University of London launches race equality group — October 17, 2018

University of London launches race equality group

The University of London (UoL) is introducing its first race equality group “in recognition of the under-representation of black and minority ethnic staff in senior levels”. Membership is open to everyone at UoL and participants will be encouraged to share their experiences and insights to help the university improve its “working practices and promote a positive and inclusive workplace culture”.

The launch, which takes place on 24 October in Chancellor’s Hall, 1.30–3pm, includes a presentation by Jannett Morgan, associate director for Advance HE’s Diversifying Academic Leadership programme. She will discuss the empowerment and promotion of talented people from under-represented groups. See details here.

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IWGB’s University of London branch appoints its first BME officer — October 12, 2018

IWGB’s University of London branch appoints its first BME officer

David Kalanzi (left), the recently elected black and minority ethnic (BME) officer for the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain’s University of London (UoL) branch, says he excited to take on the role, the first of its kind for the union. Below, he explains why he volunteered for a position that sends a fundamental message. Continue reading

Enough is enough! — October 1, 2018

Enough is enough!

Cuts hurt all of us. This is made clear in the letter below from IWGB chair Sarah Anderson to Phil Norrey, chief executive and head of paid services at Devon County Council. She is calling on all IWGB members to support foster care workers by writing to Mr Norrey (Phil.norrey@devon.gov.uk) who, while pocketing an annual salary of at least £149,995, is overseeing a policy that is bringing in salary cuts for the council’s foster care workers.

Dear Mr Norrey,

I am writing to you in support of the Devon County Council foster care workers. Like foster care workers across UK these people have not been listened to and their views have not been taken into account. It is patently unfair that many of these workers who have dedicated their incredible energy and devotion to the young people in their care are now facing unjustified salary cuts. Like everyone else foster care workers need to eat too.

As you will no doubt be aware foster care workers right across the country are coming together as part of the IWGB in historic proportions, they are saying enough is enough.

I am calling on you to declare NO CUTS, NO CHANGE.

Kind regards,

Sarah Anderson BSc (Hons)
Chair

 

IWGB condemns university’s institutional discrimination against low-paid workers —
Put your best foot forward and raise funds for IWGB’s legal department — September 30, 2018
Latest outsourcing developments: letter to UoL’s interim vice-chancellor — September 27, 2018

Latest outsourcing developments: letter to UoL’s interim vice-chancellor

Dear Professor Kopelman

I am writing on behalf of our outsourced members at the University of London to inform you that we are currently balloting for further strike action as a consequence of the University’s failure to make any meaningful progress on the issue of bringing workers in-house, despite its earlier commitments.

The University has completely failed to engage with workers and their chosen representatives, and as a consequence will be the focal point of the national demonstration of precarious workers on 30 October, with all of the associated negative publicity and media attention.

There is no question that the University has brought this on itself, and as a longstanding member of staff I am extremely disappointed that my institution has damaged its reputation and by association that of its staff by its failure to take decisive action to resolve its discriminatory two-tier employment situation.

This is even more galling when other institutions have shown how this can be done swiftly and in a way that maximises good-will.

At Goldsmiths [Goldsmiths, University of London], they have announced that they will bring more than 100 cleaners in-house WITHIN SIX MONTHS.

Yesterday at KCL [King’s College London] they announced that all cleaners and security would be brought in house, stating that ‘bringing the people who deliver these vital services onto our payroll and properly into the King’s community is the right thing to do‘.

The University of London could and should be doing the same thing – and will be forced to do so eventually anyway. The longer it delays, the more unnecessary harm and suffering it causes.

As ever, we await your response.

Best wishes

Danny

Danny Millum
Branch Secretary
University of London IWGB

 

‘In-house’ fundraiser gives £2,000 boost to IWGB strike fund — September 18, 2018

‘In-house’ fundraiser gives £2,000 boost to IWGB strike fund

Thanks so much to everyone who came to the University of London ‘back in-house’ fundraiser party on 15 September, and to those who helped raise the money in a range of creative ways. These included raffle prizes donations and the organising of a well-run bingo session.

Some 200 people descended on SOAS for the event. We had an amazing time and managed to raise more than £2,000 which will help us continue the fight for justice and equality and support the next strike by outsourced workers at Senate House.

Translation

¡Muchísimas gracias a todos los que vinieron a la fiesta de recaudación de fondos para la campaña de la rama Universidad de Londres anoche, y tambien a todos quienes nos apoyaron y ayudaron a recaudar el dinero de diferentes maneras!

Definitivamente la pasamos genial y logramos recaudar más de £2000 para la próxima huelga y para seguir luchando por justicia y igualdad!

 HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE!

IWGB joins forces with UCL out-sourced cleaners —

IWGB joins forces with UCL out-sourced cleaners

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has been busily organising and recruiting cleaners at UCL who are currently undergoing TUPE transfer from their current contractor Tenon FM, to a new company, Sodexo. Although TUPE is designed to protect employees in this situation, history tells us they are right to be concerned.

