Last week’s security strike and latest updates — June 28, 2017

Last week’s security strike and latest updates

Thanks to everyone for their support for last week’s strike, which was the biggest yet! It was a massive success both in terms of security officer participation and outside support.

We’re really overwhelmed and heartened by the support we’ve received from other HE branches across London for our security officers’ strike. Whether it’s been letters to the University, banners on the picket line or strike fund donations it all makes a massive difference and is bringing victory closer. It was great to have Birkbeck UNISON, London Region UCU, London FE UCU and of course the United Voices of the World on the demo last week, as well as the fantastic SOAS Justice for Workers campaign.

This Friday we will get the result of the postroom and porters’ ballot – we are expecting a YES vote, in which case the next strike will be even bigger!

As ever, we await an offer of serious talks from the University and Cordant – until we get one, the strikes will continue, so do please support your colleagues and donate to the strike fund at https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/1870/the-independent-workers-union-of-great-britain.

Any questions, just drop Danny a line – dannymillum@iwgb.org.uk.

 

Joint statement from Senate House Unison and UCU — June 23, 2017

Joint statement from Senate House Unison and UCU

Thanks to everyone who came out in support of the security officers and the SOAS Justice 4 Workers campaign yesterday! The Senate House Unison and UCU branches have issued the following statement:

Joint statement from Unison and UCU Senate House branches

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 08:16 AM PDT

We note with concern the ongoing dispute between Cordant and its security staff.  As always, Unison and UCU’s long held position is to strongly oppose the outsourcing of workers in all circumstances.  We are formally approaching the University to re-visit the issue of outsourcing with the aim of returning all staff in house.

You can read more on the UCU blog.

Reminder: Security Officers’ strike TOMORROW — June 21, 2017

Reminder: Security Officers’ strike TOMORROW

UoL security officers back on strike tomorrow and joining forces with SOAS outsourced workers campaign

  • University of London security officers to protest together with SOAS Justice for Workers tomorrow afternoon. The Justice for Workers campaign has been occupying SOAS since last week.
  • Freedom of Information request reveals University is monitoring IWGB’s twitter account.
  • IWGB has balloted University of London post room workers and porters over pay, and expects to announce joint strike dates shortly.

21 June: University of London security officers will go back on strike tomorrow (22 June), just after it was revealed that the university spends resources monitoring the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain’s (IWGB) social media accounts.

The security officers continue to demand that the University and contractor Cordant Services implement a 25% pay rise promised six years ago.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request made by the IWGB and answered yesterday reveals that the university has been monitoring the union’s twitter accounts.

One email sent from a communications officer to other university employees reads:

You’re probably monitoring IWGB’s account as well but thought I’d update you on the latest tweets

IWGB University of London Branch Secretary Danny Millum has said about the revelations: “The university has used every loophole to try and hide the truth about its handling of this dispute, but what is even more shocking is that the university would rather spend resources monitoring the IWGB’s social media than paying its workers properly.”

Security officers will be striking from midnight tonight. A picket line and protest will be held outside Senate House from midday onwards. The protest will combine forces with the SOAS Justice for Workers campaign, some of whom have been occupying the university since last week, as they demand that outsourced cleaners be brought in-house.

The schedule is as follows:

12:00 Picket in front of Senate House
13:30 – 15:00 Tour of the halls to greet new residents checking in
15:00 Picket returns to Senate House
16:30 Picket heads to SOAS to join with SOAS Justice for Workers demo
17:30-19:00 Joint demonstration in the Cloisters of Senate House

The IWGB is also balloting University of London post room workers and porters over similar issues to those raised by security officers, including broken pay rise promises, and expects to announce joint strike dates soon.

A crowdfund has been set up to raise funds for the striking security officers, who are sacrificing their salary during the industrial action.

The latest news and updates on the strike can be followed on this Facebook page.

For more information:

Emiliano Mellino, Press officer (press@iwgb.co.uk)

Under-staffing by Cordant on the UoL contract — June 19, 2017

Under-staffing by Cordant on the UoL contract

Danny has written to the University of London to inform them of issues around understaffing on the Cordant security contract.

Dear Ghaz

I am writing to inform you of a series of issues that security officers have raised with us, which we believe indicate that Cordant may be failing to fulfil its contract with the University.

These issues relate to understaffing on the contract, and the apparent failure of Cordant to supply the hours promised to the client.

