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:
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.

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!).


Your friendly local IWGB Reps 2019–2021

Senate House Library

Leila Kassir

Elizabeth Morcom

UoL Worldwide

Adrian Calo

Bill Kelliher

Leman Mehmet

Catherine Morrissey

Simon Nightingale

ITDS, CoSector and Finance

Colin Watson

Property & FM

Abdul Bakhsh

Jelony Nwaneri


Jonathan Blaney

Lindsey Caffin

Mark Murphy

Damien Short

Martin Steer


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

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

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!


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


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 



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:

 Ruqayyah Al-Faisal 


#JusticeForStan: University of London and its contractor Bouygues deduct £5000 sick pay from employee who had heart attack while on duty — December 3, 2019

#JusticeForStan: University of London and its contractor Bouygues deduct £5000 sick pay from employee who had heart attack while on duty

The IWGB has been forced to intervene in the case of Stanford Jackson, an engineer who has worked at the University of London for 18 years and who suffered a heart attack while on duty.

Mr Jackson suffered a heart attack on 7 September 2019 whilst on callout duty at College Hall.

Mr Jackson, currently employed by Bouygues, has worked at the University of London for 18 years, having been TUPE transferred across a variety of different contractors. He is well known across the many UoL sites as a vastly experienced and popular member of staff.

Since his heart attack, Mr Jackson has been recuperating at home, and is only now starting to return to work.

One might have thought that this traumatic and life-threatening incident was bad enough, but worse was to come, as on Mr Jackson’s October payslip he was notified that there would be a deduction of over £5000 pounds from his wages, with the justification given for this being that he is only entitled to 4 weeks paid sick leave!

This is a truly outrageous situation, given that:

i) Bouygues’ decision is based on what they admit to be utterly incomplete records of Mr Jackson’s previous contractual arrangements, which do not even stretch back to his original contract.

ii) Bouygues are ignoring the fact that the University of London enhanced terms and conditions for outsourced workers supersede any other inferior sick pay or holiday conditions. All outsourced staff of Mr Jackson’s length of service are entitled to 6 months sick leave on full pay.

iii) Mr Jackson’s heart attack occurred in the workplace and while he was performing his duties.

Any other worker at the University would be paid in these circumstances. Mr Jackson has given 18 years and almost his life to the University, and for the buck to be passed between Bouygues and the University of London while he feels a huge financial pressure to return to work prematurely is shameful for all concerned.

Both Mr Jackson and the IWGB have already raised this on numerous occasions, but with no satisfactory response. Last week the matter was brought to the attention of Vice Chancellor Wendy Thomson (who has just made the decision to continue the outsourcing of the UoL maintenance contract), but still no reply has been received and no money paid.

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 and ask for #JusticeforStan.

Major concession announced at UCL, Campaign and Strike continue until full Victory! — November 29, 2019

Major concession announced at UCL, Campaign and Strike continue until full Victory!

On 28 November UCL announced more information about improvements to outsourced workers’ terms and conditions:

  1. UCL has confirmed outsourced workers will receive increased holiday entitlement from 1 December 2019.
  2. 2. Next term, UCL will begin negotiations with UNISON over improving pay and they will implement improved pay on 1 April 2020.
  3. UCL will give equal sickness benefits on 1 July 2020.

See full statement here:

This is very good news: IWGB Outsourced workers are winning.

It is the outsourced workers who made this happen:

  1. For years workers have been complaining about conditions at UCL, but since they united and showed UCL they will not put up with this any longer UCL have started to pay attention.
  2. In October, outsourced workers threatened to launch a campaign and immediately UCL announced they will look into improving terms and conditions.
  3. In November, outsourced workers went on strike and right after that UCL announced they will firm up the timeline for improvements.