The union recently met with this group of outsourced cleaners and their representatives, who have decided to organise en masse with the IWGB. They are tired of being exploited, badly treated, undermined and forced to work under worse employment conditions than their directly employed colleagues. Sounds familiar?

Like other IWGB members, the workers are hungry for justice and workplace equality. They will keep organising and building up towards their big campaign to have workers brought in-house at UCL.

Stay tuned for what is coming!!

Translation

 Muy buena reunion con los limpiadores y representantes subcontratados de UCL quienes han decidido organizarse en un gran numero con el sindicato IWGB después de estar cansados de ser explotados, irrespetados y con peores condiciones de empleo que sus colegas quienes trabajan directamente para la Universidad.

Ellos estan hambrientos de justicia e igualdad en su lugar de trabajo y seguirán organizandose y trabajando para su gran campaña!

¡Estén atentos para lo que se viene!

Finding another way: an open letter to the University of London’s new vice-chancellor — September 13, 2018

Finding another way: an open letter to the University of London’s new vice-chancellor

Dear Professor Kopelman,

I am writing you in my capacity as General Secretary of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB).  Firstly, I’d like to congratulate you on your appointment as interim Vice-Chancellor and to welcome you to the University of London community.  I can assure you that many of your outsourced workers are looking to you with hope that your appointment will signify a departure from past practice and instead represent a more rational and humane approach to dealing with the industrial disputes at your doorstep.

As you will no doubt be aware, the IWGB is the largest trade union at the Central University.  We also represent the overwhelming majority of the outsourced workers.  When it comes to the outsourced workers the IWGB is the sole legitimate voice with whom the University could in good faith engage.  Unison, whilst undoubtedly able to boast high membership densities and a decent track record at other locations, for example, SOAS, cannot say the same at the Central University.

In fact they did such a terrible job that the outsourced workers left en masse  to join the IWGB.  To negotiate with Unison, on behalf of the outsourced workers, is therefore not only misguided, but is genuinely insulting to many in that workforce.  UCU on the other hand represents direct employees on grades 7 and above and as such does not even claim to represent the outsourced workers.

With this background one can assess the University of London’s strategic approach to dealing with the IWGB, which over the past few years has been as consistent as it has been ill-judged.  The University’s approach has been to respond to pressure from the IWGB in every instance (e.g. the 3 Cosas Campaign for sick pay, holidays, and pensions, the Back in House campaign against outsourcing, the triggering of the Information and Consultation procedures, etc.) by ignoring IWGB and instead engaging with the “recognised unions”.

In trying to look at the situation from an objective, analytical, and dispassionate- rather than partisan- perspective, I do understand the rationale.  The University sees the IWGB as radical, unwavering, and generally as people with whom they cannot do business.  The University views the recognised unions on the other hand as easy to work with, reasonable, and malleable.  By doing a deal with the recognised unions, the University can drape any decision they make in the shroud of legitimacy and industrial relations best practice.

The problem with this approach is that ultimately it makes the University’s problems worse, not better.  For the reasons explained above, the recognised unions have absolutely no mandate to do anything on behalf of the outsourced workers.  So negotiating with them achieves nothing.  They do not have the power to decide whether or not the campaign will continue nor do they have the power to make counteroffers that will calm the industrial strife.

Similarly, with the ICE example, trying to do a stitch up with the recognised unions instead of engaging with the IWGB in good faith resulted in two tribunal decisions against the University and uncounted wasted thousands in legal expenses.  Further, every time the University does something which feels like a slight to the outsourced workers, it only serves to pour fuel on the fire of the campaign.

I trust that the people who surround you will be pushing a certain narrative and approach when it comes to dealing with the outsourced workers, their campaign, and their union.  An approach that has been tried and failed time and time again.  I am writing to encourage you to take a step back and think for yourself on this one.

The IWGB is not some group of radical crazies with whom good faith dialogue and negotiation cannot be undertaken.  Our policies, approach, and actions are dictated democratically by the membership.  To dismiss us as radical unreasonable ideologues is to dismiss the cleaners, security guards, postroom staff, porters, and other outsourced workers who keep the University functioning as radical unreasonable ideologues.

What I would say better defines our approach is a ruthless pragmatism focused on deploying those tactics which will most effectively and quickly achieve our aims.  In the present case, our aim is to bring all workers back in house, asap, as our members believe it is unjustifiable to continuously subject the predominantly low paid, BME workforce to inferior treatment, terms and conditions.  Unfortunately, experience has taught us that high profile pressure campaigns tend to get the quickest results in winning these sorts of things.  If dialogue and negotiations were capable of achieving the same result they would absolutely be our preference.

I am therefore writing to make the same offer to you as I made to your predecessors: meet with us, negotiate with us, and we might be able to find a way out of the industrial strife.  Alternatively, the campaign will continue- we are about to begin balloting for another round of industrial action- the negative press coverage will continue, the legal cases will continue, further pressure tactics will be deployed, and the end result will be the same because we won’t stop until the workers are brought back in house on equal terms and conditions as their directly employed colleagues.

Many thanks in advance for your attention on this matter.

Kind regards,

Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee
General Secretary
IWGB