New officer position – BME Officer — September 11, 2018

New officer position – BME Officer

Just a quick note to say that at our last branch meeting we approved the creation of a Black and Minority Ethnic Officer for the UoL branch, and are looking for volunteers to come forward before our next meeting on 26 September.

If you are interested or have questions just drop us a line at uol@iwgb.org.uk.

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Important – proposed motion to commit IWGB to calling for a vote on the final Brexit deal —

Important – proposed motion to commit IWGB to calling for a vote on the final Brexit deal

At the next national IWGB Executive Meeting (it sounds grander than it is) we are going to be debating the following motion on Brexit, and it would be great for members to let us know their views.

We’ll be talking about it at the branch meeting on 26 September, but if you want to email any thoughts to Danny (dannymillum@iwgb.co.uk) beforehand that would be great!

Motion: IWGB updated policy on Brexit

Proposed by: Jason Moyer-Lee

Background:

  1. Before the referendum the IWGB had a policy to support remain, mainly due to concern over our large contingent of membership working in the UK on EU passports and due to concerns over the impact of Brexit on EU-derived employment law.
  2. Despite our policy we were not particularly active in any of the referendum campaigning.
  3. Although we have been involved in some Brexit-related activity- e.g. intervening in the Article 50 Supreme Court case in order to argue for Parliament having a vote on triggering Brexit- we have not updated our policy since the referendum.
  4. In general, it is wise for the union to steer clear of political debates, especially divisive and controversial ones. We represent a broad spectrum of members and respect their views. For this reason we are not affiliated to any political party. However, Brexit and/or the shape it takes has a direct and significant effect on the IWGB and its members and it is therefore appropriate and important for us to have a position on it.
  5. There are four key areas where Brexit, in particular a hard Brexit, is likely to have detrimental impacts on the IWGB and our members:
    1. Immigration. Nearly all of the Cleaners and Facilities Branch members are here on EU passports. A huge proportion of the University of London Branch members are as well. Some members in all of the other branches will be too. And 50% of our staff are here on EU passports. The restriction on free movement that would come with a hard Brexit could decrease these people’s rights as workers in the UK. It could make it harder for them to bring family members over. Further, the environment and discourse around immigration has become increasingly toxic, with Brexit greatly contributing to this toxicity.
    2. Employment law. A large number of employment rights are derived from EU law. The importance of EU law is that: (i) in some cases it introduces rights which didn’t previously exist in the UK (e.g. paid holidays), (ii) the law is ultimately interpreted by an EU court which on the whole is more progressive and pro-worker than UK courts, and (iii) EU law supersedes domestic law, so the Tories are unable to shred employment rights that come from the EU, even with a supermajority. The IWGB relies on EU law rights to defend members on a daily basis, e.g. paid holidays, protection from discrimination, TUPE, etc. EU law also forms a central plank to various branches’ legal strategies, e.g. the ICE regulations which are used in UoL branch. Further, the foster care branches’ current legal strategy is almost entirely dependent on EU law superseding UK law.
    3. Economy. There is virtual consensus among economists that a hard Brexit will result in an economic shock and a big decrease in government revenues. We know from past experience that those who bear the biggest brunt of any economic shock and cuts in government spending are low-paid workers, e.g. our members, who have already had to struggle against the austerity agenda. This will inevitably be the same with any negative economic impact from Brexit.
    4. Inability of Government to get anything done. Brexit is all consuming and Parliament is hard pressed to focus on anything that isn’t Brexit-related. This is particularly the case when Parliament and the current government are focussing on creating a new arrangement rather than choosing an off-the-shelf option such as remaining in the single market and adopting EU law into UK law, which would require much less change. The IWGB needs Parliament to be able to engage with non-Brexit issues, e.g. a central plank of the foster care strategy is to get Parliament to pass legislation regulating the industry. Similarly, we are calling on legislation on behalf of UPHD branch to give more powers to licensing bodies in particular to cap private hire driver license numbers.
  6. The trade union movement is becoming increasingly vocal on these issues. The TUC has called for a soft Brexit and a referendum on the final deal if it looks like the deal won’t be in the interests of workers, GMB has called for a referendum on the final deal, UNITE has left open the option of another referendum, etc. Although the IWGB is not a big player, we are of the size and profile to have an influence on certain sections of the public and within the Labour party. Therefore, our taking a position could contribute, in albeit a small way, to a concrete result which (as outlined above) would directly benefit our members. Our taking a position might also reassure some of those members who are finding themselves in a precarious position and perhaps even considering leaving the UK.

