Our campaign is getting closer to victory! Thanks to our pressure, the University has confirmed that an initial report on whether to bring workers IN-HOUSE will go to the Vice-Chancellor on 13 December, and draft recommendations will be made at the end of January!
As part of this report, all employees will be asked their opinion – so you will all receive a survey in the next 2 weeks! The University knows it has to give in, and we just need to keep the pressure up!
If you’ve got any questions or concerns about the survey, get in touch! Hasta la Victoria!
UCU have opened a ballot for strike action, and for action short of a strike, over proposed changes to the USS pension. The changes will reduce retirement benefits by between 20% and 40%.
UCU view this threat as very serious, and are calling for “sustained strike action aimed at massively disrupting lectures, classes and the administrative life of your institution”. You can read the statement accompanying the ballot on the UCU website.
If you’ve got any concerns about your pension, or want to find out more about what IWGB can do to support you, please get in touch.
Our demonstration yesterday was noisy and fun, as usual, and really well-attended – so well-attended that when we went for a walk we shut down large sections of Bloomsbury! Here’s a selection of tweets and videos from last night’s action.
Yesterday we held a massive demonstration at Senate House to demand an end to outsourcing at the University of London. The demonstration coincided with Foundation Day, when the Chancellor of the university, Princess Anne, comes to visit – a good opportunity to embarrass the Vice-Chancellor and the UoL management by showing how the majority of staff really feel about their behaviour. We’ve also launched a landmark case to compel UoL to recognise its role as an employer of outsourced workers. We got a lot of press coverage – here are some highlights!
Aditya Chakrabortty has written this great account of the latest developments in the campaign for the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/21/outsourced-working-university-of-london
Another write-up of the case in the Guardian news section: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/nov/21/university-london-support-staff-pay-conditions-agency-staff
Josiah Mortimer for Left Foot Forward: https://leftfootforward.org/2017/11/from-uber-to-the-university-of-london-migrant-workers-are-standing-together/
Jo Maugham QC sums up the case for the Good Law Project: https://goodlawproject.org/good-law-project-statement-iwgbs-joint-employer-case/
On the relationship between Brexit and the case we’re bringing against UoL: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/university-of-london-outsourcing-contractors-european-convention-on-human-rights-come-for-it-next-a8067416.html
On the BBC News website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42056769
Henry and Jason appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show along with Daphne Romney QC – the segment starts at around 42 minutes: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09g8mdh/victoria-derbyshire-21112017#
We also appeared on the BBC’s Today Programme, at around 8.30am yesterday: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09fj9fk#play
UCU have issued the following warning about the proposed changes to the USS pension, and threatened strike action. IWGB will support any UCU action, should it go ahead. If you’ve got any questions or concerns about your pension or the current dispute, please get in touch with Danny.
17 November 2017
UCU has warned of chaos in universities as lectures and classes are cancelled in the new year if a row over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is not resolved.
UCU said proposals to remove the guaranteed level of pension benefits for hundreds of thousands of university staff were a bolt from the blue and that it would ballot members for industrial action in a ballot that will open Monday 27 November and close on Friday 19 January.
Under plans from Universities UK (UUK), guaranteed pension benefits through a defined benefit scheme would be replaced by a defined contribution scheme, where retirement income would depend on returns from money invested in the stock market.
A study by financial advisors Tilney estimated that, given the same lifetime contributions, a defined contribution scheme would lead to a final pension worth only around 20% of that in the best defined benefit schemes.
The union pointed to analysis commissioned by USSOpens new window themselves that shows that most universities have the ability to pay extra in order to safeguard existing benefits*. UCU added that it did not believe the plans had the support of the majority of universities.
The union will ask members to back industrial action aimed at a substantial disruption of around 50 of the largest and most well-known universities in the UK including Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and Manchester.
The action will include a series of strikes during February, as well as other measures such as refusing to cover or reschedule classes, or cover for sick colleagues.
Two rounds of cuts in USS benefits since 2011 have already left these staff in receipt of pensions which are worth less than those of school teachers and academics in non-USS universities. UCU is currently seeking actuarial advice on what exactly the changes would mean for different types of scheme members.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘After months of negotiations these plans are a bolt from the blue and would effectively destroy the USS scheme. It is categorically the worst proposal I have received from universities on any issue in 20 years of representing university staff.
‘These plans would remove members’ guarantees in retirement and leave them facing years of stress about whether their pension investments are returning enough income to live on. Staff always put their students first but their goodwill has been taken for granted for too long. If universities continue to pursue this action, they will face disruption on campus of a kind never seen before.
‘After months of prevarication, now is the time for vice-chancellors to face up to their responsibilities to staff and students and work with UCU to protect the hard-earned pension benefits of their staff.’
Eighty-seven per cent of UCU members who voted in a consultative ballot that closed last month said they would be prepared to take industrial action in order to defend the benefits of USS.
* Page 36 point 4 “Employers have the ability to increase contributions”
Following concerted pressure from IWGB, the University of London has agreed that all outsourced workers will receive the new London Living Wage rate of £10.20 from the start of November! Of course, we’ll still be pushing for all outsourced workers to be returned in-house, with our #UoLBackInHouse demonstration planned for next Tuesday…
If you’ve got any questions about the London Living Wage or about the #UoLBackInHouse campaign, get in touch with Danny.
Next Tuesday 21 November, on Foundation Day, we’ll be staging a strike and protest to demand that the UoL workers are brought back in-house.
It’s really important to get as many supporters there as possible – so please come down for a 6pm start!
AND if you’d like to help with flyering in the run-up to the event, get in touch with Danny! We will be flyering on Friday at Senate House – if you would like to do a shift do just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outsourced workers at the University of London are fighting to be brought back in-house, to end zero-hours contracts and for pay rises.
Join them on 21 November at 6pm at Senate House as they strike and protest during the visit of University of London Chancellor Princess Anne. They will be united in one voice to give her the message: IN-HOUSE NOW!
Workers have been on strike for months demanding that the university end the discriminatory two-tier system which currently sees them employed by contractors on far worse terms and conditions than other staff. Outsourced workers are also more likely to suffer from harassment, bullying and discrimination than their colleagues that are directly employed by the university.
Outsourced workers are predominantly migrant and BME, while in-house staff are mostly white British. There could be no clearer example of the ongoing institutionalised discrimination in our educational institutions than this.
Following a series of strikes, demos, videos, supporters’ letters and petitions the university has announced that it is reviewing all its outsourced contracts – now is a key moment to ensure that the outcome of this review is IN-HOUSE NOW!
Workers will be striking during the day, and then assembling for a massive demonstration at Senate House starting at 6pm.
Please share this event widely – any questions just email email@example.com or call 07783719479.