See our letter to Chris Cobb below:
As you know, security officers at the University of London will be striking next week over zero-hours contracts, inadequate payslips, and broken promises on pay that has meant an effective 25% pay cut.
Many of these staff have worked here for years, and they are extremely reluctant to cause any disruption to fellow staff and students.
However, the University and their security contractor Cordant have given them no alternative. Despite the reasonableness of their demands, all efforts at negotiation have been ignored.
It has now come to light that rather than make any effort to meet these employees and avert this damaging strike, the Cordant is planning:
- To bring in temporary staff on zero-hours contracts to cover them.
- To force existing staff to train these replacements (this is already happening).
- To pay these temporary staff only the minimum wage of £7.50 an hour, despite the University of London guaranteeing that all staff will be paid at least the London Living Wage of £9.75.
- To place at risk staff and students across the University of London by employing staff with minimum training and no knowledge of the buildings or their occupants.
If the University is aware of this, it is breaking its London Living Wage commitments and openly encouraging the use of zero-hour contracts in order to break the strike. Furthermore it will also be legally culpable should a fire or other serious incident occur without trained staff on hand to handle it.
Can you therefore confirm that the University will instruct its contractor to abandon this plan, and instead offer a fair solution to the issues raised by its employees?
Can you also confirm that the University is guaranteeing that it is providing a safe environment for staff and students, as it is legally required to do?