al aumentar la seguridad, podría dividir la fuerza de trabajo y aplastar la campaña de los trabajadores.
Me alegra decirle que si eso es lo que piensa, es un iluso.
Ante esta injusticia la determinación de los trabajadores de luchar es más fuerte que nunca, mientras que el apoyo comunitario crece por momentos.

Los trabajadores tienen una sola demanda: emplear a todos los trabajadores directamente para junio del 2019, o si no, junto con la comunidad universitaria y otros, intensificarán su acción hasta el punto de que usted no tendrá el lujo de ignorarlos.
Tendrá una muestra de lo que estoy hablando el 30 de octubre cuando sus trabajadores vayan a la huelga y la marcha de miles de trabajadores precarios descienda hasta la Universidad de Londres.

Con la esperanza de que entre en razón y termine esta injusticia, le envío un saludo.

Emiliano Mellino
Organiser / Press officer

Enough is enough! — October 1, 2018

Enough is enough!

Cuts hurt all of us. This is made clear in the letter below from IWGB chair Sarah Anderson to Phil Norrey, chief executive and head of paid services at Devon County Council. She is calling on all IWGB members to support foster care workers by writing to Mr Norrey (Phil.norrey@devon.gov.uk) who, while pocketing an annual salary of at least £149,995, is overseeing a policy that is bringing in salary cuts for the council’s foster care workers.

Dear Mr Norrey,

I am writing to you in support of the Devon County Council foster care workers. Like foster care workers across UK these people have not been listened to and their views have not been taken into account. It is patently unfair that many of these workers who have dedicated their incredible energy and devotion to the young people in their care are now facing unjustified salary cuts. Like everyone else foster care workers need to eat too.

As you will no doubt be aware foster care workers right across the country are coming together as part of the IWGB in historic proportions, they are saying enough is enough.

I am calling on you to declare NO CUTS, NO CHANGE.

Kind regards,

Sarah Anderson BSc (Hons)
Chair

 

IWGB condemns university’s institutional discrimination against low-paid workers —
Put your best foot forward and raise funds for IWGB’s legal department — September 30, 2018
Latest outsourcing developments: letter to UoL’s interim vice-chancellor — September 27, 2018

Latest outsourcing developments: letter to UoL’s interim vice-chancellor

Dear Professor Kopelman

I am writing on behalf of our outsourced members at the University of London to inform you that we are currently balloting for further strike action as a consequence of the University’s failure to make any meaningful progress on the issue of bringing workers in-house, despite its earlier commitments.

The University has completely failed to engage with workers and their chosen representatives, and as a consequence will be the focal point of the national demonstration of precarious workers on 30 October, with all of the associated negative publicity and media attention.

There is no question that the University has brought this on itself, and as a longstanding member of staff I am extremely disappointed that my institution has damaged its reputation and by association that of its staff by its failure to take decisive action to resolve its discriminatory two-tier employment situation.

This is even more galling when other institutions have shown how this can be done swiftly and in a way that maximises good-will.

At Goldsmiths [Goldsmiths, University of London], they have announced that they will bring more than 100 cleaners in-house WITHIN SIX MONTHS.

Yesterday at KCL [King’s College London] they announced that all cleaners and security would be brought in house, stating that ‘bringing the people who deliver these vital services onto our payroll and properly into the King’s community is the right thing to do‘.

The University of London could and should be doing the same thing – and will be forced to do so eventually anyway. The longer it delays, the more unnecessary harm and suffering it causes.

As ever, we await your response.

Best wishes

Danny

Danny Millum
Branch Secretary
University of London IWGB

 

Questions raised by IWGB over pension implications for UoL HEE staff — September 19, 2018

Questions raised by IWGB over pension implications for UoL HEE staff

Following recent reports that the UoL is considering transferring staff to HEE, the IWGB has flagged up various issues – including that of pensions…see below for full correspondence and ask Danny (dannymillum@iwgb.co.uk) if you have any questions:

Dear Simon

Thanks for getting back to me, and sorry myself for this slightly delayed response. I note that you should now have met with HEE HR, and look forward to hearing more.

I am sure this will have been covered in your discussions, but I wanted to flag up the issue of pensions.

Staff have essentially been assured that there are no plans as yet to transfer them to HEE, and if they are transferred they will keep their UoL terms and conditions (as per TUPE).

However, we are not clear as to whether this would cover pensions. My experience of TUPE is limited to transfers to and between outsourcing companies, but in these instances the pension scheme does NOT transfer.

Can you therefore confirm that should HEE staff currently employed by UoL be TUPE’d to HEE, they would not just retain their terms and conditions, but also membership of the SAUL / USS pension scheme?

Best wishes

Danny

From: Simon Cain
Sent: 10 September 2018 17:10
To: Danny Millum <Danny.Millum@sas.ac.uk>; Elaine Walters <Elaine.Walters@sas.ac.uk>

Subject: RE: TUPE transfer of HEE staff – URGENT

Dear Danny,

I would first like to apologise for the delay in providing you with a response.