Staff have provided numerous instances where cover has not been provided, most notably when staff have been off sick or on annual leave, meaning that shifts have to be covered by existing staff. The consequence of this has been that:

  • There has been no break cover officer on numerous occasions.
  • Staff have been taken off Senate and Stewart House reception (where the UoL is paying to have two staff on duty) and used to cover elsewhere.
  • Patrol officers have been used to cover the Halls and Institutes, meaning that on numerous occasions there has only been one patrol officer on duty instead of two.
  • Staff at short notice are moved from their designated shifts and roles to other locations for ‘operational reasons’.

While occasional instances of short-staffing are inevitable, this has happened so frequently that it indicates systemic shortcomings and an under-resourcing of the contract.

Security officers whose pay differentials have been massively eroded and whose desire for talks on pay have been ignored are essentially being asked to cover for the inadequacies of Cordant in running this contract – something which seems to them to be doubly unfair, and which should not be tolerated by the University.

Can you confirm that you will investigate this as a matter of urgency?

Best wishes

Danny Millum

Branch Secretary

University of London IWGB

Security Officers – summary of the dispute so far — June 15, 2017

Security Officers – summary of the dispute so far

On 25 April 2017 security officers working at the University of London went on strike for the first time in the university’s history.

The decision was not taken lightly, but after years of having their demands ignored, the security officers felt they had no choice but to take industrial action.

Their demands are simple:

  1. That the University of London honour its pay rise promises made six years ago.
  2. An end to disguised zero-hours contracts.
  3. Proper itemised payslips for everyone.

While the strikes have been successful in garnering support from the Institute of Historical Research , SOAS student union, several UCU branches, film director Ken Loach and comedian Russell Brand, they have so far not resulted in negotiations with the University or security contractor Cordant Services.

Instead, the University of London and Cordant have used underhanded tactics to try and break the strike, bringing in unlicensed and untrained secruity officers to cover for the striking workers. This is not only an affront to the security officers’ right to strike, but puts at risk the safety of the university’s staff and students.

These desperate moves, together with a failed attempt to bribe the security officers into not taking strike action, shows that we have them on the back foot.

Now we need your help to deliver the final blow.

Want to help?

  1. Come to the picket line on 22 June at 12.00, Senate House, WC1E 7HU (https://www.facebook.com/events/101895660403092)
  2. Donate to the strike fund (www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/1870/the-independent-workers-union-of-great-britain)
  1. Email the UoL Chief Operating Officer, Chris Cobb: cobb@london.ac.uk
  2. Follow the IWGB’s campaign:

#uolstrike

www.facebook.com/3coca/

Unworkable Episode 2! — June 12, 2017

Unworkable Episode 2!

Your Boss Is Watching You!

surveillanceiStock_000047415498_Large.jpg

In its second episode “Unworkable” looks into surveillance in the workplace, from the powers that employers currently hold to the ways in which technology is making this monitoring much easier and all-pervasive. We talk to Uber and Deliveroo riders, as well as experts and researchers. Interviewees include Corinna Ferguson, a Barrister at Old Square Chambers, Privacy International policy officer Frederike Kaltheuner and Dr Phoebe Moore of Middlesex University.

Hosted and produced by Emiliano Mellino for the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB).

UoL Strike News roundup! —

UoL Strike News roundup!

Further to the two two-day strikes held in April and May, the security guards will be going on strike again on Thursday 22 June!

This is all part of the ongoing dispute surrounding the maintenance of pay differentials for security guards, which was promised in 2011 and, like so many of the University’s promises, this promise was broken! Our security guards have been fighting hard for this and are continuing to fight with another day of strike action!

But they need your support!

  1. Please help by donating to the strike fund – https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/1870/the-independent-workers-union-of-great-britain
  2. Join the picket line on 22 June
  3. Attend the open solidarity meeting on Monday 12 June, 6pm – this has been called by UCU, who want to show solidarity with our cause! (see the attached flyer for details)

On a related and celebratory note, our sister union, United Voices of the World, had a massive victory in their cleaners’ strike at LSE! Cleaners at LSE are to be brought in-house and become employees of the LSE from Spring 2018!!! This will bring them proper annual leave, sick pay and pensions – all the things every worker should be entitled to! This victory shows the power of strike action and is why we must all show our support for our security guards here at the University!

We’ve also served Cordant with notice of a ballot for strike action for the Porters and Postroom staff – the ballot will open later this week!

 

Breaking: Next Security Officers’ strike, 22 June! — June 8, 2017
Brexit and immigration: UoL presentation for EU staff — June 5, 2017