Our demonstration yesterday was noisy and fun, as usual, and really well-attended – so well-attended that when we went for a walk we shut down large sections of Bloomsbury! Here’s a selection of tweets and videos from last night’s action.
Yesterday we held a massive demonstration at Senate House to demand an end to outsourcing at the University of London. The demonstration coincided with Foundation Day, when the Chancellor of the university, Princess Anne, comes to visit – a good opportunity to embarrass the Vice-Chancellor and the UoL management by showing how the majority of staff really feel about their behaviour. We’ve also launched a landmark case to compel UoL to recognise its role as an employer of outsourced workers. We got a lot of press coverage – here are some highlights!
Aditya Chakrabortty has written this great account of the latest developments in the campaign for the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/21/outsourced-working-university-of-london
Another write-up of the case in the Guardian news section: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/nov/21/university-london-support-staff-pay-conditions-agency-staff
Josiah Mortimer for Left Foot Forward: https://leftfootforward.org/2017/11/from-uber-to-the-university-of-london-migrant-workers-are-standing-together/
Jo Maugham QC sums up the case for the Good Law Project: https://goodlawproject.org/good-law-project-statement-iwgbs-joint-employer-case/
On the relationship between Brexit and the case we’re bringing against UoL: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/university-of-london-outsourcing-contractors-european-convention-on-human-rights-come-for-it-next-a8067416.html
On the BBC News website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42056769
Henry and Jason appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show along with Daphne Romney QC – the segment starts at around 42 minutes: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09g8mdh/victoria-derbyshire-21112017#
We also appeared on the BBC’s Today Programme, at around 8.30am yesterday: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09fj9fk#play
UCU have issued the following warning about the proposed changes to the USS pension, and threatened strike action. IWGB will support any UCU action, should it go ahead. If you’ve got any questions or concerns about your pension or the current dispute, please get in touch with Danny.
17 November 2017
UCU has warned of chaos in universities as lectures and classes are cancelled in the new year if a row over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is not resolved.
UCU said proposals to remove the guaranteed level of pension benefits for hundreds of thousands of university staff were a bolt from the blue and that it would ballot members for industrial action in a ballot that will open Monday 27 November and close on Friday 19 January.
Under plans from Universities UK (UUK), guaranteed pension benefits through a defined benefit scheme would be replaced by a defined contribution scheme, where retirement income would depend on returns from money invested in the stock market.
A study by financial advisors Tilney estimated that, given the same lifetime contributions, a defined contribution scheme would lead to a final pension worth only around 20% of that in the best defined benefit schemes.
The union pointed to analysis commissioned by USSOpens new window themselves that shows that most universities have the ability to pay extra in order to safeguard existing benefits*. UCU added that it did not believe the plans had the support of the majority of universities.
The union will ask members to back industrial action aimed at a substantial disruption of around 50 of the largest and most well-known universities in the UK including Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and Manchester.
The action will include a series of strikes during February, as well as other measures such as refusing to cover or reschedule classes, or cover for sick colleagues.
Two rounds of cuts in USS benefits since 2011 have already left these staff in receipt of pensions which are worth less than those of school teachers and academics in non-USS universities. UCU is currently seeking actuarial advice on what exactly the changes would mean for different types of scheme members.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘After months of negotiations these plans are a bolt from the blue and would effectively destroy the USS scheme. It is categorically the worst proposal I have received from universities on any issue in 20 years of representing university staff.
‘These plans would remove members’ guarantees in retirement and leave them facing years of stress about whether their pension investments are returning enough income to live on. Staff always put their students first but their goodwill has been taken for granted for too long. If universities continue to pursue this action, they will face disruption on campus of a kind never seen before.
‘After months of prevarication, now is the time for vice-chancellors to face up to their responsibilities to staff and students and work with UCU to protect the hard-earned pension benefits of their staff.’
Eighty-seven per cent of UCU members who voted in a consultative ballot that closed last month said they would be prepared to take industrial action in order to defend the benefits of USS.
* Page 36 point 4 “Employers have the ability to increase contributions”
Following concerted pressure from IWGB, the University of London has agreed that all outsourced workers will receive the new London Living Wage rate of £10.20 from the start of November! Of course, we’ll still be pushing for all outsourced workers to be returned in-house, with our #UoLBackInHouse demonstration planned for next Tuesday…
If you’ve got any questions about the London Living Wage or about the #UoLBackInHouse campaign, get in touch with Danny.
Next Tuesday 21 November, on Foundation Day, we’ll be staging a strike and protest to demand that the UoL workers are brought back in-house.
It’s really important to get as many supporters there as possible – so please come down for a 6pm start!
AND if you’d like to help with flyering in the run-up to the event, get in touch with Danny! We will be flyering on Friday at Senate House – if you would like to do a shift do just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outsourced workers at the University of London are fighting to be brought back in-house, to end zero-hours contracts and for pay rises.
