IWGB writes jointly with UVW to oppose planned outsourcing at LSHTM — July 9, 2017

IWGB writes jointly with UVW to oppose planned outsourcing at LSHTM

Dear Mr Lee

Re: outsourcing of cleaners at the London School of Hygiene and Medicine (LSHTM)

We are writing to condemn in the strongest possible terms your decision to outsource the cleaning staff at the LSHTM to the private company Regent Samsic, which, we understand, will come into effect from 1 August 2017.

Our two unions, the IWGB and United Voices of the World (UVW), represent hundreds of cleaners, porters security guards and other outsourced staff across the University of London including at the LSHTM.

Our opposition to this decision is informed by the experiences of our members who suffer and endure the inequality and exploitation that outsourcing inevitably introduces and enables.

We have fought effective campaigns to demand and achieve equal pay and terms conditions for outsourced staff including at Senate House and, most recently, at the London School of Economics (LSE) where management have agreed to bring all the cleaners in-house from spring 2018.

The decision to outsource the cleaning staff at the LSHTM is a profoundly regressive step. No doubt the intention of this move is to save money. This is hugely misguided: quite apart from the fact that it is completely immoral to seek to save money off the backs of the School’s lowest paid workers, this decision flies in the face of all the evidence which shows that outsourcing does not lead to overall cost savings and leads to a reduction in the quality of services. A QMUL report produced after they brought their cleaners back in-house stated: ‘As might be expected, a good number of the staff working at QMUL (about a third) reported noticing improvements in the cleaning service since the move back in-house, but many more (almost three quarters) reported that they supported the  decision itself. Many reported feeling that the decision to pay a living wage and bring the service in-house was the right thing to do, enhancing the reputation of the College as a good employer (Wills et al. 2009:21-22). If savings and economies of scale are being sought, then not having to pay VAT (20%) plus outsourcing company profits (typically 10-15%) should far outweigh any additional pension or payroll costs.

In light of this, we now call on you to do the sensible and moral thing and immediately cancel this contract, and ensure that all the cleaners retain their direct employee status.

We will be offering our full support to the workers affected by this, and will remain vigilant to ensure that the rights guaranteed under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings- Protection of Employment) are applied correctly to all transferred workers. We will also be supporting the campaign against this immoral and unjust act and will continue to do everything in our power to highlight its consequences.

Make no mistake: this reckless act means that the School is now profoundly at odds with the climate of opinion across the University of London, where trade unions and student and staff-led campaigns are forcing management to row back on outsourcing and the inequality it breeds. We urge you to reconsider before you move forward with this misguided and unprincipled decision.


Jason Moyer Lee (General Secretary, IWGB)

Henry Chango Lopez (President, IWGB)

Danny Millum (Branch Secretary, University of London IWGB)

Petros Elia (General Secretary, UVW)

Percy Yunganina (President, UVW)

Proposal from IWGB to UoL to resolve the ongoing dispute over outsourced workers’ pay — July 7, 2017

Proposal from IWGB to UoL to resolve the ongoing dispute over outsourced workers’ pay

See below for an email from Danny to Kim Frost, demonstrating that the University could bring workers in-house, pay them £12 an hour, give them pensions and still save money!

Dear Kim

I am writing with a proposal to resolve the ongoing dispute over outsourced workers’ pay, which began with security officers but is now expanding to include other groups on site who have similar issues.

In short, we propose that the University of London bring these workers back in-house.

Having done some preliminary costings for this, we believe that this could save the University money, improve staff pay and terms and conditions, and have a massively beneficial effect on the University’s reputation and everyday operations.

Following the LSE decision to bring cleaners in-house, there is an inexorable momentum in that direction. We would like to discuss the details of implementation as soon as possible – failing that, what is currently a dispute with one set of workers over pay will inevitably escalate into a full-scale in-house campaign involving all those currently outsourced on site.

More detail on the proposal can be found here.

I hope you will see the benefits of giving this proposal due and proper consideration, and bringing the affected staff in house as soon as reasonably practicable.

Best wishes


Danny Millum

Branch Secretary

University of London IWGB


Latest from University of London security officer dispute – porters and postroom staff vote to strike! — July 4, 2017

Latest from University of London security officer dispute – porters and postroom staff vote to strike!

