Despite the IWGB being by far the largest and most active union among security guards at UCL, the security contractor Axis has chosen to thwart our formal bid for recognition by choosing to voluntarily recognise Unison instead.

As Axis are well aware, the IWGB is the largest union among the UCL security bargaining unit, and has consistently flagged up issues on behalf of those members since the company took over the contract.

Indeed, UCL’s Security Manager admitted when the IWGB met him to discuss the innumerable problems with officers’ holidays and pay under Axis that the IWGB had raised around 30 cases, while Unison had raised just one.

It is thus quite clear that Axis have entered into this voluntary recognition agreement simply to block the IWGB’s application. Had they genuinely wished to engage with their workforce, they would of course have chosen to deal with the union actually representing those workers.

It is an indication of the contempt in which Axis holds its employees that it believes that they will not see through this transparent attempt too substitute a management-approved union for the real thing.

The IWGB in reply has written to Axis stating that it is not up to decide what union workers belong to and choose to represent them, and that we will continue to represent members, raise issues with Axis management, and resolve them if necessary via the appropriate legal steps. In addition, we will continue to publicise Axis’s failings, both to the UCL community and to the wider world.

We added that the IWGB has never been recognised in any University workplace – and this has not stopped us from waging and winning multiple campaigns for the improvement of workers’ rights – most recently at Senate House where the first tranche of our members are about to be brought in-house. Oh – and check out Goldsmith’s security guards as well (

Hasta la victoria siempre!