Campaña para trabajar directamente para la Universidad ‘back in house’ ¿si o no? — August 23, 2017

Campaña para trabajar directamente para la Universidad ‘back in house’ ¿si o no?

El sindicato esta organizando una reunión especial para los trabajadores de la rama Universidad de Londres, para discutir el tema de esta campana.

¡Anoten esta fecha!

¿Cuándo?

El sábado 9 de septiembre 2017, de 1-3pm

¿Dónde?

En Senate House – salon Wolfson Suite, IHR (sótano)

¿De que se trata?

Reciemente, compañeros trabajadores de la Universidad de SOAS y del LSE lograron ganar sus campañas para ‘trabajar directamente para la Universidad’ lo cual significa que ya no seran subcontratados y desde el proximo ano trabajaran directamente para el instituto donde trabajan, los cuales tambien forman parte de la Universidad de Londres.

Como ustedes saben, nosotros  hemos tenido muchos problemas con las companias subcontratadoras, por ejemplo por pagos, por falta de comunicacion y por muchas razones mas. Esta tal vez sea una campana dificil de ganarla pero no imposible si nos unimos tambien.

¿Queremos hacer una campaña similar? Eso es lo que tenemos que decidir.

Por eso, nececitamos las voces de todos los miembros afectados.

Este es tu trabajo, tu sindicato, y tu decision.

¡Asiste y ven a dar tu punto de vista y tu voto!

Recuerda que de tu participacion depende el tener un fututo mejor y un trabajo mas digno y seguro!

Para mas detalles, hable con: Emiliano (emilianomellino@iwgb.co.uk / 07506684192), Henry, Maritza, Danny o Catherine.

Te esperamos!!

 

Branch meeting – this Friday, 12.30pm, Lower Mezzanine Room, IHR —

Branch meeting – this Friday, 12.30pm, Lower Mezzanine Room, IHR

Branch meeting on Friday – usual place, usual time!

As ever, it would be really great if you could spare half-an-hour to attend – we’ve got lost of important stuff to talk about, including

  • the big strike and demo which is planned at the University of London for the 27 September
  • our pay rise (don’t get too excited)
  • the QSG review and other planned UoLIA reviews

As ever, if you have any suggestions for the agenda just let us know, and if you get lost give me a call on 07783719479!

See you Friday

Cheers

Danny

UoL implements 1.7% pay rise – ICE forum volunteers needed! — August 17, 2017

UoL implements 1.7% pay rise – ICE forum volunteers needed!

You may have seen on the Intranet that the national pay negotiations have concluded and the national unions (including UCU and Unison) have accepted the final offer of a 1.7% pay rise. This will therefore be implemented from 1 August and will appear in our August salary.

As in previous years, we feel that this offer is completely inadequate but, as all of the nationally-negotiating unions have already accepted it, we will not be taking action to oppose it. We will instead be sure to start the campaign for a better pay rise next year in earnest!

This also seems like a good time to say that the University will be required to start taking action to create the ICE forum very shortly and we need you to volunteer to be representatives! While we may be unable to negotiate pay at a national level, we can use the ICE forum to vocalise our opposition to the continued below par offers, which can in turn impact on national negotiations! We therefore need the ICE forum to have some real teeth and be filled with as many IWGB members as possible!!!

Please get in touch with Rebecca if you would be interested in becoming an ICE representative!

UoL replies to IWGB’s asbestos questions — August 16, 2017

UoL replies to IWGB’s asbestos questions

Kim Frost has replied to IWGB’s questions about asbestos in University of London buildings. The full reply is below. If you’ve got any additional concerns, please get in touch with Danny.

Dear Danny,

I am sorry that absence from the office has meant my reply has come later than I would normally have hoped. You have asked a number of questions and I’ll address each in turn:

  1. That the University provide a full asbestos management plan 

The asbestos management plan has been amended and updated.  The draft will be submitted for review and approval by the Health and Safety Committee which is scheduled to meet on the 25th September 2017.  Members’ comments will be  incorporated and the final version of the plan will be published on the intranet once finally approved by the Committee. A copy will also be provided to relevant UoL and Bouygues staff.

  1. That the University (as promised in February) provide a fully accessible and up to date asbestos survey database 

We have now collated all existing surveys into one location and the University’s Compliance Manager, as well as Bouygues managers are able to access this information when needed. Asbestos surveyors are currently being appointed to resurvey the entire estates to ensure accuracy of our records,. Once this work is complete a full web based data base will become available.

In the meantime, and to manage any risks of exposure, all works to any part of the estate by any contractor, which requires intervention with the fabric of any of the buildings, is being managed through the helpdesk. A protocol is in place to ensure that the Compliance Manager reviews and approves works, confirming status of asbestos surveys of the affected area before any work is carried out.

  1. That the University arrange for a full medical examination and scan for all employees who wish it 

The University will arrange for individual referrals to Occupational Health.  University of London and Bouygues staff should contact Claire Westgate and Rachel Harris (HR Department, University of London) if they would like a referral to be arranged.  Where the Occupational Health report recommends a follow-up x-ray/scan, and it is not possible to obtain this within a clinically appropriate timeframe, the University will arrange for this to take place privately.

Contact details for HR:

Claire Westgate          Rachel Harris

  1. That the University commission an independent review into the handling of this issue 

The University has engaged with independent advisors and specialists since we became aware of this matter.  Martin Stear BSc DipOH CFFOH (Chartered Occupational Hygienist) has attended the University on two occasions (December 2016 and July 2017) to provide briefings and 1:1 sessions with University of London and Bouygues staff.  Following the briefing with Martin Stear on 20th July, the University will be setting up a Compliance sub-group. This sub-group will be responsible for the governance of compliance matters across the University, including the management of asbestos. It will report to Health and Safety Committee and its membership will include Trade Union representatives from UCU and Unison, UoL staff representatives and representatives from Bouygues and other contractors as appropriate.  The terms of reference of this sub-group will be drawn up over the coming weeks and the first meeting will be arranged for the start of the academic year.

  1. That the University provide compensation for the stress and potential health and safety impact of this exposure produced by their negligence 

University of London members of staff have access to the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) through the staff benefits portal.  The EAP can provide confidential legal advice should anyone wish to discuss any individual circumstances or concerns.  The University has arranged for members of staff from Bouygues to also be able to contact the University’s EAP helpline. Contact details will be provided through Greg Hayman. The University does not accept that it has been negligent in respect of the management of University buildings.

  1. That the University contact ALL potentially affected ex-employees as soon as possible 

The University has received advice that it is reasonable for the University to focus contact on current employees and contractors at this time.  However, the University’s records include all those who we know are likely to have been exposed and should we be contacted by ex-employees in relation to this matter then we will share the information and advice that we have received.

  1. That the University immediately close and seal off the Student Central pool area 

The pool area is closed and sealed off.  Where access is still permitted, the University can confirm that this is because it is safe to do so.  No members of staff are being asked to work in any unsafe areas; a review of the estate has been carried out and any unsafe areas have been locked down with access only permitted to those who have had the appropriate training.

Best wishes

Kim

Amazing news from SOAS – all staff to be brought back in-house by September 2018 —

Amazing news from SOAS – all staff to be brought back in-house by September 2018

SOAS has agreed to bring all its core support workers in-house by September 2018, the school announced on Friday in an e-mail sent to all its students.

The announcement has brought forward by 12 months existing plans to self-deliver cleaning services by 2019, according to a letter sent by the University to the Student’s Union. It also extends the changes to apply to all of its core services staff; including catering, security and various other essential support staff. Overall this will bring in house more than 120 workers who currently are outsourced.

