AXIS & UCL give with one hand, take away with the other — July 20, 2020

AXIS & UCL give with one hand, take away with the other

“Over the next year UCL are bringing all your benefits in line with UCL staff, if you don’t think that comes with a cost then you are sadly mistaken. That’s why we need to get this rationalisation of shifts done.” – John Fitzpatrick, Operations Director (and shareholder) for University College London’s security subcontractor AXIS, at a consultation meeting with security officers on Tuesday 14 July.

On 10 June, UCL’s security subcontractor AXIS announced a consultation process to “rationalise shifts” of security officers at UCL, ending 28 July.

In the ongoing consultations, some security officers have been told they may face cuts of up to 18 hours of work per week, which would result in a 30% drop in their wages.

The IWGB is still seeking clarification regarding the rationale for the proposed changes and whether AXIS plans to impose the changes or if this will be voluntary.

The rationale for these cuts has not been properly explained by AXIS, but this move comes only a few months after AXIS hired nearly 100 more security officers on the site, aiming to try to weaken the power of the union after several powerful strikes in the autumn, which resulted in a massive improvement in terms and conditions for outsourced workers at UCL.

Some AXIS managers have stated in the ongoing consultations that there are now too many security officers on site due to the recent surge in recruitment of officers and the costs are too high for UCL. Around 280 security officers work at UCL currently.

On the other hand, AXIS Operations Director John Fitzpatrick claims that the proposed cuts to hours are needed as a direct result of UCL’s decision (following our campaign) to improve people’s terms and conditions, which has increased costs for UCL.

It is not yet clear how many security officers will lose hours or be otherwise impacted by the proposed changes. And it is not clear whether the rationalisation plan is being driven by AXIS or by UCL.

If Fitzpatrick is telling the truth and UCL is driving the changes, then they have given with one hand, and are now trying to take away with the other. Security officers were given a 9% pay rise, but some are now facing a 30% drop in their wages.

This is truly shocking and calls into question UCL’s pledge to give UCL’s outsourced staff parity of terms and conditions with directly employed staff.

UCL’s security are fighting back, calling for ‘No cuts and no sham consultations’.

You can support them by sharing the campaign tweets and helping draw attention to this issue: https://twitter.com/iwgbucl