I will be meeting with my HR counterpart from Health Education England (HEE) on 18th September, after which I hope to be in a position to comment further on this matter as it relates to the University’s obligations under the ICE regulations.

In the meantime, I note that you have been forwarded a communication issued on behalf of HEE and UNISON, which clarifies that there is currently no discussion underway to transfer UoL HEE staff onto AfC contracts.

On a final note, I would like to reassure you that in that event that there is a transfer of staff, myself and my HEE counterparts, are fully aware of our respective obligations under the TUPE regulations.  The University would of course also ensure it complies with its obligations under the ICE Regulations.

Best wishes,

Simon

From: Danny Millum
Sent: 09 September 2018 19:08

Dear Simon

I have still not had a reply to the email below – would you be able to get back to me as a matter of some urgency?

I understand that you have confirmed to UNISON that even if a transfer of staff from UoL to HEE were to take place, staff would be able to retain their existing UoL terms and conditions.

I would like to clarify that this is in fact the legal position – that under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE), an employee’s terms and conditions of employment are protected when a business is transferred from one owner to another. In other words, it would be illegal for HEE to force staff onto AFC terms and conditions.

I would further note that that staff are still suffering the consequences of the massive workforce cuts implemented in 2016, and any suggestion that these staff should pay through worsened terms and conditions for an accounting error by HEE / UoL is completely unacceptable.

Best wishes

Danny

From: Danny Millum
Sent: 06 September 2018 11:29

Subject: TUPE transfer of HEE staff – URGENT
Importance: High

Dear Elaine and Simon

I understand that there are discussions underway to transfer UoL HEE staff onto AFC contracts.

Could you confirm full details of these plans if this is the case, and explain why these proposals have not been brought before the ICE forum in line with ICE Regulations?

This is a matter of some urgency so I would appreciate a response as soon as possible.

Best wishes

Danny

Danny Millum

IWGB ICE Representative

‘In-house’ fundraiser gives £2,000 boost to IWGB strike fund — September 18, 2018

‘In-house’ fundraiser gives £2,000 boost to IWGB strike fund

Thanks so much to everyone who came to the University of London ‘back in-house’ fundraiser party on 15 September, and to those who helped raise the money in a range of creative ways. These included raffle prizes donations and the organising of a well-run bingo session.

Some 200 people descended on SOAS for the event. We had an amazing time and managed to raise more than £2,000 which will help us continue the fight for justice and equality and support the next strike by outsourced workers at Senate House.

Translation

¡Muchísimas gracias a todos los que vinieron a la fiesta de recaudación de fondos para la campaña de la rama Universidad de Londres anoche, y tambien a todos quienes nos apoyaron y ayudaron a recaudar el dinero de diferentes maneras!

Definitivamente la pasamos genial y logramos recaudar más de £2000 para la próxima huelga y para seguir luchando por justicia y igualdad!

 HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE!

IWGB joins forces with UCL out-sourced cleaners —

IWGB joins forces with UCL out-sourced cleaners

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has been busily organising and recruiting cleaners at UCL who are currently undergoing TUPE transfer from their current contractor Tenon FM, to a new company, Sodexo. Although TUPE is designed to protect employees in this situation, history tells us they are right to be concerned.

The union recently met with this group of outsourced cleaners and their representatives, who have decided to organise en masse with the IWGB. They are tired of being exploited, badly treated, undermined and forced to work under worse employment conditions than their directly employed colleagues. Sounds familiar?

Like other IWGB members, the workers are hungry for justice and workplace equality. They will keep organising and building up towards their big campaign to have workers brought in-house at UCL.

Stay tuned for what is coming!!

Translation

 Muy buena reunion con los limpiadores y representantes subcontratados de UCL quienes han decidido organizarse en un gran numero con el sindicato IWGB después de estar cansados de ser explotados, irrespetados y con peores condiciones de empleo que sus colegas quienes trabajan directamente para la Universidad.

Ellos estan hambrientos de justicia e igualdad en su lugar de trabajo y seguirán organizandose y trabajando para su gran campaña!

¡Estén atentos para lo que se viene!

USS Pensions – the Joint Expert Panel reports… — September 13, 2018

USS Pensions – the Joint Expert Panel reports…

….the full report is here, but this is probably the key section:

Our analysis has highlighted a number of issues arising out of the methodology and
assumptions which we believe should be addressed. Furthermore, since the consultation on the 2017 valuation with employers, there have been a number of developments of relevance to the valuation assumptions. We have examined the impact of all these factors.

On the basis of our analysis we have made a number of recommendations, the overall effect of which would be to reduce the valuation estimates of the future service cost and deficit to the point where the increase is small enough to allow the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) to be able to reach an agreement so that the issues currently facing the Scheme can be resolved, recognising that compromise may be needed on all sides.

This thread from the FT’s Josephine Cumbo summarises the main recommendations.

