To all of you who have written to the University of London in support of our in-house campaign – many thanks!

Many of you will have received a stock response from the University, which contains a startling number of inaccuracies.

The worst of these is that the University claimed their contractors DID NOT USE ZERO HOUR CONTRACTS.

However, when presented with the evidence that this was untrue, they have been forced to retract this, with a reply from the University Secretary stating: ‘I’ve looked into this and will remove it from our responses in future’.

The fact that the University allows zero-hour contracts to be used is bad enough. The fact that it has been hiding this is even worse.

Please do feel free to let the University (Vice-Chancellor@london.ac.uk cc’ing uolbackinhouse@iwgb.org.uk) know what you think of this – a draft response is below.

Dear Kim

Many thanks for getting back to me, although there are a few issues with your response that I would like to clarify

1. You state that your contractors do not use zero hours contracts. In fact:

a) The majority of Aramark employees are on zero-hour contracts

b) A significant number of Cordant cleaners are on zero-hour contracts

c) A number of Cordant security officers are still on 336-annual-hours-contracts, which are the equivalent of zero-hour contracts

Furthermore, you have now admitted that zero hours contracts ARE used – at what point did you become aware of this?

2. Holiday and sick pay arrangements:

a) In-house employees receive 6 months full pay and 6 months half-pay. Outsourced workers receive 6 months full pay only (both subject to service).

b) In-house employees receive a minimum of 27 days, outsourced 25 days (subject to service, excluding bank holidays).

c) In-house employees receive on average each year 6 additional University days.

3. The promise to maintain the differential was made by yourself, in writing and guarantees that the differential would be maintained. There is no mention at all that this would be a temporary state of affairs, nor would it be logical to initially maintain a differential and afterwards to abandon it.

4. To say that you have seen no evidence of illegal deductions from pay, bullying or discrimination is extremely disingenuous – you have not seen them because you have deliberately looked the other way. The IWGB union has handled literally dozens of cases of exactly this sort with the University’s contractors, and would be happy to provide a breakdown should you so wish.

5. I note that you do not address the issue of pensions – presumably because you recognise that the University has no case here at all. The difference between the outsourced pension employer contribution (1% in the case of Cordant) and the SAUL contribution (13%) is enormous (although the contribution to your own USS pension is of course even higher). There is no justification at all why a predominantly BME workforce should receive the former, and a predominantly white workforce the latter – this is quite simply discriminatory.

We hope this clarifies why we and others will continue to support this campaign, and we would urge the University that, rather than continuing to drag out this process and besmirch its own reputation further while conducting this face-saving review, it instead recognises the inevitable and commits immediately to bringing all its employees in-house.

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