Victory: Security Officers stop cuts to hours at UCL — July 29, 2020

Victory: Security Officers stop cuts to hours at UCL

On 6 July a first consultation meeting with Security Officers took place in which AXIS announced a series of changes with a serious impact of the terms and conditions of our member at UCL.

After a public campaign and relentless pressure from the IWGB-UoL branch AXIS and UCL have announced the halt of the process.

UCL and its subcontractors have been forced to stop the process after the inconsistencies & lies were persistently exposed and legal challenges brought against #ucl and its subcontractor. We will fight until the whole process is buried altogether!

Workers fought back and exposed the contradictions of the whole process:

This revealed how outsourced companies will try anything to profit from this crisis but it has also shown the appalling indifference displayed by #ucl towards all the workers who have been at the frontline during the pandemic:

What has this process revealed about outsourcing at #ucl?

1.The length to which outsourced companies go to increase their margin of profit at the cost of the livelihoods of key workers: spreading misinformation, lying systematically and withholding information. However, we caught the subcontractor’s manager red handed after the information provided during the consultation was confirmed to be false by #ucl themselves! These are the sort of outsourcing cowboys we have to fight against See the full story here:

2.This has also shown #ucl‘s hypocrisy and tremendous gap between statement and practice #ucl‘s BLM statements are nothing but words void of any meaning in the light of the treatment received by predominantly black Sec.Officers who have been at the frontline during the pandemic

3.For precarious BAME workers, racial discrimination is embedded into the very terms of their contracts. It is an injustice lived daily. Despite its promises and public declarations, #ucl continues to fail to hold subcontractors or itself to account for exploitation & dishonesty

4. This is why we have been campaigning to be brought in-house since October: exploitation will continue as long as outsourcing allows #ucl to dodge accountability for workers’ conditions.

Outsourced workers deserve justice&equality, that is why Outsourcing must end Now!

BRANCH MEETING, Saturday the 25th of June at 2pm / Sábado 25 de julio a las 2pm REUNIÓN DE LA RAMA — July 24, 2020

BRANCH MEETING, Saturday the 25th of June at 2pm / Sábado 25 de julio a las 2pm REUNIÓN DE LA RAMA

We will be discussing the hard work we’ve all put in for such a long time, the challenges we face now and strategies for the future.

Your involvement motivates us as we carry on working with you and helping you with your work-related problems. Your participation, your ideas and your suggestions help us to ensure our union remains democratic and representative.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to inform yourself and actively participate in the work of the branch.

Together we can create a strong and democratic union.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Join here!

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82501670997?pwd=VlRINWdmSTQyWG5jc2ZDeXJONDcrUT09

Sábado 25 de julio a las 2pm REUNIÓN DE LA RAMA

Hablaremos sobre el arduo trabajo que hemos  venido haciendo durante todo este tiempo, discutiremos los desafíos actuales y las estrategias para el futuro.

Tu presencia nos motiva a seguir trabajando y ayudándoles con los problemas laborales. También tu presencia, tus ideas y sugerencias nos ayudan a hacer un sindicato democrático y participativo .

No se pueden perder esta oportunidad de infórmate y participa activamente en la rama.

¡Juntos haremos un Sindicato fuerte y democrático !

¡Les esperamos compañeros!

¡Unete aquí!

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82501670997?pwd=VlRINWdmSTQyWG5jc2ZDeXJONDcrUT09

Maritza Castillo Calle

Branch Chair

IWGB University of London

AXIS & UCL give with one hand, take away with the other — July 20, 2020

AXIS & UCL give with one hand, take away with the other

“Over the next year UCL are bringing all your benefits in line with UCL staff, if you don’t think that comes with a cost then you are sadly mistaken. That’s why we need to get this rationalisation of shifts done.” – John Fitzpatrick, Operations Director (and shareholder) for University College London’s security subcontractor AXIS, at a consultation meeting with security officers on Tuesday 14 July.

On 10 June, UCL’s security subcontractor AXIS announced a consultation process to “rationalise shifts” of security officers at UCL, ending 28 July.

In the ongoing consultations, some security officers have been told they may face cuts of up to 18 hours of work per week, which would result in a 30% drop in their wages.

