Support IWGB member in court TODAY! — January 13, 2020

Support IWGB member in court TODAY!

IWGB makes call for solidarity and defence of free assembly as Chair of United Private Hire Drivers’ Branch faces charges over use of a megaphone

In a case which could have chilling effects on the right to peaceful protest in the UK, the Chair of one of IWGB’s branches, UPHD, faces a criminal charge of ‘assaulting’ two police officers, allegedly having hurt their ears by using a megaphone at a protest.

IWGB’s Executive Committee (EC) has committed £15,000 to support legal costs for the case, following a unanimous vote of support in 2019.

IWGB is now calling on the public to donate to the crowdfund that has been set up in the last few days to find the remainder of the higher-than-expected legal costs. Please see further details of how to donate at:

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/defend-trade-unionists/

Further details of this shocking case can be found below, in a shortened/amended version of a motion of solidarity passed by the IWGB EC over the weekend.

IWGB wishes James all the best at court today and stands with him in the fight for justice!

Motion

IWGB stands in solidarity with James Farrar in his criminal trial for actions that took place while he was undertaking legitimate Trade Union activities. The IWGB Executive Committee (EC) backs James 100%.

We understand that this is a very difficult and personally distressing time for James Farrar and his family and wish to do all we can to support him. This union also notes that this is a case of critical importance for campaign groups, activists and unions across the UK.

In a unanimous motion of support from the EC, IWGB has already allocated £15,000 of central union funds to support the case at trial. A barrister has been retained to represent him, supported by a reputable firm of solicitors that were found by IWGB. IWGB officials and staff plan to attend court en masse in support of their union colleague and fellow activist.

The situation has arisen that the legal costs for this case were underestimated due to (i) a misunderstanding re the legal fees, (ii) the advice that a QC should be retained in addition to the current representation, and (iii) the fact that the case will run for longer than thought. James Farrar therefore stands in need of additional money to support the case at trial for the full four days. The total cost is estimated at around £21,000.*

Background

Whilst organising a UPHD-branch protest on 4 March 2019, UPHD-Branch Chair James Farrar used a megaphone to rally supporters and make statements on behalf of the protest, as is common at IWGB protest events.

Around this time, he made a formal complaint about police behaviour during the demonstration.

Several weeks later, he was himself accused of ‘assaulting’ two police officers by using the megaphone (it is alleged that the noise hurt the officers’ ears). James is now facing a criminal charge and may be imprisoned for up to a year if he loses the case.

The IWGB Executive Committee (EC) has previously passed a motion, with unanimous support, which gave James Farrar IWGB’s full support in fighting a case which has the effect of intimidating him and others in IWGB and the wider Trade Union/activist movement from making legitimate, peaceful protests. It is vital that we support his case as strongly as we are able, and that others do likewise.

* Since this motion was passed, it appears the this figure may be inaccurate and may, in fact, be higher. See the crowdfund page for further details.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/defend-trade-unionists/ 

New Year, Same Old incompetence: UCL’S security subcontractor, Axis, fails to pay thousands of pounds in wages. — January 10, 2020

New Year, Same Old incompetence: UCL’S security subcontractor, Axis, fails to pay thousands of pounds in wages.

In November 2019, UCL promised al Security Officers an improvements in the holiday entitlement. UCL said this would be implemented by 1 December 2019. This would include an increase in days of annual leave + paid closure days and bank holidays.

However, on January 6 the majority of Security Officers working at UCL reported the failure of Axis to pay their wages for closure days.

It has been admitted by  Axis that management failed to notify their payroll department properly to make the payment, deducting thousand of pounds from ALL security officers at UCL. Yet another example of the incompetence of outsourced companies.

IWGB-UoL’S branch secretary has written to UCL to demand immediate payment:

To whom it may concern,

On 6 January 2020, a number of security officers working at UCL reported the failure of UCL’s subcontractor Axis to pay their wages as per the changes adopted on 1 December 2019 (payment of closure days for those not working and payment at double rate for those working during closure days).

The mentioned changes have not been reflected in the wages paid this month. This has been further confirmed in an email from Anna Knight where she states “we have experienced a syncing issue with the system which therefore may lead to pay queries tomorrow regarding your pay day 7th January 2020”.

Please note that this error made by Axis has resulted in the unlawful deduction of wages from all security officers employed by Axis on the UCL contract who have not received any pay for the closure, or double pay (if they worked), as per the letter of variation of their contracts received by security officers in mid-December.

This shows not only that the changes announced by UCL as per the harmonisation of terms and conditions have not been implemented, but it also constitutes further evidence of the utter incompetence of the security contractor at UCL. All this after weeks of silence from Axis, where they did not even bother to inform their workforce of how these changes would take effect, and avoided all questions raised regarding this until two weeks after the deadline for implementation of the changes. This is despite the numerous emails sent by our union requesting clarification and dialogue regarding the plans.