Under this agreement, all workers will be entitled to “equal terms and conditions with existing SOAS employees”, including sick pay, pensions and holidays. The changes will apply to all outsourced staff regardless of whether they are employed full-time, part-time, or on casual contracts.

This is a massive victory at SOAS – and also a sign of things to come at the University of London!

See the SOAS Justice for Workers page for more details!

End Precarious Labour! Demonstrate against Uber / support UoL outsoruced workers, 27 September — August 14, 2017

End Precarious Labour! Demonstrate against Uber / support UoL outsoruced workers, 27 September

The IWGB is planning a big precarious labour bonanza march through central London in September!

On the 27th of September Uber will be appealing last year’s Employment Tribunal decision which awarded ‘worker’ status to Uber drivers. The lead claimants in this case are members of the IWGB. We are going to march through central London to the Employment Appeal Tribunal in support of our members and all Uber drivers, and to show ‘gig economy’ bosses, the courts and the British public that we will not lie down as our employment rights are taken away!

On the same day at the University of London security officers, porters and postroom staff will be staging their next strike action – and the march will culminate back on the picket line at the University!

Expect music, dancing, shouting, banners, workers and supporters.

All forms of precarious labour – Deliveroo drivers, outsourced cleaners, researchers, those on zero-hour contracts, foster carers – are invited to come out and unite for Precarious Labour Strikes Back!

A recent report estimated that up to 10 million Britons are in insecure work. The way that ‘gig economy’ companies like Uber and Deliveroo withold employment rights from their workers is only one part of this. More and more of us find ourselves with little to no employment protections and lower real wages: uniting behind Uber drivers is a way of strengthening the fight back!

Facebook event here

Download the flyer here [PDF]

A sponsored walk for the IWGB Legal Department —

A sponsored walk for the IWGB Legal Department

A group from the IWGB are going to be walking the Thames on the 28th of October to raise funds for the IWGB legal department. This event is part of the London Legal Support Trust’s (LLST) Thames Walk which takes place on the 28th of October 2017. Last year, organising at the last minute, an IWGB team of five walkers managed to raise £3,000 in sponsorship for our legal centre. This year we can raise more!

We want more members to sign up for the walk, and/or sponsor us. We’ve set up a Virgin Giving page (for which LLST handles all the administration and charges no fee) and all the money raised goes back to the IWGB legal centre.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=IWGBUnionWTT17&isTeam=true.

You can pledge money there, and there are also paper sponsorship forms available.

If you would like to take part in the walk, then write to Joe Trapido, (joetrapido@iwgb.org.uk). If you want paper sponsorship forms I can get them for you as well (though it is easier for you to use the Virgin Giving page as it will collect the money automatically after the walk). You can walk or cycle and you can do the full 26 miles or you can do half the distance, starting in the morning at London Bridge or in the afternoon at Putney.

Please get all your friends, family, workmates, rich people you happen to know, etc. to give money, and please share the link on Facebook, Snapchat, etc.

Why the legal department?

The IWGB has a very effective legal department, and we devote far more man hours to defending members’ rights than a normal trade union. But this costs money and we regularly fundraise to make sure it can keep going. The department has two main roles – to handle the day-to-day problems that members have, especially related to disciplinary and grievance procedures, and to bring cases to court where this is necessary. The IWGB has won a series of important victories in the courts for our members, and all of this was based on the work of the legal department.

This helps you as a member because the legal department will fight for you in the most determined and professional way possible, if you have a problem. But it also helps because management learns quickly that you don’t mess with our legal department, so in the workplaces where they have made their mark, the casual forms of employer abuse that were once common disappear.

We do this as cheaply as possible (ask to see our accounts if you are in any doubt) but it does cost money! The legal department has office costs, and salary costs, and we urgently need to fund the position of a translator. So sign up, give us money, and tell the world about the sponsored Thames walk…

Keeping the lifeline going: The ESOL classes need your help —

Keeping the lifeline going: The ESOL classes need your help

Since its beginnings the IWGB has been offering English classes to its members. The interest in these courses has shown how vital it is for immigrants to get this kind of support, as it helps them increase their confidence and gives them the tools to navigate their daily lives in London.

In July 2016 the IWGB received private funding which allowed the union to start the Sadiq Scholarship Fund, and with that support we started the organisation of fully funded English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes. Since then, the course has been run by professional teachers and with no more than four students per class. The course has proved to be a big success, taking students from E1 level to E2 in less than a year.

As we move forward, IWGB is committed to the continuation and ongoing development of these classes. However, this past June was the last month the union received the private funding that allowed for the classes to be organised. Now we need your help to be able to keep providing these classes. We hope to raise funding not only to continue the current course at E2, but to also add an additional E1 course running in tandem, so that we can cater for a larger proportion of our members.

As Maya Refaat, one of the teachers and administrators of the programme has stated, “ESOL classes provide much more than a chance to learn English: they are a lifeline; a gateway to integrate into a new community, make new friends and combat loneliness, improve confidence and set sights on ambitions never before conceived to be possible.”

Please go to https://www.fundsurfer.com/crowdfund/english-for-speakers-of-other-languages-esol-classes-at-iwgb and donate whatever you can, so that we can keep the lifeline going.

UCU votes to accept low pay offer of 1.7% — August 2, 2017

UCU votes to accept low pay offer of 1.7%

In a very disappointing development, UCU members have voted to accept UCEA’s pay offer of 1.7%. This offer is substantially below inflation, and represents a real-terms pay cut, for yet another year. In June, inflation stood at 2.9%.

Turnout was 48.6%. 64.6% of members voted to accept the offer, and 51.4% of members voted that they would not be prepared to take industrial action.

You can view the full report on the vote on the UCU’s site.

The IWGB has consistently argued for negotiating position based on a starting offer of at least 5% – which is still considerably below what staff would be receiving had pay risen in line with inflation. If you’ve got any questions about the UCEA negotiations or next steps, please get in touch.

Supreme Court finds employment tribunal fees discriminatory —

Supreme Court finds employment tribunal fees discriminatory

Last week, the Supreme Court found that employment tribunal fees were discriminatory and unlawful. As a result of this ruling, the IWGB will be seeking back the thousands of pounds in fees that it has paid on behalf of its members. Our press release is below:

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), the leading trade union for workers in the so-called “gig economy”, welcomes the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision stating that employment tribunal fees are in breach of British and EU laws.

The case was brought by public sector trade union Unison, with the IWGB and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) intervening.

The seven-judge panel found that the fees were discriminatory against women and other groups protected by the equality act.

The IWGB welcomes today’s momentous decision. We have forked out a fortune on employment tribunal fees for our low-paid members who otherwise would not have been able to argue their cases,” said IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee. “Given the near total absence of government enforcement of employment law and the government’s refusal to get serious about addressing insecure work, today’s decision is a game changer. This is what justice looks like.”

The IWGB believed that it was vital that it intervene in this case in order to support the interests of its mostly low-paid members – including “gig economy” workers and cleaners – which are some of the groups that are most in need of the protection of the courts.

The elimination of employment tribunal fees is one of three policy proposals that the IWGB has been lobbying for to address the issues surrounding precarity in the so-called “gig economy”. The other two are government enforcement of employment law and an enhanced “worker” status, that would give self-employed workers the same rights as employees.

There are currently three employment statuses in the UK: Independent contractors, workers and employees.

