IWGB organiser workshops — February 15, 2019

IWGB organiser workshops

We are organising two day-long trainings in London for IWGB members and volunteers on 2nd March (40 spaces), and 16th March (20 spaces).

We will cover lots of campaigning-related topics:

• organising  
• recruitment 
• dealing with the press
• effective social media 
• effective protesting IWGB-style

RSVP is essential to book you and your reps places, by replying to this email – maxdewhurst@iwgb.co.uk – and to get times and location details etc.

________________________________________________

Hola a tod@s,  estoy organizando dos días de training en Londres para los miembros y voluntarios de IWGB el:

  • Sábado 2 de marzo (40 plazas)
  • Sábado 16 de marzo (20 plazas)

Hablaremos sobre muchos temas relacionados con campañas:

  • organizar
  • reclutar
  • lidiar con la prensa
  • uso eficiente de las redes
  • protestas efectivas al estilo IWGB

Para reservar plazas para ti y tus reps y obtener las horas y detalles de la localización etc. solo necesitáis responder al email (maxdewhurst@iwgb.co.uk ).

 

 

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What do Goldsmiths security officers want most? To be treated fairly and with dignity and respect — February 13, 2019

What do Goldsmiths security officers want most? To be treated fairly and with dignity and respect

Security officers at Goldsmiths, University of London are tired of their second-class treatment. As outsourced workers managed by CIS, they do not enjoy equal treatment and the same terms and conditions as the university colleagues they protect and defend every day.

They want to be treated with dignity and respect, and are taking action over inadequate holiday pay, sick pay and derisory pensions by launching a campaign to be brought back in house immediately. As part of this campaign, they are holding a protest on Valentine’s Day at Goldsmiths HQ, 8 Lewisham Way, London SE14 6NW, 12–2.30pm.

So, come on Goldsmiths; do not continue to keep these men and women who serve you loyally at arms-length. Why don’t you just  Listen to what your security officers and students have to say.

You pride yourself on being a ‘close-knit community’ with a ‘special commitment to our local communities within south-east London’. Don’t you think it is time to end your dirty affair with CIS and show some love for your security officers?

IWGB offers negotiations to break boycott deadlock at University of London — February 8, 2019

IWGB offers negotiations to break boycott deadlock at University of London

Dear Professor Kopelman,

I am writing you on behalf of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), the union which represents the majority of the University of London’s outsourced workers, to once again offer negotiations as a way out of the current crisis. But first, a little context.

In the Spring of 2011, as a University of London postgrad student, I started working with UoL cleaners. At the time they earned just a hare above the minimum wage (then £5.90 per hour), had the statutory minimum of holidays, statutory sick pay, and no company pensions. They were not unionised and the contractor at the time, Balfour Beatty Workplace, had no regard for even the basics of employment law. Cleaners and porters went months without payment of wages sometimes, abuse was rife and maltreatment the norm. These are the effects of outsourcing.

In addition to setting up English classes to try and help provide a route out of the dire circumstances of being a University of London cleaner, we also initiated a massive recruitment drive to UNISON and launched a London Living Wage campaign. After a wildcat strike and some protests the UoL agreed to implement the London Living Wage and Balfour Beatty recognised UNISON for the purposes of collective bargaining. It was industrial action and campaigning which achieved these results.

In September 2012, still in UNISON, we launched the 3 Cosas Campaign, in order to achieve the same sick pay, holidays, and pensions for outsourced workers as enjoyed by their directly employed colleagues. For while the London Living Wage represented a massive improvement in pay, their terms and conditions still effectively compelled them to work sick or injured, made it difficult for them to visit family in their home countries, and obliged them to retire into poverty. Before launching the 3 Cosas Campaign I wrote to your predecessor offering negotiations, which were rejected.

Unfortunately, during the 3 Cosas Campaign it became clear that the UNISON officials in charge of the branch and London Region had no interest in supporting the outsourced workers. We therefore ran a slate of pro-campaign candidates in local branch elections, only to have the elections invalidated on absurd technicalities. To this day the results have not been released. It is for these reasons that we left UNISON en masse and formed the University of London branch of the IWGB.

Despite the fact that virtually all of the outsourced workers left UNISON to join the IWGB, it has been the firm policy of both the University of London and its contractors since that time to only negotiate with UNISON. In addition to the fact that negotiating with an entity which has not authority to represent the workers and no say over the campaigns is utterly futile, the UoL’s decision to negotiate with the union the workers have chosen to leave in disgust is deeply offensive to these workers.