Join them on 21 November at 6pm at Senate House as they strike and protest during the visit of University of London Chancellor Princess Anne. They will be united in one voice to give her the message: IN-HOUSE NOW!
Workers have been on strike for months demanding that the university end the discriminatory two-tier system which currently sees them employed by contractors on far worse terms and conditions than other staff. Outsourced workers are also more likely to suffer from harassment, bullying and discrimination than their colleagues that are directly employed by the university.
Outsourced workers are predominantly migrant and BME, while in-house staff are mostly white British. There could be no clearer example of the ongoing institutionalised discrimination in our educational institutions than this.
Following a series of strikes, demos, videos, supporters’ letters and petitions the university has announced that it is reviewing all its outsourced contracts – now is a key moment to ensure that the outcome of this review is IN-HOUSE NOW!
Workers will be striking during the day, and then assembling for a massive demonstration at Senate House starting at 6pm.
Please share this event widely – any questions just email email@example.com or call 07783719479.
IWGB recently signed up to support a national campaign to create parental pay equality for those classed as self-employed. Many of our members are currently mis-classified as self-employed or run self employed businesses as well as their ‘main’ job, so this is very relevant to our membership. The text of the letter is below. You can check out the website here, along with a petition – please sign it! http://www.parentalpayequality.org.uk.
The Right Hon Theresa May MP
10 Downing Street
Dear Prime Minister
We are writing to ask you to change the eligibility criteria for Shared Parental Pay to include self-employed parents. This was raised in last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions by Tracy Brabin MP, and you promised to look into the matter further.
Self-employed parents and adopters are currently not eligible for Shared Parental Pay
(ShPP). The system of Maternity Allowance for the self-employed places the entire burden of childcare onto the mother, and offers no paternity or shared parental benefit for self-employed fathers or same-sex partners wanting to share childcare.
Self-employed mothers claiming Maternity Allowance have none of the legal protections
afforded to employees when they go on maternity leave, so the flexibility to share childcare and stop and start their maternity pay in order to maintain their business becomes even more crucial. We believe that in 2017 gender-equality is a fundamental right, not an optional extra reserved for those in traditional employment.
With the 4.8 million self-employed people in the UK (15% of the workforce) only expected to increase, the number of families affected is significant.
We would like to see ShPP implemented for all self-employed parents, as it would allow
self-employed men and women the flexibility to successfully run their businesses and care for their families. As ShPP is paid at the same rate as Maternity Allowance, and there would be the same number of qualifying maternities, we do not envisage there being a significant cost increase.
We look forward to your response
Rushanara Ali MP (Bethnal Green and Bow)
David Arnold, Film Composer
Vick Bain, CEO, BASCA
Guy Berryman, Musician, Coldplay
Tracy Brabin MP, Shadow Minister for Early
Years (Batley and Spen)
Joeli Brearley, Founder, Pregnant Then Screwed
Kevin Brennan MP, Shadow Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Cardiff
Christine Brown, Director of External Affairs, Help Musicians UK
Jonny Buckland, Musician, Coldplay
Tim Burton, Film Director
Will Champion, Musician, Coldplay
Tom Chaplin , Musician, Keane
Bambos Charalambous MP (Enfield, Southgate)
Eos Counsell, Musician, Bond
Cameron Craig, Executive Director, Music Producers Guild
Rosie Duffield MP (Canterbury)
Michael Dugher, CEO, UK Music
Anna Ehnold-Danailov, Director, Parents In Performing Arts
Derek Frey, Film Director
Paul Epworth, Music Producer
Olga FitzRoy, Founder, Parental Pay Equality
James Frith MP (Bury North)
Preet Gill MP (Birmingham, Edgbaston)
Elspeth Hanson, Musician, Bond
Ed Harcourt, Musician & Music Producer
Emma Hardy MP (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle)
Ayesha Hazarika, Advisor to BPI and Political Commentator
Helen Hayes MP (Dulwich and West Norwood)
Sharon Hodgson MP, Shadow Minister for Public Health (Washington and Sunderland West )
Richard Hughes, Musician, Keane
Dr Rupa Huq MP Shadow Minister, Home
Office, Crime Prevention (Ealing Central and Acton)
Diana Johnson MP (Kingston upon Hull North)
Afzal Khan MP, Shadow Minister for Immigration (Manchester Gorton)
Kate Kinninmont MBE, Chief Executive, Women In Film & TV (UK)
Caroline Lucas MP, Co-Leader of the Green Party (Brighton Pavilion)
Shabana Mahmood MP (Birmingham, Ladywood)
Laura Marling, Musician
Chris Martin, Musician, Coldplay
Giles Martin, Music Producer
Seema Malhotra MP (Feltham and Heston)
Anna McMorrin MP (Cardiff North)
Catherine Morrissey, Women’s Officer, IWGB
Gerry Morrissey, General Secretary, BECTU
Christine Payne, General Secretary, Equity
Jess Phillips MP (Birmingham, Yardley)
Jo Platt MP (Leigh)
Lucy Powell MP (Manchester Central)
Jesse Quin – Musician – Keane / Mt.