The IWGB is still seeking clarification regarding the rationale for the proposed changes and whether AXIS plans to impose the changes or if this will be voluntary.

The rationale for these cuts has not been properly explained by AXIS, but this move comes only a few months after AXIS hired nearly 100 more security officers on the site, aiming to try to weaken the power of the union after several powerful strikes in the autumn, which resulted in a massive improvement in terms and conditions for outsourced workers at UCL.

Some AXIS managers have stated in the ongoing consultations that there are now too many security officers on site due to the recent surge in recruitment of officers and the costs are too high for UCL. Around 280 security officers work at UCL currently.

On the other hand, AXIS Operations Director John Fitzpatrick claims that the proposed cuts to hours are needed as a direct result of UCL’s decision (following our campaign) to improve people’s terms and conditions, which has increased costs for UCL.

It is not yet clear how many security officers will lose hours or be otherwise impacted by the proposed changes. And it is not clear whether the rationalisation plan is being driven by AXIS or by UCL.

If Fitzpatrick is telling the truth and UCL is driving the changes, then they have given with one hand, and are now trying to take away with the other. Security officers were given a 9% pay rise, but some are now facing a 30% drop in their wages.

This is truly shocking and calls into question UCL’s pledge to give UCL’s outsourced staff parity of terms and conditions with directly employed staff.

UCL’s security are fighting back, calling for ‘No cuts and no sham consultations’.

You can support them by sharing the campaign tweets and helping draw attention to this issue: https://twitter.com/iwgbucl

Redundancy: learn your rights and help a friend — July 17, 2020

Redundancy: learn your rights and help a friend

The IWGB’s highly-trained Legal Department are offering branch members the chance for some virtual training in redundancy processes – what to expect, what your rights are and what you can do to fight it.

We’re calling for members from UoL branch to volunteer. Sadly, redundancies are likely across Universities and we will need more people able to accompany friends and colleagues to meetings. 

The training will cover what to do as a companion. Please only sign up if you’re willing to support others in meetings as places are limited, but the more trained people we have, the better. (Companions get paid time off normal duties to help their colleagues.) 

Last year, during the CoSector restructure, every member IWGB accompanied was happy with their result. Let’s try to make that happen again! 

The training date is still to be confirmed so please express your interest by emailing lindseycaffin@iwgb.co.uk by 4.30 on Friday 17th July (this Friday!) and we’ll send you the details as soon as the date is set. 

Attempted Security Cuts at UCL — July 7, 2020

Attempted Security Cuts at UCL

UCL’s subcontractor Axis is trying to cut the frontline security staff who risked their lives to keep everyone safe in the pandemic.

On 10 June, UCL’s subcontractor Axis announced that it would be conducting consultations with security staff with a plan of ‘rationalising’ their shift patterns. Axis stated that “the current irregular shift patterns are damaging to the service delivery requirements and performance indicators.”

Many security staff at UCL work irregular shift patterns, due to family or caring responsibilities or other jobs – as is typical in most workplaces. We were immediately concerned that Axis might try to change our members’ shift patterns unilaterally. But now we have learnt Axis’s plan is even worse than that.

Yesterday, Axis held the first meeting with security officers as part of this consultation process. Axis announced they plan to make a series of changes with a serious impact on the terms and conditions of many security officers.

Most of the officers who were invited to the meeting, and whose shifts are being lined up for changes, are already working a regular ‘5 days ON, 2 days OFF’ shift pattern. This is not what we expected. These officers are already on highly regular shift patterns – in fact they are on one of the 3 shift patterns that Axis said it wants to move officers onto. Why is Axis trying to change their shifts?

Despite their shift pattern being one of the standard patterns Axis said it was planning to move everyone onto, officers were informed that their shift pattern would change resulting in a significant loss to their contractual hours of work. This means that some officers who are currently working on 5 days ON 2 days OFF will now have their shift pattern changed to 4 days ON 4 days OFF which means that their average weekly hours will drop from 60 hours to 42 hours, leading to a substantial loss of wages and threatening their livelihoods.

This not only means that Axis will breach the contract of employment of dozens of security officers, but that it will also jeopardize the financial position of dozens of families.