After over a year of high profile campaigning, involving multiple protests, videos, social media activity, an email writing campaign to your predecessor, and industrial action, at the end of November, 2013 the University and its contractor announced improved sick pay, holidays, and pensions for Balfour Beatty workers. The terms were still not as good as UoL direct employees but were definitely a major improvement on the abysmal conditions prevailing at the time. Once again, this episode demonstrated that it was public pressure and campaigning which led to an improvement in the working lives and dignity of UoL outsourced workers.

But the problem has not been solved. The outsourced workers still work under inferior terms as compared to directly employed colleagues, not just in terms of sick pay, holidays, and pensions, but also in terms of maternity pay and more. Importantly, the outsourced workers suffer a far inferior treatment from management compared to direct employees. The administrative incompetence and incapable management of the outsourcing companies causes immense hardship for your outsourced workers. Pay problems, abusive management, unreasonableness, and incompetence are the defining features of outsourcing at UoL, not mere aberrations. There is no justifiable reason why the predominantly low paid and BME outsourced workforce at UoL should be continuously treated worse than, and have inferior terms and conditions compared to, the better paid, predominantly white British direct employees of the University. It is for all of these reasons that we launched the Back in House campaign in September 2017.

Throughout the duration of this campaign we have had an outstanding offer of negotiations. Indeed, I personally have written to you on more than one occasion offering to negotiate. It is the University’s refusal to negotiate, and its dogged dedication to only engaging with the recognised unions, which has led us to escalate campaign pressure. And thus we find ourselves in the midst of the Senate House Boycott, supported by hundreds, including a number of MPs and political leaders. The Boycott has led to numerous event cancellations and lost revenue for the University and has caused irreparable reputational damage.

Unlike other campaign tactics which can fizzle out without constant injections or resource and energy, the Boycott simply grows with time and becomes self-propelling; the more people cancel events, the more pressure there is for others to do the same. The Boycott is not being waged out of malice or out of desire to harm the UoL; the Boycott is the culmination of eight years of struggle for dignity and decent working conditions on the part of the workers and an obstinate refusal to engage in dialogue on the part of the University. The thing you need to understand is that just as you have a responsibility to safeguard the finances, sound management, and reputation of the University, we have a responsibility to assist our members in achieving respect, dignity, equal treatment, and decent working conditions. In the absence of dialogue and negotiation, campaign tactics are simply the most expeditious method of achieving these results.

Having set the context, I therefore reiterate my offer to talk. The University of London is unique in its refusal to negotiate; indeed the IWGB has engaged in dialogue, debate or negotiation with senior Uber executives, Matthew Taylor, directors of courier companies and a range of other employers.Especially when taking into account the IWGB’s unimpugnable claim to be the representative voice of UoL outsourced workers, the UoL’s position is all the more surprising. But it’s not too late to changecourse. If you agree to negotiate we will send a delegation of IWGB officials, comprised of both full time officers and outsourced worker reps, chosen by us, and we will sit down with you in good faith to see if we can find a negotiated way out of the current crisis.

The choice is yours.

Kind regards,

Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee

General Secretary IWGB

Want to learn for free? Find out what’s on offer at our weekly Spanish classes — February 5, 2019

Want to learn for free? Find out what’s on offer at our weekly Spanish classes

Hola a todos

I have found a new teacher for the lunchtime Spanish classes! Julio from the library, who some of you may know, has ‘volunteered’ to help out.

We will be starting again on 14 February at 12.30pm in the lower mezzanine room, 3rd floor, Institute of Historical Research.

Please do let me know if you can make it so I can give Julio an idea of numbers.

Hasta luego!

Danny

IWGB launches in-house campaign for security guards at Goldsmiths — January 15, 2019

IWGB launches in-house campaign for security guards at Goldsmiths

Outsourced security guards at Goldsmiths, University of London have won the backing of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which has today launched its campaign to bring them in-house with a letter to the university setting out its demands and next steps.

Dear Patrick Loughrey

I am writing to you in my capacity as President of the Independent Workers’ Union of GreatBritain (IWGB) on behalf of the security guards who are currently outsourced to CIS Limited at Goldsmiths University.

As you are aware, these outsourced workers have far inferior terms and conditions in comparison to directly employed members of staff at Goldsmiths, being treated as second class workers despite providing a vital and important job to without which the University could not function. The only way to end this injustice is to bring these outsourced staff back in house so that they benefit from the same payroll and HR departments, the same maternity and paternity pay, the same pensions, sick pay, and holidays, and the same standards of management as in-house employees.