It is frankly astounding that UCL continue to tolerate the incompetence of this subcontractor and their unlawful practices. These repeated failures only make it clearer that the system of outsourcing at UCL results in incompetence and failure, harming those precariously employed under such contracts.

We urge UCL to take immediate action regarding this matter to ensure that all the Security Officers at UCL receive correct payment no later than 13 January 2020 by close of business.

Should Axis fail to pay these wages we will not hesitate to initiate legal proceedings to recover them.

Furthermore, we urge UCL to take seriously the demands made by the majority of the outsourced workforce to be brought in-house. We urge UCL to meet with the representatives of the IWGB union and to quickly implement an end to outsourcing to ensure further mistakes of this nature are avoided in future.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email.

Kind Regards,

Dr Jamie Woodcock

Justice for Stan — December 20, 2019

Justice for Stan

As Christmas approaches, University of London Bouygues engineer Stan Jackson is still thousands of pounds out of pocket following his heart attack at work.

image of Stan Jackson
Merry Christmas, Stan: Stan Jackson faces Christmas thousands of pounds down

We wanted to update everyone on the case of Stanford Jackson, who was deducted £5000 by his employer Bouygues while recuperating from a heart attack suffered at work (see https://iwgb-universityoflondon.org/2019/12/03/justiceforstan-university-of-london-and-its-contractor-bouygues-deduct-5000-sick-pay-from-employee-who-had-heart-attack-while-on-duty/).

Having brought this matter to the attention of the Vice-Chancellor, the IWGB were assured that she was taking a ‘personal interest’ in the case, and Stan was led to believe that it would be resolved.

However, with less than a week to go before Christmas, Stan is still thousands of pounds out of pocket, having been told by Bouygues that they will only pay him partially for his absence, and only compensating him for less than half of the money they deducted from him in October.

Furthermore, they only grudgingly paid this on the grounds of ‘exceptional circumstances’ as a ‘goodwill gesture’. Merry Christmas indeed!

To add insult to injury, and despite the fact that his ongoing ill-health and shortage of money has caused Stan to require counselling, Bouygues are insisting that he raise the matter via the formal grievance and disciplinary procedure, a process that will inevitably be massively stressful and is totally unnecessary.

There is also no indication that either Bouygues or the University of London have addressed any of the serious health and safety issues which led to Stan’s accident (which could easily have been much worse) – including the fact than lone staff were NOT issued with fall alarms despite these being requested.

The issue is NOT complicated – Stan suffered a heart attack in his workplace, a workplace where all staff (in-house or outsourced) are entitled to 6 months full sick pay. Bouygues and the University should be bending over backwards to ensure that everything is done to look after a longstanding member of staff (and one who has never missed a SINGLE DAY’s work through illness while working for Bouygues), rather than leaving him broke and traumatised this Christmas.

As before, the IWGB will continue to escalate this matter until justice has been done, and in the meantime we urge all members and supporters to contact wendy.thomson@london.ac.uk and ask for #JusticeforStan.

Light in the darkness: the solution is solidarity — December 13, 2019

Light in the darkness: the solution is solidarity

The UK today feels like a pretty dismal place. The moral compass seems to have gone solidaritymissing from our politics. We are facing some tough years ahead, and it’s important to take some time to be sad, to reflect, and look after yourself and your loved ones. We need comfort. But there is hope!

If you are reading this, and if you are part of IWGB, you are part of the solution. We already know that by joining together we can overcome incredible odds. That should give us all some hope today. And we will keep fighting, whatever they throw at us.

After the mourning is over, we need to regroup. It’s time to pick ourselves up, shake ourselves down and get back to it. If ever a grassroots union was needed, it’s now.

Things are obviously going to be tough for a good while, but believe: we can do this!

The resistance starts now.

strength-in-unity

Need to stick it to Boris today? Donate to our crowdfunder —

Need to stick it to Boris today? Donate to our crowdfunder

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/no-deal-brexit-case/

In October, IWGB members launched a legal challenge against the Government over Boris Johnson’s threat to disobey the law. One rule for him, and another for us. They wouldn’t stand for that, and fought back. Tory Brexit will damage the lives of precarious workers, and in fact all workers in the UK. IWGB has campaigned tirelessly against it.

We’re in a very different place now: hard Brexit or ‘no deal’ is a certainty. That’s a terrible prospect for us all. It’s easy to feel powerless. But you can help.