Jo Grady has a useful take on what it all means here.

The IWGB believes:

  • some of the recommendations relating to the valuation are to be welcomed as they show that USS have used low valuations as an argument for cutting pensions.
  • the non-binding nature of the proposals is problematic
  • the suggestion of increased contributions from workers is ridiculous, as this would be a defacto pay cut (especially given the low ball offer on pay)
  • and finally that there is clear evidence of mismanagement at USS and UUK from the report, and therefore those responsible need to go.

We’ll be discussing all this at our next branch meeting on 26 September BUT if you have any thoughts please do drop our Education Officer Jamie a line (jamie.woodcock@gmail.com).

Finding another way: an open letter to the University of London’s new vice-chancellor —

Finding another way: an open letter to the University of London’s new vice-chancellor

Dear Professor Kopelman,

I am writing you in my capacity as General Secretary of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB).  Firstly, I’d like to congratulate you on your appointment as interim Vice-Chancellor and to welcome you to the University of London community.  I can assure you that many of your outsourced workers are looking to you with hope that your appointment will signify a departure from past practice and instead represent a more rational and humane approach to dealing with the industrial disputes at your doorstep.

As you will no doubt be aware, the IWGB is the largest trade union at the Central University.  We also represent the overwhelming majority of the outsourced workers.  When it comes to the outsourced workers the IWGB is the sole legitimate voice with whom the University could in good faith engage.  Unison, whilst undoubtedly able to boast high membership densities and a decent track record at other locations, for example, SOAS, cannot say the same at the Central University.

In fact they did such a terrible job that the outsourced workers left en masse  to join the IWGB.  To negotiate with Unison, on behalf of the outsourced workers, is therefore not only misguided, but is genuinely insulting to many in that workforce.  UCU on the other hand represents direct employees on grades 7 and above and as such does not even claim to represent the outsourced workers.

With this background one can assess the University of London’s strategic approach to dealing with the IWGB, which over the past few years has been as consistent as it has been ill-judged.  The University’s approach has been to respond to pressure from the IWGB in every instance (e.g. the 3 Cosas Campaign for sick pay, holidays, and pensions, the Back in House campaign against outsourcing, the triggering of the Information and Consultation procedures, etc.) by ignoring IWGB and instead engaging with the “recognised unions”.

In trying to look at the situation from an objective, analytical, and dispassionate- rather than partisan- perspective, I do understand the rationale.  The University sees the IWGB as radical, unwavering, and generally as people with whom they cannot do business.  The University views the recognised unions on the other hand as easy to work with, reasonable, and malleable.  By doing a deal with the recognised unions, the University can drape any decision they make in the shroud of legitimacy and industrial relations best practice.

The problem with this approach is that ultimately it makes the University’s problems worse, not better.  For the reasons explained above, the recognised unions have absolutely no mandate to do anything on behalf of the outsourced workers.  So negotiating with them achieves nothing.  They do not have the power to decide whether or not the campaign will continue nor do they have the power to make counteroffers that will calm the industrial strife.

Similarly, with the ICE example, trying to do a stitch up with the recognised unions instead of engaging with the IWGB in good faith resulted in two tribunal decisions against the University and uncounted wasted thousands in legal expenses.  Further, every time the University does something which feels like a slight to the outsourced workers, it only serves to pour fuel on the fire of the campaign.

I trust that the people who surround you will be pushing a certain narrative and approach when it comes to dealing with the outsourced workers, their campaign, and their union.  An approach that has been tried and failed time and time again.  I am writing to encourage you to take a step back and think for yourself on this one.

The IWGB is not some group of radical crazies with whom good faith dialogue and negotiation cannot be undertaken.  Our policies, approach, and actions are dictated democratically by the membership.  To dismiss us as radical unreasonable ideologues is to dismiss the cleaners, security guards, postroom staff, porters, and other outsourced workers who keep the University functioning as radical unreasonable ideologues.

What I would say better defines our approach is a ruthless pragmatism focused on deploying those tactics which will most effectively and quickly achieve our aims.  In the present case, our aim is to bring all workers back in house, asap, as our members believe it is unjustifiable to continuously subject the predominantly low paid, BME workforce to inferior treatment, terms and conditions.  Unfortunately, experience has taught us that high profile pressure campaigns tend to get the quickest results in winning these sorts of things.  If dialogue and negotiations were capable of achieving the same result they would absolutely be our preference.

I am therefore writing to make the same offer to you as I made to your predecessors: meet with us, negotiate with us, and we might be able to find a way out of the industrial strife.  Alternatively, the campaign will continue- we are about to begin balloting for another round of industrial action- the negative press coverage will continue, the legal cases will continue, further pressure tactics will be deployed, and the end result will be the same because we won’t stop until the workers are brought back in house on equal terms and conditions as their directly employed colleagues.

Many thanks in advance for your attention on this matter.