This type of security, decency, and fairness will not be found by using the incompetent contractors you routinely use. We therefore call on Goldsmiths to take immediate action and bring the security guards in house by no later than 1 February 2019. If the workers are not brought in house by this date, the workers at Goldsmiths are prepared to wage a high profile “Goldsmiths Back In House Campaign”. These workers will have the full support ofthe IWGB in this campaign.

We of course remain open to dialogue and negotiations on these matters. However, given past examples where institutions like Goldsmiths have chosen the masochistic path todefeat by ignoring the workers’ demands until they had exerted enough public pressure toforce them into humiliating backpedaling and concessions, we can only assume you will do the same. So let me take this opportunity to be perfectly clear about what will follow should you choose to ignore these reasonable demands:

  • We will build support for the campaign among other trade unions, politicians, NGO’s and other organisations. Indeed you can expect public letters from a number of them right after the given deadline calling on you to accept the workers’ demands.
  • We will publicise on social media the ills of outsourcing and the stories of the workers who suffer the consequences of insufficient holiday, sick pay, paternity and maternity pay.
  • We will make and distribute videos where workers and supporters articulate the exploitation of being outsourced at Goldsmiths University.
  • We will be contacting the press to tell them about the two tier workforce at Goldsmiths University, where predominantly BAME migrant workers are on one set of terms and conditions and work without the respect of the University, and another set of predominantly white British workers operate in the same building but a different world.
  • We will be holding loud and disruptive protests. Indeed the first one will be scheduledright after the given deadline if we don’t have a positive response, which should see a few hundred people outside Goldsmiths.
  • The outsourced workers are ready to go on strike over their various demands if needed.
  • We will be flyering Goldsmiths University events to inform the public of the University’s exploitative practices.
  • Write to Goldsmiths donors and famous alumni to inform them of the exploitative working conditions of outsourced workers at the university and highlight the fact that the people who keep the university secure are exploited and treated like second class workers.

You and your colleagues may or may not be familiar with the IWGB and the campaigns this union has waged and is currently waging. However lest you have any doubts about the union’s track record on waging and winning campaigns, it might be worth your while to peruse the union’s website, the current campaign at the University of London at Senate House, including the current boycott, and the history and press coverage of the 3 Cosas Campaign at the University of London (http://3cosascampaign.wordpress.com/press- reports/).

In closing, I would advise that Goldsmiths not question the determination of the IWGB to achieve justice in this matter. There is nothing that the union treats with more seriousness and urgency than achieving improved wages, terms, and conditions for its members.

The workers at Goldsmiths University and the IWGB more generally look forward to receiving your response.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Kind regards,

Henry Chango Lopez
President
IWGB

EU settlement scheme —

EU settlement scheme

As the UK prepares to leave the European Union many higher education institutions are showing their commitment to staff by confirming they will pay the settlement fees of all EU employees wanting to stay in the UK after Brexit. In a letter to the University of London’s director of HR services, the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain call for the university to follow suit.    Continue reading

New job opportunity: caseworker (maternity leave cover) — January 4, 2019

New job opportunity: caseworker (maternity leave cover)

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is currently looking for a new caseworker to work from its London office for £11.55 per hour, with hours yet to be discussed. The position will be temporary to cover a staff members’ maternity leave. Therefore, the person should be able to start in mid to late January and end on 14 June.

The role

The main responsibilities of the post are to:

  • manage a varied caseload, chiefly of disciplinaries, grievances, and deduction of wages claims, but also entering into other areas of law as required by the diverse and changing membership (e.g. licensing issues for private hire drivers)
  • assist with preparation of tribunal cases (and may develop into running such cases) help to maintain the smooth operation of the IWGB legal department maintain data management processes and keep members informed while acting in accordance with their needs
  • assist the general secretary and other legal department colleagues with other tasks appropriate to the post
  • undertake any other duties appropriate to the post and help other staff maintain the smooth running of the union’s head office.

Person specification

Essential

  • Have a high level of spoken Spanish
  • Have experience of employment-related case work.
  • Grasp the IWGB’s approach and be personally committed to social justice and the improvement of working conditions.
  • Have good computer skills, including a knowledge of MS Office including Excel.
  • Have a high level of personal organisation and an ability to deal with a demanding and stressful job.
  • Be able to work independently and in a team

Desirable

  • Have been an active member of a union or have knowledge of the trade union movement.

How to apply

Please email your CV and a cover letter explaining why you feel you would fit this role to Seb Flais at sebastienflais@iwgb.co.uk by no later than 12pm on 10 January.

Please also include the details of two professional references.