The government previously said that it would pay back all fees paid since they were introduced in 2013, if the Supreme Court deemed them to be illegal. The IWGB will be seeking back the thousands of pounds in fees that it has paid on behalf of its members.

The IWGB has won a number of test cases before employment tribunals, including Dewhurst v CitySprint and Boxer v Excel. Other companies including The Doctors Laboratory and eCourier, voluntarily admitted that they were unlawfully classifying their workers as independent contractors, following legal action brought by the IWGB.

The IWGB is awaiting decisions on other landmark cases against Deliveroo and Addison Lee.

Over the years the union has also brought a number of discrimination, unfair dismissal and unlawful deduction of wages claims on behalf of its many migrant worker members.

IWGB wins against Addison Lee —

IWGB wins against Addison Lee

In a week of victories, the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has won an employment status case against Addison Lee at the London Central Employment tribunal, which ruled that the company was unlawfully classifying a courier as an independent contractor.

The tribunal ruled that Christopher Gascoigne was in fact a worker and consequently entitled to holiday pay and the national minimum wage. The amount of holiday pay owed by the company to Gascoigne will be determined in a later hearing.

Workers, as opposed to independent contractors, are entitled to holiday pay, guaranteed minimum wage and protection against discrimination. Employees have further rights to sick pay and protection against unfair dismissal.

This decision is the last one relating to a slew of employment status cases brought simultaneously last year by the IWGB against four courier companies – CitySprint, Excel, eCourier and Addison Lee. In all four cases the judge ruled or the company admitted that the couriers were in fact workers and not independent contractors.

You can read more here:

IWGB wins employment status case against Addison Lee

UoL branch appoints part-time organiser! —

UoL branch appoints part-time organiser!

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve appointed Emiliano Mellino as a part-time organiser for the UoL branch. Emiliano started off volunteering with the IWGB as a translator, and for the last few months has been press officer for the union as a whole. You’ve probably heard his work in the form of the Unworkable podcasts (Episodes one and two are online now). He’s brought considerable skills from the world of financial journalism to work in the service of good!

IMG_20170425_084439

Emiliano is fluent in both English and Spanish, and he’ll be working on security officers’campaign as well as organising cleaners’ meetings and support, three days a week. Having the ability to fund a post is a big step forward for the branch, and we’re looking forward to pushing on with campaigns!

You can contact Emiliano at emilianomellino@iwgb.co.uk or on Twitter at @Mellino.

IWGB contacts HSE regarding asbestos issues —

IWGB contacts HSE regarding asbestos issues

The IWGB has notified the Health and Safety Executive of a number of breaches in the Control of Asbestos Regulations at the University of London. We will keep you informed of any further developments – if you’ve got any concerns about asbestos, please contact Danny.

In November 2016 maintenance staff were informed that asbestos had been discovered in various locations across the University of London estate which had previously been declared asbestos-free.

Over the last eight months the following breaches have become clear:

  1. No asbestos management plan

Under regulation 4 of CAR 2012 the dutyholder is required to: 

  • prepare a plan that sets out in detail how the risks from these materials will be managed
  • take the necessary steps to put the plan into action
  • periodically review and monitor the plan and the arrangements to act on it so that the plan remains relevant and up-to-date

A copy of the plan was repeatedly requested by staff and unions. Eventually in an email dated 2 June 2017 University Secretary Kim Frost stated:

The University’s Asbestos Management Plan is currently in the process of being updated.  Once updated, this version will be available on the intranet and shared with Bouygues. 

No such plan can be found on the intranet. There appears to have been no asbestos management plan since the departure of the previous asbestos manager in 2010.

  1. No records of non-licenced work

CAR 2012 states that: written records should be kept of non-licensed work, which has to be notified eg copy of the notification with a list of workers on the job, plus the level of likely exposure of those workers to asbestos.

No records of this sort exist, despite work of this sort being performed on a regular basis both up to November 2016 and subsequently.

There are examples too numerous to recount, but for instance, at Nutford House, a student hall of residence, a 2016 refurbishment discovered:

asbestos in the boiler room and various wall and roof voids.  This contamination was the result of discarded asbestos fibre pipe lagging & debris found on the floor of attic from years ago. This roof space houses all the cold water storage tanks, old heating pipes, hot & cold water pipes and before the refurbishment, the expansion tank from the old boiler system.

Over the course of the year the handymen and engineers, are required to make numerous inspections and repairs to storage tanks, pipes and valves etc.in the roof spaces.

Prior to these last works, according to the asbestos register, the last time inspection & removal had taken place in Nutford House was in 2002.

Thus non-licensed and notifiable non-licenced work had been going on here between 2002 and 2016 without records being kept, training being provided, asbestos plans being followed or staff even being aware of any risk.

  1. No surveillance by doctor

CAR 2012 states that: all workers/self employed doing notifiable non-licensed work with asbestos must be under health surveillance by a Doctor.

Notifiable non-licensed work has been performed on numerous occasions (eg involving asbestos insulation, drilling holes etc). No member of staff is under surveillance by a doctor.

  1. No mandatory training

CAR 2012 states that: Training is mandatory for anyone liable to be exposed to asbestos fibres at work

While post-November 2016 some cursory training was provided for maintenance staff, prior to this these staff had been working without training whilst exposed to asbestos fibres. IN addition non-maintenance staff have received no training at all.

  1. Information on location and condition of the materials not provided

Under regulation 4 of CAR 2012 the dutyholder is required to:

provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb them

Prior to November 2016 this had not been done at all. Subsequent to this a series of reports have been produced, but these (despite numerous complaints) have been incomplete and have failed to cover areas which clearly contain asbestos.

One example is the Student Central building, whose most recent report in May 2017 omits a series of areas containing asbestos for which staff have provided photographic evidence (there are many other such examples).

  1. Continued use of previous failed contractor

Previous asbestos surveys by the RPS Group at the University of London had declared the site to be safe. In November 2016 it turned out that that these surveys were inaccurate.

Rather than take legal action, the University of London has re-employed RPS to carry out the current works.

IWGB in huge victory for foster care workers! —

IWGB in huge victory for foster care workers!

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has won a landmark employee status case and the first case the union is aware of of foster care workers being recognised as employees by a UK tribunal.

Following a preliminary hearing in June, the Glasgow Employment tribunal ruled today that the level of control and mutuality of obligations meant that James and Christine Johnstone were clearly employees. It also found that the council was enforcing contractual obligations by their “no work, no pay” policy.

This marks a massive step forward for the rights of this group of workers that look after some of the most vulnerable children in our society.

You can read our full report on the main IWGB site:

First case of UK employment tribunal recognising foster care workers as employees

ESOL Classes at the IWGB —

ESOL Classes at the IWGB

We’re raising funds for our ESOL classes – please consider donating at the link below!

In partnership with the SadiqScholarship fund, the IWGB has been providing fully funded classes for our members since July 2016. Our project helps those who too often fall through the cracks: in full-time employment they do not qualify for Government funded classes, yet as low-paid workers they can ill afford private lessons. Working shifts means they cannot commit to a normal class timetable either. Those who have paid for lessons report large class sizes and only around 2 hours of classroom contact hours per week.

ESOL classes at the IWGB are small to promote close observation and interaction with each individual. Classes are held at evenings and weekends to help balance busy work schedules, with 6 hours of classroom time each week. Learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom however, which is why we hold lessons outside in the real world too. Learners have booked restaurants over the phone and visited them as a group, and this summer our learners are going away on a weekend immersion trip to the Cotswolds.