Motion:

The IWGB should adopt the following updated position on Brexit, which follows on logically from our previous position:

  1. The people should be given a vote on the final Brexit deal.
  2. Failing the above, Brexit should take the softest possible form, in particular by remaining in the single market with the institution’s protections for free movement and by incorporation of EU-derived employment law.
IWGB is looking for English language teachers! —
Job opportunity – IWGB Branch Organiser and Caseworker at the University of London — August 31, 2018

Job opportunity – IWGB Branch Organiser and Caseworker at the University of London

As a consequence of our recent rapid growth, expansion into new workplaces and increased campaign activity the University of London IWGB Branch is looking for a branch organiser and caseworker.

2 days a week initially, but increasing to at least 3 and possibly more in future. This is a permanent position.

The majority of our members are outsourced migrant workers, often with English as a second language, and as a consequence this requires a different approach to union organising than the traditional top down service model.

The role will involve:

  • assisting our campaigns officer, including working on the ongoing University of London in-house campaign
  • mapping workplaces and updating membership lists
  • improving branch communication both through social media, email, text and Whatsapp and in person
  • organising meetings
  • organising and liaising with workers (particularly outsourced) to increase participation, resolve workplace issues and build branch capacity
  • performing basic casework

The ideal candidate will:

  • speak Spanish (essential)
  • have experience of campaign organising
  • have experience of working with and representing low-paid outsourced workers
  • have some casework / employment law experience
  • enjoy working with, enthusing and engaging workers from different backgrounds often working long hours in a variety of precarious jobs

BUT if you think you’re up for this then please do apply – the major essential requirements are enthusiasm and commitment to a tough but unbelievably worthwhile and rewarding job!

Please send a short CV and covering letter to sebastienflais@iwgb.co.uk by 14 September 2018. Any questions contact Danny at dannymillum@iwgb.co.uk.

Everyone working for the IWGB gets paid London Living Wage + £1 (currently £11.20) and receives a good sick pay / holiday / pension package.

SOAS ENDS OUTSOURCING FOR EVER — August 29, 2018

SOAS ENDS OUTSOURCING FOR EVER

From today every single SOAS worker is employed directly on SOAS terms and conditions.

This is massive – they fought for TEN YEARS for this.

Huge congratulations to all the workers and campaigners – and a special shout out to the great Sandy Nicoll…

University of London?

 

Latest news from the University re in-housing —

Latest news from the University re in-housing

Thanks to UCU for passing on the reply below from Chris Cobb with some more concrete details as to the in-house process and timetable.

For the first time we have some almost concrete dates for some workers. The key section is below, and should be viewed as a massive concrete success for the in-house campaign, in that we now know that soon many outsourced workers will be in-house.

In other words, our tactics are working.

However, it is now even more important that we intensify our efforts when the new academic year starts to force the University to ensure ALL workers are in-house by June next year. (Details of the next steps of the campaign will follow soon!)

The current planning is focused on the following services: security, reception, switchboard, porters, post room, AV and cleaning. 

If our current planning progresses as anticipated and our plans are subsequently accepted by the Board of Trustees in the autumn, our aim would be to put in a place an in-house service provision for reception, porters, post room and AV during the second and third (calendar) quarters of 2019.

You will understand that we are not able to be absolute in our timings and the above provisional timings will be subject to discussion with our suppliers and further informed by our, and our suppliers, statutory obligations in respect of the people they (our suppliers) employ to work at the University.

The security and cleaning services are quite complex in that they involve more work streams than the other services and rely on specialist contractors to an extent that the other services do not.  The planning in relation to these services will inevitably therefore take longer.  Our aim however is to be in a position to outline a provisional timeline in relation to cleaning services by the end of October 2018 and in relation to security by December 2018.

We are not yet in a position to add anything by way of further update in relation to our hard FM, catering and grounds services for the reasons set out in the statement of 29th June 2018.  Please be assured however that we remain in active discussion with the current service providers.

The full letter is available here.

Proposal to create a new officer post – BME Officer — August 22, 2018

Proposal to create a new officer post – BME Officer

Following the recent creation of new posts for health and safety and women’s officers, it has been suggested that we should also create a black and minority ethnic officer.

Given the large proportion of BME members in the UoL branch AND the ongoing discrimination many of them face as outsourced workers we are keen to make sure that they are properly represented.

We will be voting on this at the next branch meeting (Wednesday 29 August, 1230, Lower Mezzanine Floor) and it would be great to have your thoughts and for anyone interested to volunteer.

Drop Danny dannymillum@iwgb.co.uk if you have any questions.

Saturday 15 September! Fundraising Fiesta! All welcome! —
Save the date – Saturday 15 September, fundraising party for UoL in-house campaign — August 15, 2018