Kind regards,

Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee
General Secretary
IWGB

Last chance to buy raffle tickets for Saturday’s in-house campaign fundraiser! — September 12, 2018
New officer position – BME Officer — September 11, 2018
Important – proposed motion to commit IWGB to calling for a vote on the final Brexit deal —

Important – proposed motion to commit IWGB to calling for a vote on the final Brexit deal

At the next national IWGB Executive Meeting (it sounds grander than it is) we are going to be debating the following motion on Brexit, and it would be great for members to let us know their views.

We’ll be talking about it at the branch meeting on 26 September, but if you want to email any thoughts to Danny (dannymillum@iwgb.co.uk) beforehand that would be great!

Motion: IWGB updated policy on Brexit

Proposed by: Jason Moyer-Lee

Background:

  1. 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.
  2. Despite our policy we were not particularly active in any of the referendum campaigning.
  3. Although we have been involved in some Brexit-related activity- e.g. intervening in the Article 50 Supreme Court case in order to argue for Parliament having a vote on triggering Brexit- we have not updated our policy since the referendum.
  4. In general, it is wise for the union to steer clear of political debates, especially divisive and controversial ones. We represent a broad spectrum of members and respect their views. For this reason we are not affiliated to any political party. However, Brexit and/or the shape it takes has a direct and significant effect on the IWGB and its members and it is therefore appropriate and important for us to have a position on it.
  5. 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 will be too. And 50% of our staff are here on EU passports. The restriction on free movement that would come with a hard Brexit could decrease these people’s rights as workers in the UK. It could make it harder for them to bring family members over. 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 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 almost entirely dependent on EU law superseding UK law.
    3. Economy. There is 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 focussing 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.
  6. 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 and within the Labour party. 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. Our taking a position might also reassure some of those members who are finding themselves in a precarious position and perhaps even considering leaving the UK.

Motion:

The IWGB should adopt the following updated position on Brexit, which follows on logically from our previous 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.
IWGB is looking for English language teachers! —
Correction: Implementation of 2018-19 pay award will be in October — September 3, 2018

Correction: Implementation of 2018-19 pay award will be in October

We would like to apologise to members who attended last Wednesday’s IWGB meeting at Senate House where they were told that the two per cent pay award had been implemented. This was an unintentional error.

Plans are to implement the award in the October payroll. However, unions have rejected this nationally and, currently ballots for strike action are taking place.

We will keep you up-to-date with developments.

 

Job opportunity – IWGB Branch Organiser and Caseworker at the University of London — August 31, 2018

Job opportunity – IWGB Branch Organiser and Caseworker at the University of London

As a consequence of our recent rapid growth, expansion into new workplaces and increased campaign activity the University of London IWGB Branch is looking for a branch organiser and caseworker.

2 days a week initially, but increasing to at least 3 and possibly more in future. This is a permanent position.

The majority of our members are outsourced migrant workers, often with English as a second language, and as a consequence this requires a different approach to union organising than the traditional top down service model.

The role will involve:

  • assisting our campaigns officer, including working on the ongoing University of London in-house campaign
  • mapping workplaces and updating membership lists
  • improving branch communication both through social media, email, text and Whatsapp and in person
  • organising meetings
  • organising and liaising with workers (particularly outsourced) to increase participation, resolve workplace issues and build branch capacity
  • performing basic casework

The ideal candidate will:

  • speak Spanish (essential)
  • have experience of campaign organising
  • have experience of working with and representing low-paid outsourced workers
  • have some casework / employment law experience
  • enjoy working with, enthusing and engaging workers from different backgrounds often working long hours in a variety of precarious jobs

BUT if you think you’re up for this then please do apply – the major essential requirements are enthusiasm and commitment to a tough but unbelievably worthwhile and rewarding job!

Please send a short CV and covering letter to sebastienflais@iwgb.co.uk by 14 September 2018. Any questions contact Danny at dannymillum@iwgb.co.uk.

Everyone working for the IWGB gets paid London Living Wage + £1 (currently £11.20) and receives a good sick pay / holiday / pension package.

SOAS ENDS OUTSOURCING FOR EVER — August 29, 2018

SOAS ENDS OUTSOURCING FOR EVER

From today every single SOAS worker is employed directly on SOAS terms and conditions.

This is massive – they fought for TEN YEARS for this.

Huge congratulations to all the workers and campaigners – and a special shout out to the great Sandy Nicoll…

University of London?

 

Latest news from the University re in-housing —

Latest news from the University re in-housing

Thanks to UCU for passing on the reply below from Chris Cobb with some more concrete details as to the in-house process and timetable.

For the first time we have some almost concrete dates for some workers. The key section is below, and should be viewed as a massive concrete success for the in-house campaign, in that we now know that soon many outsourced workers will be in-house.

In other words, our tactics are working.

However, it is now even more important that we intensify our efforts when the new academic year starts to force the University to ensure ALL workers are in-house by June next year. (Details of the next steps of the campaign will follow soon!)

