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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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