Yesterday the University of London’s new Vice Chancellor, Wendy Thompson, announced to staff that the university would begin to bring cleaners and security officers in-house. This is a major step forward and a vindication of the outsourced workers’ strategy of combining strikes with a boycott of the university’s events. More information here and here.
Thompson admitted in her email that her decision was a reaction to the boycott and the rising cost of security. If you remember, a few months ago the Guardian wrote that in the space of nine months, the university had spent £1.3m in extra security to police the IWGB’s strikes – the full figure for the whole of the campaign will surely turn out to be a lot higher.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who supported the boycott. It is clear from Thompson’s email that moving the dial this way would have been impossible without your steadfast support.
However, while this change in position is welcome, it is not yet a concrete committent on the timeline for in-sourcing or on the conditions the cleaners and security officers will have once in-house. Also, there is still no clarity on what will happen with the catering staff. In the next few weeks we will ask the university to clarify these points and to accelerate as much as possible the process of in-housing.
This means it is more important than ever to maintain a firm boycott of all events at Senate House and the other University of London central administration buildings. It is our determination that will decide whether the university finally starts to treat its outsourced workers with dignity or continues to systematically discriminate against them.