This amounts to a unilateral change to the terms and conditions of employment and would constitute a breach of the contract of employment of all officers affected. Axis have not attempted to obtain our consent to make these changes and have made it clear that our consent will not be sought to go ahead with these changes.

Axis said that the rationale for the changes is that they want to make the site easier to manage, but when it came to the first consultation meeting yesterday the real plan was clear to see – they are trying to make extensive cuts.

Axis’s stated rationale for the changes makes no sense here, as they are changing the patterns of people who are already on a regular pattern. During the meeting, a number of officers highlighted how their sites did not have any staffing issues and they had a regular and consistent shift pattern, which is supposedly the purpose of the suggested changes. Axis has failed to provide any real business rationale to breach the contract of employment of these officers who mostly work in buildings that are properly staffed and have no operational challenges.

Yesterday’s meeting, rather than a consultation, amounted to a situation in which an already drafted plan is being imposed upon staff. Furthermore, the deadline for this process is extremely short – concluding on 28 July. AXIS is attempting to address this process in an expedite manner without properly consulting nor providing any transparent information to employees.

At no point did Axis present the officers with alternative arrangements to ensure that the officers affected could continue to work their contracted hours. This is despite AXIS having a number of vacancies at present, which puts in question the necessity of the changes suggested.

Concerningly, during the meeting an Axis HR manager also mentioned that some officers’ employment might be terminated as a result of this process. If this is the case then this is a redundancy process, and as such Axis are already in breach of the law for the failure to follow an appropriate collective consultation process, which requires a minimum 30 days consultation process.

It seems clear that Axis is trying to make cuts by the backdoor. This is entirely unacceptable and will throw many of UCL’s security staff into financial difficulties.

At the meeting yesterday, Axis confirmed that these unilateral changes were being proposed at the request of UCL. For this reason, the IWGB has written to UCL to make these demands:

  1. The process must be halted.
  2. All information must be provided to security staff so they can suggest alternative proposals.
  3. A genuine consultation process must be held.

We hope that UCL will attempt to resolve this matter in a way that does not impact the livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable members of UCL, who have also been those at the frontline during this pandemic.

UCL: END DISCRIMINATION, END OUTSOURCING! — July 1, 2020

UCL: END DISCRIMINATION, END OUTSOURCING!

Outsourced Workers at UCL need your help!

Outsourced workers at UCL are fighting for equality. Security officers, cleaners, porters and catering staff across UCL are united and determined to fight to end the scourge of outsourcing and win justice, equality and dignity for all workers at UCL.

In September, outsourced workers at UCL launched our campaign to fight for equality and end outsourcing at UCL. Over the last 9 months we have achieved a lot through this campaign – including sick pay, improved annual leave, improved pay. This has already made a huge change to our lives.🙌

We have had to fight to win each of these improvements – by speaking out, by protesting, by going on strike. But we still do not have equality and we are still outsourced.

When the Coronavirus pandemic began and the country went into lockdown, our campaign to end outsourcing was put on hold. Many of us outsourced workers remained on site, while everyone else was told to stay home.

We were always planning to resume our campaign once the lockdown was over, but our mistreatment by UCL and its subcontractors during this crisis has only made us more committed to our goal of achieving equality and ending outsourcing.

Now, We need YOUR help!

We are rebooting our campaign to end outsourcing at UCL and we are asking all those who support us to sign the petition below and send a letter to the UCL Council to let them know about the situation faced by outsourced workers and what we are demanding.

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/ucl-end-discrimination-end-outsourcing/

Despite the promises of bringing equality to the long neglected and mistreated outsourced workforce, UCL continues to drag its feet and refuses to take meaningful steps to ensure the equality that was promised, denying outsourced workers dencet pay, pensions and parental leave.

END ZERO HOURS CONTRACTS

Dozens of outsourced workers continue to be employed on zero hours contracts, putting them in an extremely precarious and vulnerable position. Since lat year we have seen a sharp increase in the use of these contracts. UCL must ban zero hours contracts

FOR A DECENT PAY!