Three precarious workers — Maritza, Wilson and Alex — teamed up with the IWGB and chose to fight back against Johnson’s disregard for the law. In the face of repeated statements by Johnson that he would not extend the Brexit deadline beyond 31 October, they filed a claim with the High Court to force the government to abide by the law and seek an extension. A few days later, Johnson went back on his commitment and agreed with the European Union to move the deadline to 31 January. After which, the workers withdrew their claim.

Now, government lawyers are arguing that because the claim was withdrawn, the claimants are liable to cover the government’s legal costs of at least £8,000.

Bojo and friends could sneeze that money out in a second. But to these workers, it’s a life-altering debt. We have just launched our crowdfunder to raise money for these three low-wage members who are being vindictively pursued for legal costs by Boris Johnson.

If you have something to donate, please do now! Early donations help build momentum and create a snowball effect. ❄

Here is the link: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/no-deal-brexit-case/

Please share it once you’ve donated on social media and with friends.

In solidarity,

IWGB

Think people power in politics can’t work? Think again… — December 7, 2019

Think people power in politics can’t work? Think again…

IWGB is delighted to invite members to a FREE screening of the inspirational documentary Knock Down The House on 11th December 2019. If you’ve finished your own canvassing by then, why not go and see how it’s done across the pond!
Knock Down The House is an inspiring and highly watchable documentary film about four exceptional women mounting grassroots campaigns against powerful incumbents. Looking behind the scenes of the 2018 midterm elections in the USA that tipped the balance of power, it is a story of conviction and politicians who are motivated by their own personal circumstances to raise their voices and take a stand.
Book your free ticket here: https://docsociety.org/kdthuk
The film will be followed by a discussion with non-partisan local and national campaigners and activists.
Join the discussion to find out what the UK can learn from US grassroots campaigns, what it takes to #KnockDownBarriers in British politics, to make it more representative and ways to get involved. Now more than ever we need people with powerful stories to step up into politics!
Event details:
11 Dec 2019 19:00 Deptford Cinema, London SE8

Screening events in association with Vote For Your Future, 50:50 Parliament, The Parliament Project and Young Women’s Trust.

Enjoy!
Catherine Morrissey
IWGB Women’s Officer
BRI168 KDTH Socials_11

 

First meeting of new ICE Reps at UoL — December 6, 2019

First meeting of new ICE Reps at UoL

The newly-elected Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) Representatives at the University of London met with senior figures from HR on Tuesday, for the first time in their new two-year term.

IWGB occupies 15 of the 16 current seats on the forum, and welcomes several new members this year alongside many returning faces. Thanks to all reps for taking on this challenge!

The ICE forum is now entering its third year, having been set up by the University in response to pressure and legal action by IWGB to create a forum through which we can directly raise staff concerns and be properly informed and consulted. The University still  refuses to ‘recognise’ IWGB, which is by far the largest union on campus.

Having failed to negotiate an agreement about what the forum should cover, the University is bound to follow the ICE Regulations (2004). However, following a challenging first two years in which there were more extraordinary meetings than ordinary ones (!), IWGB reps were happy to agree to discuss how best to run the forum on an administrative basis. The first meeting was therefore an informal discussion on this topic alone, at which IWGB Reps put forward the proposals below. This was well-received by the forum Chair and by HR – but we have yet to see how much of it will be implemented!

IWGB ICE Reps have requested an ordinary meeting before the end of term (or at least early in January 2020) in order to raise a number of staff issues that have not been dealt with since the last ordinary meeting in August 2019.

As always, if you have any issues or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your local rep (see list below!).

IWGB-proposals

Your friendly local IWGB Reps 2019–2021

Senate House Library

Leila Kassir Leila.Kassir@London.ac.uk

Elizabeth Morcom Elizabeth.Morcom@london.ac.uk

UoL Worldwide

Adrian Calo Adrian.Calo@london.ac.uk

Bill Kelliher Bill.Kelliher@london.ac.uk

Leman Mehmet Leman.Mehmet@london.ac.uk

Catherine Morrissey catherine.morrissey@london.ac.uk

Simon Nightingale Simon.Nightingale@london.ac.uk

ITDS, CoSector and Finance

Colin Watson Colin.Watson@london.ac.uk

Property & FM

Abdul Bakhsh Abdul.bakhsh@london.ac.uk

Jelony Nwaneri Jelony.Nwaneri@london.ac.uk

SAS

Jonathan Blaney Jonathan.Blaney@sas.ac.uk

Lindsey Caffin Lindsey.Caffin@sas.ac.uk

Mark Murphy Mark.Murphy@sas.ac.uk

Damien Short Damien.Short@sas.ac.uk

Martin Steer martin.steer@sas.ac.uk

 

Increased annual leave VICTORY! Plus London Weighting “offer” for UoL staff —

Increased annual leave VICTORY! Plus London Weighting “offer” for UoL staff

red_sauce
Loyd Grossman: It’s all gravy

We have written to all members this week, quoting celebrity fans such as Madonna, Danny Millum and Loyd Grossman (of pasta sauce fame), to inform them of developments in our ongoing campaign to achieve equality and fair pay at the central University of London. 