“This English course I have had has been very good and interesting, helping me to learn and improve my written and spoken English. I feel very happy and very fortunate for this great opportunity that I have had” – Maritza, President of the UoL Branch of the IWGB

In just one year the learners have advanced an entire level on the Qualifications and Credit Framework, going from E1 to E2. One learner has commented that the lessons have “given me the opportunity to lose the fear of communicating” and helped “when shopping, travelling and at appointments with my doctor”. Another learner has her eye set on attending university in the UK to study for a role in healthcare. As we move forward, the IWGB is committed to ensuring that these classes continue, supporting members to achieve their full potential. To do this we need your help! With lessons held at the IWGB office we are fortunate not to need to cover room hire costs. We are looking to cover teacher costs of £1200 total for the next term.

https://www.fundsurfer.com/node/1310/embed

INTERNALIZACIÓN DEL PERSONAL DE SENATE HOUSE — July 26, 2017

INTERNALIZACIÓN DEL PERSONAL DE SENATE HOUSE

Puede que hayan escuchado que a los limpiadores de LSE les dijeron recientemente que iban a ser incorporados como personal interno de la universidad y que, por lo tanto, tendrían los mismos términos y condiciones que otros empleados directos de LSE.

Los limpiadores de SOAS también serán reintegrados como personal interno a más tardar el 2019.

Ser incorporado como personal interno tiene los siguientes beneficios:

  • 41 días de vacaciones anuales
  • Contribuciones del empleador a la pensión de 13% del salario
  • Baja por maternidad (8 semanas paga completa, 16 semanas con la mitad del salario, 15 semanas de Pago Legal por Maternidad y 13 semanas sin pago)
  • Baja por paternidad (1 semana paga completa, 1 semana de Pago Legal por Paternidad)
  • 6 meses de pago completo por baja por enfermedad y 6 meses de la mitad del salario por baja por enfermedad.

Creemos que no habría ninguna razón para ser tratados de forma diferente a nuestro colegas sólo porque somos trabajadores subcontrados –todos trabajamos en el mismo edificio, y todos deberíamos tener los mismo derechos en el lugar de trabajo.

 

Podemos ganar esto, pero necesitamos que todos los trabajadores participen! Así que vengan a la reunión

Sábado 29 de julio, 1.30pm, Oficina IWGB

12-20 Baron Street, London N1 9LL (estación Angel)

Miembros y no miembros son bienvenidos.

Si tienen preguntas, por favor envíen un email a henrychangolopez@iwgb.co.uk

Branch meeting – this Friday, 12.30, IHR Lower Mezzanine room – asbestos update! —

Branch meeting – this Friday, 12.30, IHR Lower Mezzanine room – asbestos update!

Just a quick note to say please make sure to attend the branch meeting this Friday – we’ll be talking about security officers, the UoLIA review(s), and our plans to hire a campaign organiser for the branch!

Most importantly, we will be talking about asbestos – following a meeting of maintenance workers, porters and life guards today it has become clear that the University’s handling of the issue is inadequate, and as a result the IWGB will be escalating our complaints regarding this.

For more information contact dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk or better still – come to the meeting!

Report of voting/Informe electoral — July 20, 2017
Jason reviews the Taylor Review for the Guardian — July 19, 2017

Jason reviews the Taylor Review for the Guardian

Jason Moyer-Lee has written a scathing criticism of the Taylor Review for the Guardian. Highlights include:

“Wishy-washy and full of fluff”

“Fell far short of expectations”

“An inaccurate understanding of the law as it currently stands”

“Full of vacuous fluff and light on substantive proposals”

“Little burden on employers, and no tangible impact on workers”

“No remedy if the employer says no”

“Some truly horrendous ideas”

“A damp squib, largely devoid of useful substance”

“This review has woefully under-delivered”

You can read it here:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/18/taylor-review-gig-economy-workers

UoL Asbestos meeting – Thursday 20 July —

UoL Asbestos meeting – Thursday 20 July

Following the concerns that IWGB raised around asbestos in university buildings, UoL is holding a meeting for staff to discuss the action the university has taken. You can read about it here (text copied below): https://uolonline.sharepoint.com/news/Pages/Asbestos-in-University-Buildings

As you may be aware, access to some areas of the University of London
estate has been restricted since late 2016 following the unexpected
discovery of some asbestos fibres.  A briefing was held in December 2016
with the small number of individuals who may have undertaken maintenance
work within some of these areas and a communication was circulated to all
University of London staff in March of this year.

The University has arranged for a follow-up briefing to take place on
Thursday 20th July (full details listed below), which will be open to
University of London staff and the relevant members of staff at Bouygues.
At this briefing the University will be providing a re-cap on the impact of
the findings, an update on surveys and confirmation of the actions that the
University has taken since the last briefing.

The briefing will be delivered by Mr Martin Stear, BSc DipOH CFFOH,
Chartered Occupational Hygienist, in conjunction with members of staff from
Property and Facilities Management.  Information on Martin’s experience and
expertise can be found here
<http://www.healthsafetyspecialists.co.uk/index.php/about-wes-the-health-and
-safety-specialists
> .

Timing: There will be two briefing sessions held on Thursday morning at
10am and 11am.

If you would like to attend one of these sessions, please email Emilie
Ernoult (emilie.ernoult@london.ac.uk) to confirm which session you would
like to attend.

Location details:   N301 (Senate House – North Block).

(Please email any questions that you would like to be covered to Emilie in
advance of the briefing, to ensure that sufficient time is allocated to
cover these).

Asbestos in University Buildings – 1:1 appointments with Martin Stear

In addition to the morning briefing sessions, Martin will be available for
pre-bookable 1:1 appointments on the afternoon of Thursday 20th June.
Appointments will last approximately 20 minutes in duration and will be
available from 1pm – 4.30pm.  If you wish to book an appointment, please
email Emilie Ernoult (emilie.ernoult@london.ac.uk​ in order to arrange this.

IWGB response to the Taylor Review — July 17, 2017

IWGB response to the Taylor Review

Fourteen IWGB members have signed the IWGB’s response to the Taylor Review on Modern Employment Practices, calling for much needed improvements to the Review across 3 main areas:

The law, which was misrepresented by the Review failing to recognise that not only are workers already self-employed under employment law but that workers already have rights to minimum wage, holiday pay and others. The combination of rights and flexibility that Taylor seeks to achieve is already accessible to workers.

The process, where the Review has many unanswered questions, notably relating to early Deliveroo investor Greg Marsh, corporate solicitor Diane Nicol and the mind-boggling exclusion of any worker or trade union representative.

The Report, which was deeply disappointing. Most of the proposals are so vague they are next to meaningless and some of the substantial suggestions, such as the suggested changes to the minimum wage for workers in the so called “gig economy”

You can read the full response on the main IWGB website.

 

Massive Taylor Review press roundup! — July 13, 2017

Massive Taylor Review press roundup!

IWGB has been in the press a lot due to the release of the Taylor Review (Good Work: The Taylor Review into Modern Working Practices). We’ve got some opinions about it, to say the least! Here is just some of the press coverage from the last few days!

The Daily Mail, surprisingly, took a dim view of our participation in the debate:

÷BBC and Sky News presented members of the hard-Left Independent Workers Union of Great Britain as ordinary workers in coverage of the review yesterday.

Ben Geraghty appeared on Sky with the caption ‘Deliveroo driver’. He was described as an IWGB organiser when he wrote for the Financial Times in 2016.

The BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme spoke to Megan Brown, a ‘courier for a food delivery company’. She was described as chairman of the courier branch of the IWGB by Buzzfeed in May.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4687412/Middle-class-families-told-not-cash.html

They aren’t “ordinary workers”, they are extraordinary workers!

On Deliveroo investor and panel member Greg Marsh:

https://www.ft.com/content/95392a68-6596-11e7-8526-7b38dcaef614

http://uk.businessinsider.com/onefinestay-founder-greg-marsh-deliveroo-investor-gig-economy-2017-7

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/matthew-taylor-report-unions-slam-review-which-spectacularly-fails-a7835191.html

https://leftfootforward.org/2017/07/we-need-a-review-into-the-gig-economy-led-by-the-workers-themselves/

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/11/may-relaunches-premiership-with-new-protections-for-gig-economy-workers

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/government-review-into-gig-economy-employment-rights-branded-feeble-35912359.html

http://www.alphr.com/politics/1006279/taylor-report-calls-for-protections-for-gig-economy-workers

http://www.edp24.co.uk/business/matthew-taylor-review-union-leaders-disappointed-by-missed-opportunity-1-5100574

https://www.digitallook.com/news/general-news/report-into-uk-gig-economy-slammed-as-wasted-opportunity–2763199.html

Other reactions with IWGB comments:

https://www.ft.com/content/89fd7738-658e-11e7-8526-7b38dcaef614

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/taylor-review-gig-economy-workers_uk_5963692be4b0d5b458ebc1e5

https://www.metro.news/gig-economy-firms-let-off-in-shake-up/670627/

http://www.eastlothiancourier.com/news/15400874.Gig_economy_firms_being____let_off_the_hook_____unions_claim_ahead_of_new_report/

http://clicklancashire.com/2017/07/11/gig-economy-firms-let-off-in-shake-up.html

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/business/business-news/gig-economy-workers-set-down-13309203

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/national/15400874.Gig_economy_firms_being____let_off_the_hook_____unions_claim_ahead_of_new_report/

http://home.bt.com/news/uk-news/gig-economy-firms-being-let-off-the-hook-unions-claim-ahead-of-new-report-11364194777061

On Deliveroo’s claims earlier this week:

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-c0fd-Deliveroo-legislation-plea-is-a-bogus-excuse-for-inaction,-say-unions#.WWXIVumQw2w

http://thenational.scot/business/15398253.Deliveroo_calls_for_work_law_changes/

On Jason’s appearance at the Resolution Foundation:

http://www.recruiter.co.uk/news/2017/07/resolution-foundation-sets-out-its-nmw-proposal

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who was running around town the last few days, going from television channel to television channel, from radio to radio!

IWGB writes jointly with UVW to oppose planned outsourcing at LSHTM — July 9, 2017

IWGB writes jointly with UVW to oppose planned outsourcing at LSHTM

Dear Mr Lee

Re: outsourcing of cleaners at the London School of Hygiene and Medicine (LSHTM)

We are writing to condemn in the strongest possible terms your decision to outsource the cleaning staff at the LSHTM to the private company Regent Samsic, which, we understand, will come into effect from 1 August 2017.

Our two unions, the IWGB and United Voices of the World (UVW), represent hundreds of cleaners, porters security guards and other outsourced staff across the University of London including at the LSHTM.

Our opposition to this decision is informed by the experiences of our members who suffer and endure the inequality and exploitation that outsourcing inevitably introduces and enables.

We have fought effective campaigns to demand and achieve equal pay and terms conditions for outsourced staff including at Senate House and, most recently, at the London School of Economics (LSE) where management have agreed to bring all the cleaners in-house from spring 2018.

The decision to outsource the cleaning staff at the LSHTM is a profoundly regressive step. No doubt the intention of this move is to save money. This is hugely misguided: quite apart from the fact that it is completely immoral to seek to save money off the backs of the School’s lowest paid workers, this decision flies in the face of all the evidence which shows that outsourcing does not lead to overall cost savings and leads to a reduction in the quality of services. A QMUL report produced after they brought their cleaners back in-house stated: ‘As might be expected, a good number of the staff working at QMUL (about a third) reported noticing improvements in the cleaning service since the move back in-house, but many more (almost three quarters) reported that they supported the  decision itself. Many reported feeling that the decision to pay a living wage and bring the service in-house was the right thing to do, enhancing the reputation of the College as a good employer (Wills et al. 2009:21-22). If savings and economies of scale are being sought, then not having to pay VAT (20%) plus outsourcing company profits (typically 10-15%) should far outweigh any additional pension or payroll costs.

In light of this, we now call on you to do the sensible and moral thing and immediately cancel this contract, and ensure that all the cleaners retain their direct employee status.

We will be offering our full support to the workers affected by this, and will remain vigilant to ensure that the rights guaranteed under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings- Protection of Employment) are applied correctly to all transferred workers. We will also be supporting the campaign against this immoral and unjust act and will continue to do everything in our power to highlight its consequences.

Make no mistake: this reckless act means that the School is now profoundly at odds with the climate of opinion across the University of London, where trade unions and student and staff-led campaigns are forcing management to row back on outsourcing and the inequality it breeds. We urge you to reconsider before you move forward with this misguided and unprincipled decision.

Yours,

Jason Moyer Lee (General Secretary, IWGB)

Henry Chango Lopez (President, IWGB)

Danny Millum (Branch Secretary, University of London IWGB)

Petros Elia (General Secretary, UVW)

Percy Yunganina (President, UVW)

Proposal from IWGB to UoL to resolve the ongoing dispute over outsourced workers’ pay — July 7, 2017

Proposal from IWGB to UoL to resolve the ongoing dispute over outsourced workers’ pay

See below for an email from Danny to Kim Frost, demonstrating that the University could bring workers in-house, pay them £12 an hour, give them pensions and still save money!

Dear Kim

I am writing with a proposal to resolve the ongoing dispute over outsourced workers’ pay, which began with security officers but is now expanding to include other groups on site who have similar issues.

In short, we propose that the University of London bring these workers back in-house.

Having done some preliminary costings for this, we believe that this could save the University money, improve staff pay and terms and conditions, and have a massively beneficial effect on the University’s reputation and everyday operations.

Following the LSE decision to bring cleaners in-house, there is an inexorable momentum in that direction. We would like to discuss the details of implementation as soon as possible – failing that, what is currently a dispute with one set of workers over pay will inevitably escalate into a full-scale in-house campaign involving all those currently outsourced on site.

More detail on the proposal can be found here.

I hope you will see the benefits of giving this proposal due and proper consideration, and bringing the affected staff in house as soon as reasonably practicable.

Best wishes

Danny

Danny Millum

Branch Secretary

University of London IWGB

https://iwgb-universityoflondon.org/

Latest from University of London security officer dispute – porters and postroom staff vote to strike! — July 4, 2017

Latest from University of London security officer dispute – porters and postroom staff vote to strike!

Porters and Postroom staff at the University of London have voted 100% YES on a 78% TURNOUT to join security guards in their next strike action of the ongoing dispute.

Both groups of workers are in the same position as security – their promised differentials have not been maintained and as a result their relative wages have fallen sharply.

Watch this space for announcement of the next strike dates!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

portersandpostroomballot

 

Branch meeting this Friday at 12.30, Lower Mezzanine Room, IHR, Senate House 3rd Floor — June 28, 2017

Branch meeting this Friday at 12.30, Lower Mezzanine Room, IHR, Senate House 3rd Floor

After a couple of months off for AGMs we are back to our regular monthly branch meetings, which will be taking place this Friday 30 June at 12.30 (Lower Mezzanine Room, IHR, Senate House 3rd Floor) AND on Saturday 1 July at 1.30 (IWGB Office, 12-20 Baron Street, Angel).