The promised equality in pay has been a big disappointment to the outsourced workforce who have not seen their role as “Key Workers” during this pandemic being recognised from a financial perspective and instead remain the worst paid workers on campus

Outsourced workers are, and have always been “key workers.” We are a core part of this institution. The university’s academic endeavours are only made possible thanks to our hard work. We deserve to be given a valued place within the #UCL community and dignified conditions.

END DISCRIMINATION

UCL uses a system that systematically discriminates against BAME workers, depriving us of basic rights and placing us under the management of companies who see us as nothing but disposable labour.This situation illuminates a shameful racism at the heart of UCL

If the pandemic should have taught us something it is that not only are outsourced workers a fundamental pillar of UCL, but also how precarity and outsourcing seriously endanger the life and wellbeing of the mostly migrant BAME key workers at the frontline of this crisis.

Despite recent concessions, UCL continues to refuse to end outsourcing:

Sign the petition and demand @ucl to:

  • Immediately end outsourcing
  • Ban zero hour contracts at UCL
  • Enter into immediate negotiations with UCL’s outsourced workers and their chosen trade unions.

It is time to end outsourcing!

Help us, sign and share the petition:

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/ucl-end-discrimination-end-outsourcing/

& share our social media posts:

Solidarity!

Volunteers to help fight redundancies! A message from our branch secretary — June 19, 2020

Volunteers to help fight redundancies! A message from our branch secretary

I want to say, again, a big thank you to everyone who has volunteered with the IWGB so far!

We are now preparing for widespread redundancies and campaigns as furlough comes towards the end.

Across our branches, we are beginning to plan how to fight these. We are calling for volunteers who can help with research on companies and their finances, as well as helping to support campaigns with workers.

If you are interested in volunteering and helping with this, please reply to the email and we can assign you to a branch.

Also, as a reminder, our next weekly call is on Monday 22nd June at 7pm, focusing on education under the pandemic, with reports from our Foster Care Workers and Cycle Instructors Branch, and Kevin Courtney from the NEU. Join here: https://zoom.us/j/197558184
Solidarity,

Jamie Woodcock

University of London Branch Secretary and Chair of the COVID-19 Subcommittee

IWGB fights UCL /Axis threat to change furlough terms — June 9, 2020

IWGB fights UCL /Axis threat to change furlough terms

Security officers and IWGB members at UCL last week received letters suggesting that outsourcing company Axis was preparing to break the agreed terms of furlough. In response the union has contacted both the University and Axis to hold them to their promises – both letters are below:

To whom it may concern

Today, 8 June,  some of our members employed by your security subcontractor, AXIS, have been informed that from 1st of June they will only receive 80% of their wages. 

We would like to raise several points here:

UCL has stated publicly and in writing that they will continue to provide 20% of the wages of Security officers to ensure full payment of the salary. We have already notified them of your intention to reduce the pay of officers, despite the fact that the government continues to cover 80% of wages and UCL is providing the remaining 20%. This also raises questions with regards to what AXIS is doing with the money that is provided by the client to top-up wages.

I would also like to highlight that the unilateral amendment of the terms of Furlough is unlawful and amounts to a breach of contract. Please note that at no point officers have agreed to have their salaries reduced to 80%. 
In the Furlough Letter, included below, our members accepted to be placed on Furlough with full payment. At no point was consent provided to alter the terms mentioned in the letter. Any change therefore amounts to a breach of the contractual terms of Furlough, and we shall not hesitate to initiate legal proceedings to enforce the terms of the agreement.

Having said that, please immediately confirm that Security Officers will continue to receive full payment of their wages.

Regards

Jordi Lopez-Botey (IWGB Organiser/Caseworker, UoL Branch)

Dear Matthew

I hope this email finds you well.

Today, 8 June, some of our members employed by your security subcontractor, AXIS, have been informed that from 1st of June they will only receive 80% of their wages. (letter attached here).

Please immediately clarify this situation and confirm that Security Officers at UCL will continue to receive full payment of their wages (at 100%).

Regards

Jordi Lopez-Botey (IWGB Organiser/Caseworker, UoL Branch)

URGENT SUPPORT NEEDED – Defend the #TDL10, key medical workers being dismissed by Sonic Healthcare for union activity! — May 29, 2020