Read the email below!

………………………………………………

Hi everybody,

Holiday! Celebrate! It will be so nice!

You may already have heard from friends and colleagues that there has been a big victory on holiday for grades 1–6 – it has now been equalised with grades 7+, to 30 days!

That’s fantastic news, and is due in large part (rough estimate: 99.9%) to work done by IWGB! We have been campaigning for holiday equality for many years and for a LW increase since 2014.

We’re (still) waiting for decent London Weighting…

On the issue of London Weighting (LW), which affects all grades, you may also have seen that the two recognised unions are balloting their members on whether or not to accept the University’s latest ‘final’ offer: an insulting one-off payment of £275, to close the issue forever. We discussed this in the branch meeting and as a result, if you are dual-carding with either of these unions, we urge you to vote NO to acceptance, as we believe they can do better!

(Not everyone can make it to the branch meeting, so please do let us know if you have a different view – thoughts welcome. J)

As Loyd Grossman would say on Through the management keyhole, let’s look at the evidence:

Original demand made in 2014:

  • An immediate increase of £1,866 per year, to bring annual LW up to what it should have been at that time (£4,000), had it kept up with inflation. (See also our original info about this (attached), if you haven’t been around for the whole story!)

Original deal accepted by Unison and UCU in 2014:

Current offer, prompted by IWGB agitation and apparently acceptable to the recognised unions:

  • A one-time-only offer of £275, not affecting the annual LW at all. So it’s still £500 less than it should have been four years ago.

Obviously this doesn’t account for increases in cost of living which have occurred since 2014, which is precisely what LW is supposed to counterbalance. And to state the obvious, it’s almost 2020 now!

The LW offer may be derisory, but it wouldn’t have happened at all without IWGB pressure. And the holidays are an outright win! It was an IWGB member who pointed out last year that the LW negotiations could be reopened at UoL if the London Living Wage went above a certain threshold, which it now has. And it was our indefatigable Assistant Branch Secretary Mark Murphy who, with the help of many other wonderful IWGB members, circulated a petition for increased holiday for grades 1–6, which went around the entire University. We’ve sent this to management, repeatedly raised the issues of LW and holiday parity in the ICE forum, and written to the University about it numerous times. This is what we can achieve when we work together. Great work everyone!

As you can see from the attached email, [included below in PDF] the usual suspects are claiming the credit for this. However, we know that IWGB members did the hard graft! This means that University management are effectively negotiating with IWGB by proxy. So let’s vote NO to the LW offer, and let’s keep up the campaign!

As Danny would say – ¡Hasta la Victoria!

Catherine

G1-6leave-and-ballot-email   LW_original_myth-buster

Welcome new Women’s Officers! —

Welcome new Women’s Officers!

UoL IWGB Branch is proud to welcome two members to the role of Women’s Officer: Hosne Ara and Ruqayya Al-Faisal, who work for the University at Student Central.

Hosne and Ruqayya were unanimously elected at the branch meeting of December 2019, and will jointly hold the position alongside their other joint position as BAME officers – bringing a much-needed intersectional approach to the many challenges that women and BAME people face in the workplace.

Please do contact them at the email address below if you have any issues related to these areas, or just to say hello!

A message from the Women’s Officers

Hosne

HosneMy name is Hosne Ara, and I am truly honoured to be elected as joint women’s officer for IWGB UOL Branch. I am grateful to all of you for believing in me that I can take on that role! 

My aim is to create a sustainable, intersectional feminist force by being a voice for all women workers regardless of race, culture, religion, sexuality and ability. We need to work together to create a bridge amongst women of different backgrounds and cultures towards the liberation of self-identified women. 

I aim to support women workers, especially those who need help. I believe I can make a positive impact by ensuring that all women workersreach their potential in the work environment and feel safe and valued at work. Thank you,

Hosne Ara 

Ruqayya

Ruqayya

Thank you guys for electing me as joint women’s officer with Hosne Ara. In a male-dominated environment it is very important as a woman to stand up for your rights, ensure your voice is heard and to make it known that you’re just as capable as any other individual, and that being treated any less is not acceptable.   

Again, thank you for trusting me to be vocal for those that don’t have the courage to speak out.

Feel free to contact either of us via email: uolbame@iwgb.co.uk

 Ruqayyah Al-Faisal