All members are encouraged to attend – on Friday we’ll be talking about the security officer strike, the current HE pay offer, asbestos and UoLIA reviews, so please come along and take part!

Let us know if you have anything for inclusion on the agenda (dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk / rebeccadooley@iwgb.org.uk / catherinemorrissey@iwgb.co.uk) and if you do come up and get lost just give Danny a call on 07783719479.

Last week’s security strike and latest updates —

Last week’s security strike and latest updates

Thanks to everyone for their support for last week’s strike, which was the biggest yet! It was a massive success both in terms of security officer participation and outside support.

We’re really overwhelmed and heartened by the support we’ve received from other HE branches across London for our security officers’ strike. Whether it’s been letters to the University, banners on the picket line or strike fund donations it all makes a massive difference and is bringing victory closer. It was great to have Birkbeck UNISON, London Region UCU, London FE UCU and of course the United Voices of the World on the demo last week, as well as the fantastic SOAS Justice for Workers campaign.

This Friday we will get the result of the postroom and porters’ ballot – we are expecting a YES vote, in which case the next strike will be even bigger!

As ever, we await an offer of serious talks from the University and Cordant – until we get one, the strikes will continue, so do please support your colleagues and donate to the strike fund at https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/1870/the-independent-workers-union-of-great-britain.

Any questions, just drop Danny a line – dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk.

 

Joint statement from Senate House Unison and UCU — June 23, 2017

Joint statement from Senate House Unison and UCU

Thanks to everyone who came out in support of the security officers and the SOAS Justice 4 Workers campaign yesterday! The Senate House Unison and UCU branches have issued the following statement:

Joint statement from Unison and UCU Senate House branches

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 08:16 AM PDT

We note with concern the ongoing dispute between Cordant and its security staff.  As always, Unison and UCU’s long held position is to strongly oppose the outsourcing of workers in all circumstances.  We are formally approaching the University to re-visit the issue of outsourcing with the aim of returning all staff in house.

You can read more on the UCU blog.

Reminder: Security Officers’ strike TOMORROW — June 21, 2017

Reminder: Security Officers’ strike TOMORROW

UoL security officers back on strike tomorrow and joining forces with SOAS outsourced workers campaign

  • University of London security officers to protest together with SOAS Justice for Workers tomorrow afternoon. The Justice for Workers campaign has been occupying SOAS since last week.
  • Freedom of Information request reveals University is monitoring IWGB’s twitter account.
  • IWGB has balloted University of London post room workers and porters over pay, and expects to announce joint strike dates shortly.

21 June: University of London security officers will go back on strike tomorrow (22 June), just after it was revealed that the university spends resources monitoring the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain’s (IWGB) social media accounts.

The security officers continue to demand that the University and contractor Cordant Services implement a 25% pay rise promised six years ago.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request made by the IWGB and answered yesterday reveals that the university has been monitoring the union’s twitter accounts.

One email sent from a communications officer to other university employees reads:

You’re probably monitoring IWGB’s account as well but thought I’d update you on the latest tweets

IWGB University of London Branch Secretary Danny Millum has said about the revelations: “The university has used every loophole to try and hide the truth about its handling of this dispute, but what is even more shocking is that the university would rather spend resources monitoring the IWGB’s social media than paying its workers properly.”

Security officers will be striking from midnight tonight. A picket line and protest will be held outside Senate House from midday onwards. The protest will combine forces with the SOAS Justice for Workers campaign, some of whom have been occupying the university since last week, as they demand that outsourced cleaners be brought in-house.

The schedule is as follows:

12:00 Picket in front of Senate House
13:30 – 15:00 Tour of the halls to greet new residents checking in
15:00 Picket returns to Senate House
16:30 Picket heads to SOAS to join with SOAS Justice for Workers demo
17:30-19:00 Joint demonstration in the Cloisters of Senate House

The IWGB is also balloting University of London post room workers and porters over similar issues to those raised by security officers, including broken pay rise promises, and expects to announce joint strike dates soon.

A crowdfund has been set up to raise funds for the striking security officers, who are sacrificing their salary during the industrial action.

The latest news and updates on the strike can be followed on this Facebook page.

For more information:

Emiliano Mellino, Press officer (press@iwgb.co.uk)

Under-staffing by Cordant on the UoL contract — June 19, 2017

Under-staffing by Cordant on the UoL contract

Danny has written to the University of London to inform them of issues around understaffing on the Cordant security contract.

Dear Ghaz

I am writing to inform you of a series of issues that security officers have raised with us, which we believe indicate that Cordant may be failing to fulfil its contract with the University.

These issues relate to understaffing on the contract, and the apparent failure of Cordant to supply the hours promised to the client.

Staff have provided numerous instances where cover has not been provided, most notably when staff have been off sick or on annual leave, meaning that shifts have to be covered by existing staff. The consequence of this has been that:

  • There has been no break cover officer on numerous occasions.
  • Staff have been taken off Senate and Stewart House reception (where the UoL is paying to have two staff on duty) and used to cover elsewhere.
  • Patrol officers have been used to cover the Halls and Institutes, meaning that on numerous occasions there has only been one patrol officer on duty instead of two.
  • Staff at short notice are moved from their designated shifts and roles to other locations for ‘operational reasons’.

While occasional instances of short-staffing are inevitable, this has happened so frequently that it indicates systemic shortcomings and an under-resourcing of the contract.

Security officers whose pay differentials have been massively eroded and whose desire for talks on pay have been ignored are essentially being asked to cover for the inadequacies of Cordant in running this contract – something which seems to them to be doubly unfair, and which should not be tolerated by the University.

Can you confirm that you will investigate this as a matter of urgency?

Best wishes

Danny Millum

Branch Secretary

University of London IWGB

Security Officers – summary of the dispute so far — June 15, 2017

Security Officers – summary of the dispute so far

On 25 April 2017 security officers working at the University of London went on strike for the first time in the university’s history.

The decision was not taken lightly, but after years of having their demands ignored, the security officers felt they had no choice but to take industrial action.

Their demands are simple:

  1. That the University of London honour its pay rise promises made six years ago.
  2. An end to disguised zero-hours contracts.
  3. Proper itemised payslips for everyone.

While the strikes have been successful in garnering support from the Institute of Historical Research , SOAS student union, several UCU branches, film director Ken Loach and comedian Russell Brand, they have so far not resulted in negotiations with the University or security contractor Cordant Services.

Instead, the University of London and Cordant have used underhanded tactics to try and break the strike, bringing in unlicensed and untrained secruity officers to cover for the striking workers. This is not only an affront to the security officers’ right to strike, but puts at risk the safety of the university’s staff and students.

These desperate moves, together with a failed attempt to bribe the security officers into not taking strike action, shows that we have them on the back foot.

Now we need your help to deliver the final blow.

Want to help?

  1. Come to the picket line on 22 June at 12.00, Senate House, WC1E 7HU (https://www.facebook.com/events/101895660403092)
  2. Donate to the strike fund (www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/1870/the-independent-workers-union-of-great-britain)
  1. Email the UoL Chief Operating Officer, Chris Cobb: cobb@london.ac.uk
  2. Follow the IWGB’s campaign:

#uolstrike

www.facebook.com/3coca/

Unworkable Episode 2! — June 12, 2017

Unworkable Episode 2!