However, there are some very important points that are missing from UCL’s announcement today:

  1. UCL do not say what will happen with pay. They say WHEN it will be implemented (April 2020). But not WHAT pay grade outsourced workers will get.
  2. There is no guarantee from UCL that the outsourced workers will get a good deal. UCL could put them anywhere from pay grade 3 upwards. Getting the right pay deal will depend on the workers maintaining pressure on UCL.
  3. UCL’s announcement does not yet mention a timeline for other benefits such as pensions and parental leave. Parity means nothing without such rights!
  4. It does not give any commitment to ending outsourcing. Ending outsourcing is important to lock in everything so that other cowboy subcontractors cannot come along in 2 years time and cut their terms again. We need to get rid of the exploitative and abusive subcontractors now.

UCL is trying to persuade the outsourced workers to take their foot off the pedal. But now is the time to increase the pressure and FINISH THE JOB.

This announcement is the result of the campaign. Let’s see what else we can get UCL to announce before the New Year!

Our STRIKE on Dec 4th goes ahead and our campaign continues until full VICTORY

The power is ours!

UCL-UCU & IWGB joint Strike on December 4th —

UCL-UCU & IWGB joint Strike on December 4th

The 4th of December at UCL will see the first ever combined strike of directly employed and outsourced workers in the history of higher education!

The outsourced workers at UCL, including security staff, cleaners and porters are fighting to end the inequality and discrimination of outsourcing. As part of the IWGB union, they have called their second day of strike action on 4 December, demanding that UCL end outsourcing and bring them back in house.

The lecturers and professional services staff in the UCU union are having their eighth and last day of a round of national strikes over pensions, falling pay, gender and ethnicity pay gaps, precarious employment, and overloaded workloads.

At UCL we will be making history by combining the struggles of workers across the UCL workforce. It is one of the richest universities in the world, yet for years they have exploited both their directly employed and outsourced workers.

We are one university and one workforce and we demand justice!

Facebook event:

Biggest strike of outsourced workers in UK higher education history to happen on Tuesday 19 November — November 15, 2019

Biggest strike of outsourced workers in UK higher education history to happen on Tuesday 19 November

On 19 November, Outsourced workers at University College London (UCL) will be on Strike to end discriminatory outsourcing.

300 outsourced cleaners, porters and security officers at UCL have voted 98% YES to take strike action. And the first strike will take place on Tuesday 19 November for 24 hours.

Despite UCL being one of the richest universities in the world, they continue to treat outsourced workers like second class workers

Outsourced workers, the majority of whom are migrants or from ethnic minorities, receive worse sick pay, pension, holiday pay and parental leave than in-house colleague

While direct employees of UCL can receive up to 26 weeks of pay when they are off sick, outsourced workers are on the statutory minimum. This means they receive no pay on the first three days they are off sick, after which they are entitled to just £94.25 a week. This forces many to work while sick or injured, rather than risk losing a day’s pay. (See comparisons of other conditions in notes below)

For years UCL management have turned a blind eye to the exploitation of the outsourced workforce and ignored us when we raised complaints.

This is why hundreds of outsourced cleaners, porters and security officers have united in the IWGB union and launched a campaign on 7 October to demand UCL act now to End Outsourcing.

But after launching our campaign, UCL are still refusing to negotiate with the workers or commit to serious changes. Our members at UCL are left with no alternative but to go on strike. If UCL refuse to treat them with even the most basic respect of coming to the table and listening to our demands, then we have no option but to take action.

Outsourced workers at UCL are sending a clear message to UCL’s management that this is not good enough. The time for action from UCL is now. It is time for UCL to End Outsourcing and to bring all outsourced workers in-house on equal terms and conditions to other university staff.

Join us on the picket line Tuesday 19 November!

Join and show your solidarity on the picket line from 7:30am!

Facebook event:

Support Us!

To win this campaign we need everyone to be able to take part in the strike – especially those who might not be able to afford it. It is only through everyone taking part that our strike will be effective. And for that we need to be able to offer strike pay to help make up for some of the lost earnings of those workers who need it most

Please donate to our strike hardship fund:

Thank you & see you on the picket line!

Hundreds of UCL cleaners, porters and security to vote on strike action over pay and conditions — November 6, 2019

Hundreds of UCL cleaners, porters and security to vote on strike action over pay and conditions

9 October: The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is to ballot cleaners, porters and security officers for strike action at London’s largest university, UCL, in what could be the biggest strike ever of outsourced workers in UK higher education history.