The current planning is focused on the following services: security, reception, switchboard, porters, post room, AV and cleaning. 

If our current planning progresses as anticipated and our plans are subsequently accepted by the Board of Trustees in the autumn, our aim would be to put in a place an in-house service provision for reception, porters, post room and AV during the second and third (calendar) quarters of 2019.

You will understand that we are not able to be absolute in our timings and the above provisional timings will be subject to discussion with our suppliers and further informed by our, and our suppliers, statutory obligations in respect of the people they (our suppliers) employ to work at the University.

The security and cleaning services are quite complex in that they involve more work streams than the other services and rely on specialist contractors to an extent that the other services do not.  The planning in relation to these services will inevitably therefore take longer.  Our aim however is to be in a position to outline a provisional timeline in relation to cleaning services by the end of October 2018 and in relation to security by December 2018.

We are not yet in a position to add anything by way of further update in relation to our hard FM, catering and grounds services for the reasons set out in the statement of 29th June 2018.  Please be assured however that we remain in active discussion with the current service providers.

The full letter is available here.

Proposal to create a new officer post – BME Officer — August 22, 2018

Proposal to create a new officer post – BME Officer

Following the recent creation of new posts for health and safety and women’s officers, it has been suggested that we should also create a black and minority ethnic officer.

Given the large proportion of BME members in the UoL branch AND the ongoing discrimination many of them face as outsourced workers we are keen to make sure that they are properly represented.

We will be voting on this at the next branch meeting (Wednesday 29 August, 1230, Lower Mezzanine Floor) and it would be great to have your thoughts and for anyone interested to volunteer.

Drop Danny dannymillum@iwgb.co.uk if you have any questions.

Saturday 15 September! Fundraising Fiesta! All welcome! —
One university should mean one workforce: it is time to end discrimination at UoL — August 15, 2018

One university should mean one workforce: it is time to end discrimination at UoL

Despite the wishes of the majority of its staff, the biggest strikes by outsourced workers in higher education history, support from high-profile politicians, and £700,000 wasted on extra security, the University of London (UoL) refuses to commit to ending its discriminatory two-tier workforce.

Not even the acres of negative press nor the heartfelt pleas from outsourced staff, the majority of who are from BME backgrounds, have managed to make a chink in the armour of the university’s senior management team.

Incidentally, 80 per cent of the institution’s directly employed staff are white. And guess what? Unlike their outsourced BME colleagues, they have enviable pension arrangements and holiday entitlements, are entitled to sick pay and good maternity and paternity pay. Moreover, the university’s ‘dignity at work’ policy ensures they are treated with respect.

All of this point to institutionalised discrimination, and it is a disgrace.

Please email the university’s new vice-chancellor, Peter Kopelman (vice-chancellor@london.ac.uk) and ask him to end discrimination at UoL and bring workers in-house by June 2019.

 

 

 

Save the date – Saturday 15 September, fundraising party for UoL in-house campaign —
15 SEPTIEMBRE – FIESTA PARA RECAUDAR FONDOS PARA CAMPAÑA BACK IN HOUSE —
First aid allowance — August 8, 2018

First aid allowance

One of the issues raised by IWGB representatives at the Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) forum at the end of July related to payments to first-aiders by the University of London (UoL).

It was pointed out that the allowance, which is currently £8.50 per month, has not increased for 15 years and is not in line with other organisations. Moreover, at the time of the meeting, it transpired that some first-aiders are not even being paid at all.

The university was asked to review this, and IWGB can now report that the human resources and organisational and staff development departments are looking into the issue. This includes a review of what other higher education institutions pay for such a role.

In the meantime, any first-aiders who are not getting paid for their duties or have any questions regarding back pay should email Elizabeth.Morcom@london.ac.uk.

New officer positions —

New officer positions

Jonathan
Our new Health and Safety Officer, the extremely well-read Jonathan Blaney

At last week’s branch we voted unanimously to create 2 new positions:

  • Women’s Officer
  • Health and Safety Officer

Jonathan Blaney was elected as Health and Safety Officer – if anyone has any issues realting to health and saftey that they would like the union to take forward then please contact him at jonathan.blaney@sas.ac.uk.

Anyone interested in the Women’s Officer position should email catherinemorrissey@iwgb.co.uk – we’ll be electing the new officer at the next meeting!

Help us end discrimination against workers and #CleanUpOutsourcing — August 7, 2018

Help us end discrimination against workers and #CleanUpOutsourcing

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has launched a legal challenge that could help end discrimination against the ‘invisible’ outsourced workforce that ensures that our offices, schools and universities run smoothly day after day. They include those who work in cleaning, security, receptions, catering and maintenance.

Last year the IWGB started a legal challenge over the rights of 75 outsourced workers at the University of London (UoL) who are employed through Cordant, the facilities management company. The union believes the university is the de-factor employer with ultimate decision-making power over the workers’ terms and conditions. Therefore, they should be able to collectively bargain directly with UoL, but this has been denied putting the university, says the union, in breach of article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees trade union rights.