Your Boss Is Watching You!

surveillanceiStock_000047415498_Large.jpg

In its second episode “Unworkable” looks into surveillance in the workplace, from the powers that employers currently hold to the ways in which technology is making this monitoring much easier and all-pervasive. We talk to Uber and Deliveroo riders, as well as experts and researchers. Interviewees include Corinna Ferguson, a Barrister at Old Square Chambers, Privacy International policy officer Frederike Kaltheuner and Dr Phoebe Moore of Middlesex University.

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

UoL Strike News roundup! —

UoL Strike News roundup!

Further to the two two-day strikes held in April and May, the security guards will be going on strike again on Thursday 22 June!

This is all part of the ongoing dispute surrounding the maintenance of pay differentials for security guards, which was promised in 2011 and, like so many of the University’s promises, this promise was broken! Our security guards have been fighting hard for this and are continuing to fight with another day of strike action!

But they need your support!

  1. Please help by donating to the strike fund – https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/1870/the-independent-workers-union-of-great-britain
  2. Join the picket line on 22 June
  3. Attend the open solidarity meeting on Monday 12 June, 6pm – this has been called by UCU, who want to show solidarity with our cause! (see the attached flyer for details)

On a related and celebratory note, our sister union, United Voices of the World, had a massive victory in their cleaners’ strike at LSE! Cleaners at LSE are to be brought in-house and become employees of the LSE from Spring 2018!!! This will bring them proper annual leave, sick pay and pensions – all the things every worker should be entitled to! This victory shows the power of strike action and is why we must all show our support for our security guards here at the University!

We’ve also served Cordant with notice of a ballot for strike action for the Porters and Postroom staff – the ballot will open later this week!

 

Breaking: Next Security Officers’ strike, 22 June! — June 8, 2017
Brexit and immigration: UoL presentation for EU staff — June 5, 2017
UCL UCU writes in support of the Security Officers! — June 2, 2017

UCL UCU writes in support of the Security Officers!

The University of London is beginning to feel the damage to its reputation that Cordant’s treatment of its staff is causing. The UCU branch at the UCL Institute of Education has written to Adrian Smith, UoL Vice Chancellor, urging him to see sense and end this dispute:

Dear Professor Smith

I write on behalf of our branch – membership includes 400 academic, and academic-related, staff at the UCL Institute of Education – to urge the University of London to guarantee its security officers:

  • the 25% pay rise they were promised six years ago
  • itemised pay slips
  • greater security of employment by ending what are effectively zero-hours contracts.

Our institution is a neighbour of Senate House and a member of the University of London. We call on UoL to live out our shared values of equality and social justice with respect to this group of workers, one of the poorest, weakest and most diverse in our workforce.

Best regards

Amy Chamier

Branch Secretary
University and College Union

UCL Institute of Education (IOE)

Postroom staff join Cordant dispute! —

Postroom staff join Cordant dispute!

Now the Postroom staff have joined the dispute against Cordant, calling for the company to honour promises to maintain pay differentials. On behalf of the affected staff, IWGB has given Cordant a deadline of Tuesday 6 June to respond positively and open negotiations. 

Dear Ms Vittorio,

We are postroom staff writing with regard to the current pay situation relating to Cordant employees on the University of London contract.

As you will be aware, in 2011 the University of London began the introduction of the London living Wage for all outsourced staff, promising at the time that ‘differentials would be maintained’.

As postroom employees, performing work that involves significant levels of skill and responsibility, we  were previously paid at an hourly rate around 25% above that of the lowest-paid staff (with supervisors being paid more).

However, this promise has not been honoured, and as a result our differential has been almost completely eroded.

We are therefore writing to request that this issue be resolved, and a rate of £12 per hour (along with an increment for supervisors) be instituted, along with a guarantee that these differentials will be maintained in future.

We are happy to enter into substantive negotiations over this, but should these not be offered we will have no option but to ballot for industrial action.

If you could respond to this letter via our IWGB union representatives that would be much appreciated.

Yours,

[Postroom staff]

UCU London Region Solidarity Meeting – new date Monday 12 June at 6pm —

UCU London Region Solidarity Meeting – new date Monday 12 June at 6pm

UCU London Region have called a solidarity meeting for Monday 12 June at 6pm . Please share this widely! More details at https://uculondonregion.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/open-solidarity-meeting/.

Justice for University of London Cleaners and Security Officers

Please attend a solidarity meeting for security officers and cleaners who are on strike at two London universities. Security officers at the University of London, in the IWGB union, have been striking against their bosses, the subcontractor Cordant. They are demanding an end to zero hour contracts, and a pay rise promised in 2012. Cleaners at the London School of Economics and Political Science, in the UVW union, are on strike for paid paternity/maternity leave, holiday pay, and sick pay on the same terms as LSE workers. Their boss is the subcontractor Noonan Services Group. Both groups of workers need your solidarity.

Date and Venue: Monday 12 June, 6-7.30pm. Executive Suite, First Floor, UCL Front Engineering Building, opposite Waterstones on Torrington Place, WC1E 7HB

Donate:

Security officers’ strike fund – University of London IWGB branch website https://iwgb-universityoflondon.org/:

  • Name of bank: Cooperative Bank
  • Account title: IWGB University of London
  • Sort Code: 08-92-99
  • Account no: 65689615
  • Please use “SecurityofficierStrikeFund” as a reference

Justice for LSE Cleaners –  United Voices of the World: https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/justiceforlsecleaners/

  • Co-operative Bank
  • Account title: United Voices of the World
  • Sort Code: 08-92-99
  • Account Number: 65755617
  • Please use “LSECleaners” as a reference

If you have any questions, please just contact us at office@iwgb.org.uk (or call: 07508336746)

IHR Advisory Council criticises working practices —

IHR Advisory Council criticises working practices

We’ve always argued that Cordant’s poor working practices risk harming the reputation of the Institutes and the University of London as a whole – and now the Institute for Historical Research Advisory Council agrees with us! Below is an excerpt from the minutes of the IHR Advisory Council, 12 May 2017 (draft minutes approved by Chair).

  1. The staff representative reported that he had been asked to raise the issue of the ongoing dispute between security officers employed at the University (including the IHR) and their employers, Cordant Security. It was reported to members of the Advisory Council that a two-day strike had taken place on 25-26 April 2017, and that a further strike was planned for 16-17 May 2017. Striking staff were requesting i) an end to zero- and low-hours contracts, ii) itemised pay slips, and iii) the maintenance of pay differentials between different types of workers on out-sourced contracts. The University’s position was that security staff were not employees of the University and that it did not intend to comment on the employment arrangements of another organisation.
  2. During the April strike the duties of regular security and reception staff had been covered by Cordant managers and Cordant staff normally employed at other (non-University) sites. The Acting Director reported that he had discussed with the Institute Manager whether to close the Institute during the April strike on health and safety grounds, although ultimately it had remained open. The Institute Manager reported some operational difficulties over that period, including visitors to the Institute being misdirected.
  3. IHR staff had submitted the issue for consideration with a view to the Advisory Council  asking the University to intervene in the dispute in order to prevent further industrial action, on the basis that the treatment of security staff was unethical, and that this had a negative impact on the reputation of the University and the IHR. Concerns had also been expressed about the security of the building and the safety of staff given the lack of experience and training of temporary replacement staff, and in particular their ignorance of fire evacuation procedures and of the layout of the building itself.
  4. The Council discussed the issue in detail, and agreed that it was appropriate to make its views known on this issue, noting that one of its responsibilities was protecting the reputation of the Institute. It was agreed that if what had been reported was accurate, then there was a risk that the Institute’s reputation would be harmed through being associated with ethically-dubious working practices.
  5. It was agreed that the Advisory Council should express serious concern at the current situation, with regard to both ensuring safe and secure working arrangements at the Institute, and avoiding damage to the Institute’s reputation.
  6. Members asked that an update on this issue be provided at the next meeting of the Council, and also that a representative of the University be invited to the meeting to discuss it.
BREAKING NEWS! Porters join Cordant dispute — May 31, 2017

BREAKING NEWS! Porters join Cordant dispute

Danny Millum has written to Cordant’s Tanya Vittorio to inform her that portering staff have entered into dispute alongside the security officers. More news as it comes! 