Health Education England (HEE) TUPE transfer proposals – report from the emergency ICE forum — January 3, 2019

Health Education England (HEE) TUPE transfer proposals – report from the emergency ICE forum

Below is an an update from the ICE forum following the emergency meeting held just before Christmas.

Attached are some answers to the questions submitted prior to the meeting, and below is the relevant section from the minutes which provides some more detail as to the proposals and their implications.

It is clear from the responses that we have had so far from the university that:

  1. many aspects of these proposals remain to be finalised
  2. the hniversity / HEE have not yet explored the option of having the government assume these HMRC liabilities
  3. these plans will have a negative impact on staff pensions
  4. these plans are being rushed (particularly in comparison with the continued delay over the FM services in-housing process) and if carried out by April, will cause massive stress and disruption for staff at the busiest time of the year

The university has asked that further questions / response are submitted by the end of the week.

The IWGB ICE reps plan to respond that until the issues referred to above are resolved, the process should be halted – but please do send us any additional questions or feedback. Bear in mind that we do not necessarily have to adhere to the university’s deadline!

HEE discussion

The ICE Forum considered the request from HEE to transfer the services currently provided by University-employed staff to HEE with effect from 1 April 2019, which required the university to release HEE from its requirement to provide 12-months’ notice to exit the Memorandum of Understanding between the University and HEE.

SC reported that HEE had formally made its request in mid-November 2018.

SC reported that a number of queries raised by Forum members had already been addressed in the confidential Briefing Note that had been circulated prior to the meeting. Any further questions should be submitted, as soon as possible, to ZM for a prompt response.

SC clarified that due diligence work would only begin in advance of the TUPE consultation, which itself had yet to start. At that time, the university would consider a number of matters, including its duty to care to staff affected and the potential implications for their pay, conditions and benefits.

SC clarified that any decision to review London weighting would not affect staff transferred to HEE. It was also reported that transferred staff would no longer be members of the Senate House Branches of UCU/Unison. However, it was understood that there was a trade union structure in place at HEE. SC clarified that staff, once transferred, would be subject to HEE’s established consultation arrangements.

SC reported that, in considering the existing arrangements between the university and HEE, it was estimated that the university would bear a net loss of £150k per year following the transfer of staff.

SC indicated that affected staff could apply for vacancies elsewhere within the university. If successful in their applications, they would remain employed by the university.

SC noted that the board of trustees, at its meeting on 28 November 2018, had agreed to delegate its authority to the vice-chancellor to respond to HEE on behalf of the university.

SC reported that the forum was being asked, at this time, to only provide any further feedback on the request to transfer staff to HEE on 1 April 2019 and that the forum’s feedback would inform the vice-chancellor in his reply to HEE in January 2019.

The forum noted the financial benefits to HEE to complete the staff transfer by

1 April 2019. However, it was suggested that the university should not be held to the timeline proposed by HEE. SC would consider the following relevant matters to inform on the reply from the vice-chancellor to HEE:

It was reported that the work of HEE was at its busiest from January to March and urged that work on the transfer of staff, which included the due diligence work and the TUPE consultation, should take place during the summer months.

TH noted that, in view of the amount of time that the university was taking to carefully consider the impact of bringing back outsourced workers, the university should also adopt a similar approach to this matter and take as much time as it needed.

 

IWGB general secretary invites UoL vice-chancellor to join boycott — December 10, 2018

IWGB general secretary invites UoL vice-chancellor to join boycott

Dear vice-chancellor Kopelman,

I’m writing to inform you, in case you’ve missed it on Twitter, of our boycott of the University of London (UoL). The boycott, which has already garnered an incredible amount of public support, ranging from the National Union of Students to the co-leader of the Green Party, the Shadow Chancellor, and Ken Loach, will continue until such time as all outsourced workers are brought in house on equal terms and conditions to their directly employed colleagues.

Given that we are signing up academics and institutions, I’d also like to invite you to join up. You can do so here. This is a great opportunity for you to get on the right side of history.

I appreciate that this may create a logistical conundrum for you as you work at Senate House, but being the progressive and modern institution that UoL intends to be, surely it could make some working from home arrangements for you?  Further, when the dust settles on this whole thing, at least you’ll have something to fall back on lest you be accused of presiding over the worst reputational damage in the history of the institution during your very short tenure.

Going from awarding Nelson Mandela his distance degree to being boycotted by trade unions, student unions, academics, and leading figures on the British left over unfair treatment of predominantly BME workers is quite a steep fall.

Either way, there is and always has been a very easy way out of this mess: bring the workers in house now!

Kindest of regards,

Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee
General Secretary
IWGB