Porters and Postroom staff at the University of London have voted 100% YES on a 78% TURNOUT to join security guards in their next strike action of the ongoing dispute.

Both groups of workers are in the same position as security – their promised differentials have not been maintained and as a result their relative wages have fallen sharply.

Watch this space for announcement of the next strike dates!

Hasta la victoria siempre!



Branch meeting this Friday at 12.30, Lower Mezzanine Room, IHR, Senate House 3rd Floor — June 28, 2017

Branch meeting this Friday at 12.30, Lower Mezzanine Room, IHR, Senate House 3rd Floor

After a couple of months off for AGMs we are back to our regular monthly branch meetings, which will be taking place this Friday 30 June at 12.30 (Lower Mezzanine Room, IHR, Senate House 3rd Floor) AND on Saturday 1 July at 1.30 (IWGB Office, 12-20 Baron Street, Angel).

All members are encouraged to attend – on Friday we’ll be talking about the security officer strike, the current HE pay offer, asbestos and UoLIA reviews, so please come along and take part!

Let us know if you have anything for inclusion on the agenda (dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk / rebeccadooley@iwgb.org.uk / catherinemorrissey@iwgb.co.uk) and if you do come up and get lost just give Danny a call on 07783719479.

Last week’s security strike and latest updates —

Last week’s security strike and latest updates

Thanks to everyone for their support for last week’s strike, which was the biggest yet! It was a massive success both in terms of security officer participation and outside support.

We’re really overwhelmed and heartened by the support we’ve received from other HE branches across London for our security officers’ strike. Whether it’s been letters to the University, banners on the picket line or strike fund donations it all makes a massive difference and is bringing victory closer. It was great to have Birkbeck UNISON, London Region UCU, London FE UCU and of course the United Voices of the World on the demo last week, as well as the fantastic SOAS Justice for Workers campaign.

This Friday we will get the result of the postroom and porters’ ballot – we are expecting a YES vote, in which case the next strike will be even bigger!

As ever, we await an offer of serious talks from the University and Cordant – until we get one, the strikes will continue, so do please support your colleagues and donate to the strike fund at https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/1870/the-independent-workers-union-of-great-britain.

Any questions, just drop Danny a line – dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk.


Security Officers – summary of the dispute so far — June 15, 2017

Security Officers – summary of the dispute so far

On 25 April 2017 security officers working at the University of London went on strike for the first time in the university’s history.

The decision was not taken lightly, but after years of having their demands ignored, the security officers felt they had no choice but to take industrial action.

Their demands are simple:

  1. That the University of London honour its pay rise promises made six years ago.
  2. An end to disguised zero-hours contracts.
  3. Proper itemised payslips for everyone.

While the strikes have been successful in garnering support from the Institute of Historical Research , SOAS student union, several UCU branches, film director Ken Loach and comedian Russell Brand, they have so far not resulted in negotiations with the University or security contractor Cordant Services.

Instead, the University of London and Cordant have used underhanded tactics to try and break the strike, bringing in unlicensed and untrained secruity officers to cover for the striking workers. This is not only an affront to the security officers’ right to strike, but puts at risk the safety of the university’s staff and students.

These desperate moves, together with a failed attempt to bribe the security officers into not taking strike action, shows that we have them on the back foot.

Now we need your help to deliver the final blow.

Want to help?

  1. Come to the picket line on 22 June at 12.00, Senate House, WC1E 7HU (https://www.facebook.com/events/101895660403092)
  2. Donate to the strike fund (www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/1870/the-independent-workers-union-of-great-britain)
  1. Email the UoL Chief Operating Officer, Chris Cobb: cobb@london.ac.uk
  2. Follow the IWGB’s campaign:



AGM – brief report and new officers — May 10, 2017

AGM – brief report and new officers

uolagmApologies for the delay in reporting back from the branch AGM – it was a very successful event, and we will of course be providing the minutes in full, but for now we just wanted to provide a quick update of the officer elections.

The main change is that Catherine has stepped down as branch secretary after three fantastic years of sterling service and amazingly hard work – she’s not going anywhere, and will still be just as involved in the branch, but she will be standing for the new national position of Women’s Officer and as a result has had to give up this other post.