If successful, the case, which has been given permission to be heard in the High Court, would change the lives of the 75 workers at the University of London and some 3.3 million other outsourced employees.

But the establishment is closing ranks to try and stop it. The Tory government has decided to join the University of London in resisting our challenge and will be arguing that the European Convention of Human Rights cannot be interpreted in a way that extends these workers’ rights.

Outsourced workers, the majority of whom are migrants and BAME, tend to suffer from far worse terms and conditions because they are not employed directly by the place where they work, but by third party facilities management companies.

As the Guardian columnist and economics commentator, Aditya Chakrabortty, points out “Outsourcing breeds economic apartheid, in which workers who are nearly all from ethnic minorities, including cleaners who are almost without exception women, are exploited in a way that would never happen to the mostly white academics and managers whose employment contracts are with the university.”

Despite the establishment’s attempt to stop us from taking on the anachronistic and exploitative practice of outsourcing we are determined to fight until the end. Our fantastic legal team of solicitors from Harrison Grant, and renowned barristers John Hendy QC and Sarah Fraser Butlin, will robustly challenge the university and the government.

Unfortunately, the court has denied the IWGB cost protection. This means that if the union loses it could be forced to pay the legal costs of the university, Cordant and the government. The final bill could be in the hundreds of thousands of pounds, but we are setting up an initial target for the crowdfund of £10,000.

Thankfully, we are not alone. The Good Law Project, aware of the importance of this case, has decided to back it with an initial donation of £5,000. Please Join them and help us #CleanUpOutsourcing by pledging whatever amount you can afford. See details here and here.

Any money that isn’t spent will go into the IWGB’s fighting fund, to take on other exploitative companies and practices.

 

Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) forum update — August 1, 2018

Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) forum update

Last Wednesday was the third meeting of the Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) forum.

HR’s official minutes will be posted on the intranet soon (with old ones kept here) but in the meantime, detailed notes taken by one of your IWGB staff reps is available here. It was a long meeting with lots of discussion, so edited highlights are below.

As always, please feel free to contact ICE representatives with any questions, comments or matters to raise next time.

With the exception of information about policies they’re updating, everything we’ve discussed so far has been originally raised by staff so it really does work. In particular, please do let us know your views on the issue of the London weighting debate being reopened as this has the potential to positively impact staff in all areas.

IN BRIEF – matters discussed 25.7.18

London weighting

IWGB reps raised that the final amount from the previous agreement will be paid in August but the issue can be re-opened because the London Living Wage rose by more than 6 per cent (it rose by 11.5 per cent).

There will be a JNCC meeting on 6 August about it but all staff cannot attend. We will push for another meeting on this – we want your views. We will continue to raise this and keep you posted.

Business World (BW)

It was noted that staff are not happy with the delivery of the system, although Ghazwa Alwani-Starr (GA-S), present in a managerial capacity, said her impression is that everyone in her department thinks it’s great.

Reasons cited for issues with BW were that UoL (University of London) had to move quickly from Northgate (old system) to Business World in a short period of time to deliver the basic requirements needed. Market was tested and apparently Agresso is the only thing that can deliver ‘what we need’.

A lot of work was done, especially on background functions, but did not have enough time. Also issues with ‘holes in the data’ inherited from Northgate.

Problems were particularly raised re Saturday working in the Library: system was unprepared for this. The manager responsible undertook to meet library employees to discuss.

Facilities Management services review

A robust discussion took place.

G Alwani-Starr reported that a revised customer services/security model will be put to the Board of Trustees (BoT) in November.

ICE reps noted this is irrelevant. What the workers want to know is when they will be treated equally. There is a deadline for that. If that is not met, their campaign continues. Every worker who was shown the Uni’s statement on this was uncomprehending or angry. Noted that UoL is taking completely the wrong approach to this.

GA-S responded that the BoT has stated they are concerned about charitable objects and return on investment.

IWGB ICE reps noted that workers in these fields weren’t always outsourced in the past so there is no contradiction with the university’s charity or business aims, just a return to the state of 15 years ago. Reps invited Board of Trustees to come to the ICE forum and discuss it if this is confusing.

Asbestos

A standing item after the re-discovery of asbestos that had supposedly been removed.

The asbestos management plan is being finalised and will go to Chair of Health and Safety committee for comments/approval soon.

Referrals should be made to Occupational Health for anyone concerned.

DM: Kim Frost promised for 6 months that he would provide us with history of how asbestos issue has been handled, and left before doing so. Asked for this to be supplied.

USS pensions reform

The ‘deficit’ has been revised already – from £17bn quoted before, now saying £8bn.

Nonetheless, a proposal will be put to staff to increase contributions from 8 per cent:18 per cent to 8.8 per cent members’ contributions, 19.5 per cent employers, followed by further increases.

Information will be on intranet and Q&A sessions for staff will be held in autumn.