Dear Tanya

I am writing to inform you that the portering staff at the University of London are formally entering into dispute with Cordant over pay and the erosion of differentials – for details see the attached signed letter.

As stated in the letter, we are willing to enter into substantive negotiations over this, but should we not receive a positive response by Friday 2 June 2017 we will have no option but to ballot for industrial action.

Best wishes

Danny

Danny Millum

Branch secretary

UoL IWGB

http://iwgb.org.uk/

Labour’s plans for the gig economy —
ICE negotiations update — May 25, 2017

ICE negotiations update

 

Here’s an update on ICE from Rebecca and Mark:

As you know we have been acting as negotiating representatives on behalf of staff in Levels 1-6 for the purposes of coming to an agreement with the University over Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) provisions, i.e. designing a forum whereby the University informs and consults with staff on major developments at the University.

Throughout our entire time as negotiating representatives we have bent over backwards to come to an agreement with the University and the other unions regarding an ICE forum. Our only non-negotiable stance from which we would not depart was to demand that any ICE forum agreed to would give equal and fair representation to staff in Levels 1-6 and the union they had chosen to represent them. As the University and the other unions could not agree to this fundamental point we unfortunately concluded at our last meeting, held on 18 May, that no agreement could be reached.

This means that the forum will be based on the standard provisions of the ICE legislation. Within the next 6 months the University will be arranging for staff to elect members to this forum – we believe there will be about 25 positions in total. These representatives will be the conduit through which the University passes information to and consults with staff.

The IWGB will be running a slate of candidates for election to this forum and we will be in touch over the next months to give you more information about this.  We will continue to argue for a strong and alternative voice for staff at the University and use whatever forum or other means are at our disposal to represent staff.

Thank you for your patience and support throughout this process.

Kind regards,

Rebecca and Mark

Levels 1-6 ICE negotiation representatives

Security Officers’ strike update — May 24, 2017

Security Officers’ strike update

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Photo: UVW

Thanks to everyone for their support for the massively successful security officers’ second strike last week! 

We had a great turnout for the strike and the picket (you may have heard us distantly in the background at some point), and had fantastic support from staff as well. 

After our encounter with Jeremy Irons on Tuesday we teamed up with striking UVW cleaners from the LSE on Wednesday for a joint picket. 

Despite this, the University are still trying to claim ignorance of their 2011 promise on differentials, and are refusing to enter negotiations. 

As such, workers voted on the picket line to call for 2 more individual days of strike action – dates to be announced shortly! 

We need all the support we can get – please donate to the ongoing strike fund (https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/1870/the-independent-workers-union-of-great-britain) and get in touch if you would like to help by writing to the University – we can suggest a draft template (email Danny at dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk).

Free ESOL classes at IWGB —
IWGB Summer Party! —
UCEA proposes pay offer of 1.7% — May 22, 2017

UCEA proposes pay offer of 1.7%

We’ve just heard that the final pay offer proposed by UCEA this year is 1.7% – although it’s up on last year’s offer, it’s still far below inflation – last year we were asking for 5%, and that wasn’t close to the amount we’re due!

You can find out more about UCEA’s offer here: http://www.ucea.ac.uk/en/empres/paynegs/current/.

More information to follow – and we will of course be consulting members on this! If you’ve got any immediate feedback, you can contact Danny at dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk.

 

Strike II – Jeremy Irons edition! — May 17, 2017

Strike II – Jeremy Irons edition!

Last night, security officers on strike carried out a noisy protest outside the entrance to Senate House, timed to coincide with the inaugural 1858 Charter Lecture on TS Eliot, which featured a reading by famous actor Jeremy Irons.

Irons was so perturbed by the noise we were making that he came outside to explain to us that we didn’t need to protest! You can see what he had to say for yourself, along with Jason’s reply:

Of course, we have repeatedly asked for talks with Cordant and with the University of London, and even offered to call off the strikes if talks were started. All of our reasonable offers have been refused, leaving us with no choice but to continue our dispute through strike action.

AGM – brief report and new officers — May 10, 2017

AGM – brief report and new officers

uolagmApologies for the delay in reporting back from the branch AGM – it was a very successful event, and we will of course be providing the minutes in full, but for now we just wanted to provide a quick update of the officer elections.

The main change is that Catherine has stepped down as branch secretary after three fantastic years of sterling service and amazingly hard work – she’s not going anywhere, and will still be just as involved in the branch, but she will be standing for the new national position of Women’s Officer and as a result has had to give up this other post.

Election results

Branch Chair: Maritza Castillo Calle and Wilson Ayala Romero both stood, and as a result there will be a postal ballot, starting after the national election on 27 May 2017.

Vice-Chair: Abdul Bakhsh

Branch Secretary: Danny Millum

Assistant Secretary: Rebecca Dooley

Recruitment Officer: Lewis Petterson

Education Officer: Camila Gatica

Treasurer: Lindsey Caffin

Second Treasurer: Alison Hunter

Communications Officer: Matt Mahon

Campaigns Officer: position vacant

Trustees: Frankie Cunha

IWGB calls on fellow unions for support — May 8, 2017

IWGB calls on fellow unions for support

We’ve written to our union colleagues at Birkbeck, SOAS, LSE, City, UCL, KCL and RHUL asking for their support for our security officers’ strike next Tuesday and Wednesday. We’ve asked them to help us, and you can too! You can:

  • Attend the picket line and let the University of London that it can’t treat its staff this way.
  • Spread the word amongst colleagues and friends.
  • Write to UOL Chief Operating Officer Chris Cobb expressing you unhappiness with his handling of the security officers at chris.cobb@london.ac.uk.
  • Support the security officers by contributing to the Crowdpac.
  • Support the IWGB on social media: Facebook & Twitter. 

The text of our letter is below:

Hi,

I hope this email finds you well. The IWGB are writing today to see if we can count on your support to stand up for the employment rights of your fellow staff at the University of London.

The IWGB has announced a second round of strikes of security officers working at the University of London central administration buildings on the 16th and 17th of May. You can find more information on this press release.

The security officers are demanding an end to zero-hours contracts and that the university implement a pay rise it promised six years.

The first strike held on the 25th and 26th of April received wide coverage in the press, being picked up by the Huffington PostThe GuardianNovara Media & the Camden New Journal. 

You can support the security officers how you see fit. We suggest that you either:

  • Attend the picket line and let the University of London that it can’t treat its staff this way.
  • Spread the word amongst colleagues and friends.
  • Write to UOL Chief Operating Officer Chris Cobb expressing you unhappiness with his handling of the security officers at chris.cobb@london.ac.uk.
  • Support the security officers by contributing to the Crowdpac.
  • Support the IWGB on social media: Facebook & Twitter. 

For further details you can reply to this e-mail or by calling our central office, the telephone number is listed below.

In solidarity,

Patrick Laredo.