Desolation / While The World Sleeps
Ellie Reeves MP (Lewisham West and Penge)
Cassie Raine, Director, Parents In Performing Arts
Faisal Rashid MP (Warrington South)
Tim Rice-Oxley – Musician – Keane / Mt. Desolation
Naz Shah MP (Bradford West)
Sam Smethers, CEO, Fawcett Society
Laura Smith MP (Crewe and Nantwich)
Alex Sobel MP (Leeds North West)
Jo Stevens MP (Cardiff Central)
Jo Swinson MP, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party & Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (East Dunbartonshire)
Alison Thewliss MP (Glasgow Central)
Horace Trubridge, General Secretary, Musicians Union
Chuka Umunna MP (Streatham)
Helen Walbey, Diversity Policy Unit Chair, Federation of Small Businesses
Stephen Warbeck, Film Composer
David Warburton MP, (Somerton and Frome)
Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (West Bromwich East)
Gay-Yee Westerhoff, Musician, Bond
The results are in for the ICE Ballot – with a turnout of 67%, all the candidates on the IWGB slate for UoLIA were elected. Your UoLIA ICE representatives are:
- Catherine MORRISSEY (IWGB)
- Nic CHARLTON (IWGB)
- Rebecca DOOLEY (IWGB)
- Bill KELLIHER (IWGB)
- Tim HALL (UCU)
Thanks to everyone who voted!
To all of you who have written to the University of London in support of our in-house campaign – many thanks!
Many of you will have received a stock response from the University, which contains a startling number of inaccuracies.
The worst of these is that the University claimed their contractors DID NOT USE ZERO HOUR CONTRACTS.
However, when presented with the evidence that this was untrue, they have been forced to retract this, with a reply from the University Secretary stating: ‘I’ve looked into this and will remove it from our responses in future’.
The fact that the University allows zero-hour contracts to be used is bad enough. The fact that it has been hiding this is even worse.
Many thanks for getting back to me, although there are a few issues with your response that I would like to clarify
1. You state that your contractors do not use zero hours contracts. In fact:
a) The majority of Aramark employees are on zero-hour contracts
b) A significant number of Cordant cleaners are on zero-hour contracts
c) A number of Cordant security officers are still on 336-annual-hours-contracts, which are the equivalent of zero-hour contracts
Furthermore, you have now admitted that zero hours contracts ARE used – at what point did you become aware of this?
2. Holiday and sick pay arrangements:
a) In-house employees receive 6 months full pay and 6 months half-pay. Outsourced workers receive 6 months full pay only (both subject to service).
b) In-house employees receive a minimum of 27 days, outsourced 25 days (subject to service, excluding bank holidays).
c) In-house employees receive on average each year 6 additional University days.
3. The promise to maintain the differential was made by yourself, in writing and guarantees that the differential would be maintained. There is no mention at all that this would be a temporary state of affairs, nor would it be logical to initially maintain a differential and afterwards to abandon it.
4. To say that you have seen no evidence of illegal deductions from pay, bullying or discrimination is extremely disingenuous – you have not seen them because you have deliberately looked the other way. The IWGB union has handled literally dozens of cases of exactly this sort with the University’s contractors, and would be happy to provide a breakdown should you so wish.
5. I note that you do not address the issue of pensions – presumably because you recognise that the University has no case here at all. The difference between the outsourced pension employer contribution (1% in the case of Cordant) and the SAUL contribution (13%) is enormous (although the contribution to your own USS pension is of course even higher). There is no justification at all why a predominantly BME workforce should receive the former, and a predominantly white workforce the latter – this is quite simply discriminatory.
We hope this clarifies why we and others will continue to support this campaign, and we would urge the University that, rather than continuing to drag out this process and besmirch its own reputation further while conducting this face-saving review, it instead recognises the inevitable and commits immediately to bringing all its employees in-house.
If you haven’t voted already, please make sure to vote in the current Information and Consultation of Employees elections in UoLIA, before the ballot closes tomorrow.
You should have received an email and reminder from ‘Online Voting’. Links and instructions are in there. You get to vote for FIVE people – don’t miss out!
The IWGB are standing FOUR candidates – Catherine Morrissey, Nic Charlton, Rebecca Dooley and Bill Kelliher – please vote for us to make sure the new forum is a strong alternative voice for UoLIA staff.
Over the last few years you’ve seen the efforts we’ve made in fighting for London Weighting and now to have outsourced staff brought in-house. We want the chance to make similar progress on behalf of everyone who works in UoLIA, so please give us your support.
The first ICE meeting with UoL management will be on 27 November. If elected, we’ll be in touch straightaway to find out what issues you think should be on the agenda.
Please give either Nic, Rebecca, Bill or me a shout if you have any questions.