Election results

Branch Chair: Maritza Castillo Calle and Wilson Ayala Romero both stood, and as a result there will be a postal ballot, starting after the national election on 27 May 2017.

Vice-Chair: Abdul Bakhsh

Branch Secretary: Danny Millum

Assistant Secretary: Rebecca Dooley

Recruitment Officer: Lewis Petterson

Education Officer: Camila Gatica

Treasurer: Lindsey Caffin

Second Treasurer: Alison Hunter

Communications Officer: Matt Mahon

Campaigns Officer: position vacant

Trustees: Frankie Cunha

IWGB General Secretary writes to the University of London over potentially illegal use of unlicensed security — May 1, 2017

IWGB General Secretary writes to the University of London over potentially illegal use of unlicensed security

See below for an email from Dr Jason Moyer-Lee (IWGB General Secretary) to Kim Frost (University Secretary).

Dear Kim

In case you haven’t seen, I thought you might be interested in some of the coverage of this week’s strike by University of London security guards, including one written by one of your security guards himself.

As I’m sure you are already aware by now, there appears to have been an incident of Cordant not abiding by Security Industry Authority (SIA) regulations as many of the “security guards” performing security duties at the protest were not displaying an ID badge.  We also have reason to believe that some of these may not have even been licensed security guards.  Indeed, as soon as we made an announcement at the protest about this, all of the non-ID’d “security guards” were shooed inside the building and Lee Smith (also performing security duties on the day) disappeared from the protest.  Performing security duties without a license and using unlicensed security guards are criminal offenses which needless to say puts your workers at health and safety risks.  We have had at least two complaints from our members that they were assaulted by these non-ID displaying and potentially unlicensed individuals.  All of this was documented with photos and/or video at the time.

Outsourcing low paid staff in order to avoid giving them decent pay and terms and conditions is pretty bad.  Promising them their pay differentials would be maintained and then reneging on that promise whilst sitting idly by as the use of 0 hours contracts becomes rampant on campus is worse.  But allowing your contractor to bring in a bunch of 0 hours, unidentified, and potentially unlicensed security staff in order to break a legitimate strike is truly disgusting.  I have already alerted the SIA to the issue and we are currently looking into the legality and criminal aspects of the entire operation as well as who is and is not licensed (e.g. Lee Smith).  Trust me when I say we will get to the bottom of this and when we do we will pursue both University of London and Cordant to the full extent of the law.

Enjoy your bank holiday weekend!





Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee

General Secretary


UoL and Cordant planning to bring in zero-hours staff to cover security strike — April 19, 2017

UoL and Cordant planning to bring in zero-hours staff to cover security strike

See our letter to Chris Cobb below:

Dear Chris

As you know, security officers at the University of London will be striking next week over zero-hours contracts, inadequate payslips, and broken promises on pay that has meant an effective 25% pay cut.

Many of these staff have worked here for years, and they are extremely reluctant to cause any disruption to fellow staff and students.

However, the University and their security contractor Cordant have given them no alternative. Despite the reasonableness of their demands, all efforts at negotiation have been ignored.

It has now come to light that rather than make any effort to meet these employees and avert this damaging strike, the Cordant is planning:

  1. To bring in temporary staff on zero-hours contracts to cover them.
  2. To force existing staff to train these replacements (this is already happening).
  3. To pay these temporary staff only the minimum wage of £7.50 an hour, despite the University of London guaranteeing that all staff will be paid at least the London Living Wage of £9.75.
  4. To place at risk staff and students across the University of London by employing staff with minimum training and no knowledge of the buildings or their occupants.

If the University is aware of this, it is breaking its London Living Wage commitments and openly encouraging the use of zero-hour contracts in order to break the strike. Furthermore it will also be legally culpable should a fire or other serious incident occur  without trained staff on hand to handle it.

Can you therefore confirm that the University will instruct its contractor to abandon this plan, and instead offer a fair solution to the issues raised by its employees?

Can you also confirm that the University is guaranteeing that it is providing a safe environment for staff and students, as it is legally required to do?

Best wishes


Danny Millum