The IWGB will be balloting almost 300 workers over their terms and conditions, as part of the union’s campaign, launched yesterday (8 October), to end outsourcing and zero hours contracts at UCL. The strike ballot will specifically demand the outsourcing companies that manage the security contract, Axis, and the cleaning contract, Sodexo, put cleaners, porters and security officers on the same terms and conditions as UCL’s direct employees. The results of the ballot are expected on 5 November.

Outsourced workers receive worse sick pay, pension, holiday pay, and parental leave than their in-house colleagues. They are also more likely to suffer from bullying and discrimination than directly employed workers.

Specifically, while direct employees can receive up to 26 weeks of pay when they are off sick, outsourced workers are on the statutory minimum, which means that they get no pay on the first three days they are off sick, after which they are entitled to £94.25 a week. This means that many workers chose to work while sick, rather than risk losing a day’s pay. (See comparisons of other conditions in notes below)

IWGB University of London branch chair and former UCL cleaner Maritza Castillo Calle said: “UCL would not be able to function without its cleaners, porters and security officers, however for years the university and its contractors have been happy to treat them like second class workers. They are overworked, underpaid and mistreated, while UCL is happy to look the other way when issues are raised about the abject failure of its contractors to treat people with basic dignity. We gave UCL a clear deadline by which to present a plan to end outsourcing which it failed to abide by. Now we are left with no option but to strike.”

Over the last year the IWGB has also documented a number of severe management failures and discriminatory practices by the outsourcing companies.

The IWGB brought complaints on behalf of 30 Axis security officers that were owed over £15,000, when the company failed to properly pay their holiday pay over a period of three months, between December and February. Following these formal complaints by the University of London branch secretary, the money was paid, but there have been other instances of non-payment of holiday pay since.

In March, Sodexo tried to introduce a biometric time management system, which would require cleaners, the vast majority of whom are migrant workers, to have their fingerprints scanned when logging in and out of work. Following a collective grievance, and protests by the IWGB and its members, the introduction of this discriminatory system to monitor workers was called off.

In September, the IWGB launched a collective grievance on behalf of 30 cleaners and porters who complain that managers assign them an excessive amount of work, resulting in significant levels of exhaustion and stress. Attempts by management to further increase these workloads have so far been stopped by the intervention of IWGB reps.

You can donate to the Strike fund:

Notes to Editors:

  • Conditions of outsourced workers vs direct employees
  • Sick pay: outsourced workers are on statutory sick pay, while direct employees are entitled to up to 26 weeks of fully paid sick pay, depending on length of service.
  • Holiday pay: outsourced workers are entitled to as little as the statutory minimum of 28 holiday days, including bank holidays. Direct employees get a total of 41 days, including 27 days of annual leave, 8 bank holidays and 6 closure days.
  • Parental leave: outsourced workers are only entitled to the statutory maternity leave, while direct employees get 18 weeks full pay (or 9 weeks full pay and 18 weeks half pay) statutory maternity pay.
  • Pensions: Outsourced security officers and some cleaners get a 3% employer pension contribution, while direct employees get enrolled into the SAUL pension scheme with up to 19.5% employer pension contribution.
  • On 16 September, the IWGB gave UCL a three week deadline (7 October) by which to publicly commit to end outsourcing or engage in good faith negotiations with that end.
  • Previously, the biggest strike of outsourced workers in UK higher education took place in 25 and 26 April 2018. More info here and here.
  • Sodexo and Axis took over the cleaning/portering and security contracts, respectively in November 2018.
  • UCL has 42,100 students according to its website. It is the biggest university in London and the third biggest in the UK, by number of students, according to the HESA.
  • Following a separate campaign launched in September 2017, the IWGB won a commitment by the University of London (Central Administration) to bring outsourced workers in-house in July 2018. Since then, only 10% of the workers have been brought in-house, and a boycott of the university is ongoing until there are concrete plans for the insourcing of the remaining 90%.
  • In 2013, following the landmark 3 Cosas Campaign, the IWGB won improved sick pay and holiday pay for outsourced workers at the University of London (Central Administration).