Yesterday (26 February) hundreds of London’s outsourced workers, including cleaners, security and catering staff, walked out in the latest in a series of strikes over pay and conditions.
Coming together in a show of solidarity, they timed their protest to mark what the Guardian describes as a “landmark case on collective bargaining that could empower the UK’s 3.3 million outsourced workers to negotiate directly with their de-facto employers – the companies buying the outsourced services – as well as their direct employers.”
Starting from Senate House, home to the University of London’s administrative offices, members of unions including the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), United Voices of the World (UVW), and PCS, marched through central London. University of London students and the RMT union’s London Regional Council supported them.
Each group of workers had their own particular grievances, but what they all had in common was the desire to end the “discrimination between those who count and those who don’t count at all,” as eloquently voiced by IWGB member, Emma Margarita Cunalata.
Speaking in front of Winston Churchill’s statue opposite the Houses of Parliament she said, “We have the right to earn money, and to the profits that are taken from us. We have the right to a better life.”
Their employers might have chosen to turn a deaf ear to their pleas to clean up outsourcing, but the UK’s media organisations were listening.
More than 15 national and regional publications such as the Financial Times, the Press and Journal, The Times and the iNews, covered the walkout.