Dignity at work policy

… has been finalised. Much discussion about whether or not it also applies to outsourced staff. To be confirmed by next meeting.

Family friendly policies

… are being reviewed, including redundancy policy. A full list of policies under review will be communicated and circulated for comment once finalised.

University to confirm whether these policies will apply to HEE staff on UoL contracts.

First aid policy

IWGB Reps raised that payments to first-aiders have not increased for 15 years and appear not to be in line with other organisations. Some first aiders are not even being paid at all. The university was asked to review this and report back.

SAS website costs

Quote is £0.25 million. EW confident we will not pay that amount.

Lower ground floor access

CW noted staff had enjoyed use of staircase briefly. GA-S said Deller Hall staircase will reopen soon.

 

UCU pensions update — July 31, 2018

UCU pensions update

Below is copy of a letter from Tim Hall, UCU’s Senate House Branch Chair, updating its members on the issues around pensions and the latest information from the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

 

Dear Members,

I understand that this is a bit of a long one but I wanted for you all to be as informed as possible so please do take the time to read it.

By now, most of you will have received an email from HR sent on behalf of USS. The email explained what their plan for cost sharing will look like:

Under the 2017 valuation that USS approved in November 2017, contributions will eventually rise by 10.6 per cent from 26 per cent of salary (18 per cent employer, 8 per cent member) to 36.6 per cent (24.9 per cent employer, 11.7 per cent member) in order to retain the status quo.

Why is the cost-sharing rule being implemented in USS?
Members will already know that under its current valuation, USS is in deficit. USS has been claiming for months that it is legally obliged to have a plan in place for dealing with that deficit. But the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) will not make any decisions about the current valuation until September 2018, and the previous plan to recover the deficit by removing the Defined Benefit element of the scheme was left in tatters after strike action by our members: you!

As a result, USS has chosen to trigger a process known as ‘cost-sharing’, although it is better described by the phrase ‘shared contribution increases’. Under Rules 76.4–8 of the scheme, the trustee can require employers and members to increase their contributions to the rate which they deem sufficient. This decision has been made without the pension regulator’s enforcement – they are still happy for UUK, USS, and UCU to resolve this without their intervention.

We must stay vigilant because there are few signs that UUK has abandoned its long-standing goal of transferring as much of the cost and the risk of pension provision onto employees as possible. Prior to the USS dispute, UUK used a manufactured deficit in USS to represent Defined Benefit pensions as unaffordable. The JEP arose out of USS members’ growing appreciation that the deficit was, in fact, illusory, and the reforms which it had been used to justify were not needed. More information on the JEP can be found on the UCU website at this address: https://www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss

Pension Contribution Calculator
Here’s a tool that lets you get an idea of how much more you can expect to pay in contributions under this new plan: https://beta.observablehq.com/@scjoss/uss-cost-sharing.

It’s important to note that UniversitiesUK had the option of taking up the extra member increases themselves should they have wished to do so, but turned it down. That would have been possible by a resolution of the JNC. UCU negotiator Sam Marsh pushed for UniversitiesUK to cover the full burden of interim cost sharing, given strike was entirely UUK’s fault and we’ve already lost a lot of money via strike deductions. This seemed a fair compromise. Again, UUK said no – hence it falls to us all.

Now it looks like USS are prepared to listen to a rethink from UUK on their ‘risk-appetite’ (which if you remember, most said they were willing to stay will current level, with some saying they’d be happy with increase – UUK decided to go with the minority of employers and push through a low-risk appetite strategy). This is an area the JEP are likely to comment on. The hope will be that a change to the Test 1 parameter will lead to a resolution to this dispute but it’s important to keep informed.

Pay Dispute
If you haven’t been following UCU’s national email communications: following the e-ballot on pay and equality members completed in late spring 2018, UCU members will now be asked to vote formally in a statutory ballot opening towards the end of August and closing in mid-October. The current employer offer is 2%. When taking inflation into account as well, it’s clear that our take-home pay will go down by more than 2% in the next year.

Bill Galvin, Chief Executive of USS, has seen a 31% pay rise over last 2 years. On top of drastic increases to the cost of living and a decade of pay-rises below inflation, we’re getting hit again with increased pension contributions. All this adding up to a hefty pay-cut. The latest imposed pension arrangements amount to a 3.7% pay cut, plus 6.9% loss of potential pay. All of this so university leaders can remove USS (i.e. our future pay) from their financial liabilities. Please bear this in mind when the UCU ballots on their 2% pay offer.

Excellent information can be found on https://ussbriefs.com – A website built and populated with content by UCU members volunteering their time and expertise to keep the rest of us informed.

If you have any questions please email ucu@london.ac.uk.

All my best,

Tim Hall
UCU Senate House Branch Chair

 

Opportunity – new post of University of London IWGB ‘women’s officer’ — July 27, 2018

Opportunity – new post of University of London IWGB ‘women’s officer’

womenAt next week’s branch meeting we’ll be voting on an exciting proposal – to create a new post of ‘women’s officer’ for our local branch.

