- More than 100 cleaners, porters, receptionists and other outsourced workers of the University of London will strike on 25 and 26 April
- Workers demand an end to outsourcing, an end to zero-hours and pay rises
- Campaign has been supported by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP, Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley and others
University of London workers organised by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) are to hold the biggest-ever strike of outsourced workers in UK higher education history.
More than 100 cleaners, porters, security officers, receptionists, gardeners, postroom staff and audio-visual staff are expected to walk out on 25 and 26 April after a near unanimous vote in favour of industrial action.
The workers, who are employed by a number of outsourcing companies that have contracts with the University of London’s central administration, are demanding to be made direct employees of the university, and for equal terms and conditions with those that are directly employed.
Outsourced workers receive worse pension, holiday pay, sick pay, maternity pay and paternity pay entitlements than their in-house colleagues.
But more important, outsourced staff are generally more likely to suffer from bullying, discrimination and illegal deduction of wages.
IWGB president Henry Chango-Lopez said: “The University of London has revealed the absolute contempt that it has for the workers that keep it running day after day by ignoring their repeated calls to be brought in-house. We will not stop until all workers are made direct employees with equal terms and conditions as in-house staff.”
University of London cleaner and IWGB representative Margarita Cunalata said: “The university has done its best to deny workers like me basic rights and we have had to fight for everything, from the London Living Wage to basic sick pay. All we ask for is equality and we will keep on fighting until we get it.”
The strikes are part of the IWGB’s “Back In-House” campaign, which is calling on the university to end outsourcing, to abolish zero-hours contracts and that it implement pay rises it promised six years ago, but failed to deliver.
The campaign, which was launched by the IWGB in September 2017, has received the support of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP (click here for his video message), Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley and a number of trade union and student union branches.
Through a series of protests and strikes, the IWGB has succeeded in forcing the university to initiate a review into its facilities management contracts.
However, the union has been left with no option but to escalate its campaign, as the university has consistently denied the outsourced workers and their union, the IWGB, a voice in this process.
Previous strikes have only included security officers, receptionists, porters and postroom workers, but the latest ballot also includes cleaners, audiovisual staff and gardeners.
The IWGB is the largest union at the University of London central administration buildings, which includes Senate House, Stewart House, The Warburg institute, The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Student Central, International Hall, College Hall, Connaught Hall, Lilian Penson Hall and Nutford House.
The outsourced workers taking industrial action work for Cordant Security, Cordant Services and Nurture.
For more information please contact Emiliano Mellino, IWGB press officer, email@example.com