As women’s officer you would:

  • Support and encourage women members to take an active role in the branch
  • Work closely with the national women’s officer on campaigns affecting branch members
  • Form connections with other women’s groups to promote solidarity
  • Be point of contact for campaigns and issues affecting women members in particular

As well as anything else you want to bring to the role!

Contact Catherine Morrissey (catherinemorrissey@iwgb.co.uk) for details.

We’re looking to build on the success of the fantastic 10 July IWGB Leading Women event, which highlighted the discrimination that outsourced women at the University of London face, and featured a fantastic line-up of speakers:

Mildred – LSE cleaners/UVW

Catherine Mayer – women’s equality party

Ayesha Hazarika – comedian/former labour adviser

Liliana Almanza – UoL cleaner/IWGB

Councillor Bélgica Guanía – 1st Ecuadorean councillor in U.K. – lab (newham))

Nilufer – activist in TGI Fridays campaign

Marta Luna Marroquín – retired cleaner & veteran of 3 cosas campaign at uol / IWGB

Lucia Zapata – general secretary of Socialist Youth, Uruguay

Meg Brown – Chair, Couriers & Logistics branch IWGB

lw2

Taller sobre derechos laborales en el Reino Unido – Sabado 28 de Julio — July 25, 2018
Details on the SOAS in-house transfer — July 20, 2018

Details on the SOAS in-house transfer

At a recent FM Services meeting at Senate House, Chris Cobb, the University of London’s chief operating officer, attempted to play down SOAS’s plans to bring their outsourced workers back in-house by 1 September. Below Danny Millum, the IWGB’s branch secretary, responded to his claims that the SOAS situation does not compare to that of the University of London.

Dear Chris

Following last week’s FM Services meeting, I just wanted to clarify a couple of issues that were raised relating to the SOAS in-house process.

Firstly, I can confirm that this is proceeding as planned, and will be completed on the planned date of 1 September 2018. The relevant documents are attached, and I think it’s very clear from these what a straightforward process this is. Secondly, you stated in the meeting that the University of London was 4 times bigger than SOAS. However, I have had it confirmed that the SOAS transfer will involve 160-170 employees, and at the University we are probably talking about around 300, so I think it’s important to be clear that the difference between the two cases is much less than was claimed.

Thirdly, it is worth noting that prior to their in-house announcement SOAS was occupied for weeks and had been subject to endless protests and bad publicity. Since Baroness Amos made her clear announcement they have had a year without problems and controversy.

I hope this clearly shows that SOAS provides a straightforward model that the UoL could and should adopt tomorrow, which would be benefit workers and University alike.

Best wishes

Danny

Danny Millum
Branch Secretary
University of London IWGB

 

London Weighting – secret clause in 2015 deal could mean a further increase for UoL staff! — July 18, 2018

London Weighting – secret clause in 2015 deal could mean a further increase for UoL staff!

So if you remember the London Weighting campaign, we ended up having to settle for a gradual increase up to c3500 – and the University suggested that the issue was now closed….

However, it’s come to our attention that there was a clause in the original agreement which allowed LW to be revisited if the London Living Wage went up by more than 6% by 2018.

They obviously thought it wouldn’t happen – BUT IT DID!

We have just sent the following email to Simon Cain and Chris Cobb – do give Danny (dannymillum@iwgb.co.uk) or Rebecca (rebeccadooley@iwgb.org.uk) a shout with any thoughts….

Dear Simon

I am writing with regard to the issue of London Weighting at the University of London, which as I am sure you were aware was the subject of a campaign in 2014/2015 which saw the following offer eventually imposed:

  1. LW to increase by equal amounts of £273 every year from 1 August 2014 up to £3,500 on 1 August 2018. The rates would therefore be:

01/08/2014   £2,407

01/08/2015   £2,680

01/08/2016   £2,954

01/08/2017  £3,227

01/08/2018   £3,500

  1. LW to be consolidated into basic pay with immediate effect.
  2. Any national pay increases in the period to 2018 to only apply to pay less LW (i.e. LW will not go up any further than the amounts specified above in the four-year period). Any national pay increases after 2018 will be applied in full to consolidated pay;
  3. If the London Living Wage (currently £9.15) rises by 6% or more between now and 2018, London Weighting can be reviewed again during that period. If the rise in the LLW is below 6% then discussions will not be entered into.

As you can see, the trigger for the London Weighting settlement to be reopened was to be a rise of MORE than 6% in the London Living Wage.

The London Living Wage rose to £10.20 in November 2017. This is an increase of 11.5% on the 2014 rate.

As such, it is clear that London Weighting has been completely outstripped by the cost of living in London as defined by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence about living standards in London and the UK.

 Can you therefore confirm that London Weighting will be reviewed, in line with the commitments made by the University at the time?

Best wishes

Danny