Academics, students and politicians to boycott University of London — December 10, 2018

Academics, students and politicians to boycott University of London

More than 100 academics, politicians and others are backing a boycott of the University of London, including the iconic Senate House building, over the institution’s continued use of outsourced workers to provide essential services.

The supporters of the boycott, which include shadow chancellor John McDonnell MP, the National Union of Students and several high-profile professors, are demanding that the university end outsourcing and directly employ the outsourced workers that provide cleaning, catering, security and other services.

A full list of current signatories to the boycott will be found on the page and from Monday 10 December.

Outsourced workers at the University of London have been campaigning to be made direct employees with equal terms and conditions as other staff for over a year. These workers – who have worse sick pay, holiday pay, maternity pay and pension contributions than directly employed staff – have taken up to 15 days of strike action.

Instead of agreeing to negotiate with the workers, the majority of which are migrant and BME, the university has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on heightened security in an attempt to stave off industrial action and protests. More information here, here and here.

After initially stating that it would bring services in-house last May, the university has now gone back on its commitment, only guaranteeing that a small portion of the workforce will be made direct employees by this summer.

The bulk of outsourced workers – maintenance, cleaners and catering – will remain outsourced at least until their contracts are up for tender in 2019, 2020 and 2021. At that point an in-house bid will be presented alongside other commercial bids, leaving the door open for the workers to remain outsourced indefinitely.

In the meantime, outsourced workers continue to suffer under a regime of bullying and discrimination. In 2018, the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain handled over 50 complaints on behalf of outsourced workers a the University of London. Notably the IWGB raised a complaint in July when it discovered that a senior manager of outsourcing company Cordant was supporter of the far right.

In October, the IWGB raised a separate complaint when the university failed to act after three separate women brought complaints of sexism and homophobia against a separate Cordant manager.

London School of Economics Anthropology Professor Dr David Graeber said: “It is completely reprehensible that people that provide such an essential service continue to be treated as second class workers by the University of London. As academics who benefit from the work of the cleaners, catering staff and other outsourced workers, we have a moral duty to stand in solidarity with them and boycott the university until it ensures that they are given the same terms and conditions as other staff.”

University of London cleaner Margarita Cunalata said: “For over a year, we have been asking the university to respect us as equal members of staff, yet it has made clear that it sees us as less than human. We have sent letters, we have been on protests and we have gone on strike, but the university doesn’t even have the basic decency to sit down with us and negotiate. We are tremendously grateful that academics are willing to support our fight by boycotting the university until it makes us direct employees.”

Kings College London Lecturer Nick Srnick said: “At a time when university Vice Chancellor pay is surging across the country, it is an outrage that the least well-off workers of the university continue to face a situation of hyper-exploitation and abuse. Yet there’s an easy solution to immediately improve the lives of the workers that keep the university running: join numerous other universities in bringing them back in-house and paying them a decent wage.”

The boycott asks supporters to not attend or organise events at the University of London central administration, which besides Senate House includes Stewart House, The School of Advanced Studies, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Student Central (formerly ULU).

Events make up a significant proportion of the university’s income. According to its latest financial report, the University of London made GBP 43m from residences, catering and conferences in the year ending July 2018.

IWGB joins forces with UCL out-sourced cleaners — September 18, 2018

IWGB joins forces with UCL out-sourced cleaners

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has been busily organising and recruiting cleaners at UCL who are currently undergoing TUPE transfer from their current contractor Tenon FM, to a new company, Sodexo. Although TUPE is designed to protect employees in this situation, history tells us they are right to be concerned.

The union recently met with this group of outsourced cleaners and their representatives, who have decided to organise en masse with the IWGB. They are tired of being exploited, badly treated, undermined and forced to work under worse employment conditions than their directly employed colleagues. Sounds familiar?

Like other IWGB members, the workers are hungry for justice and workplace equality. They will keep organising and building up towards their big campaign to have workers brought in-house at UCL.

Stay tuned for what is coming!!


 Muy buena reunion con los limpiadores y representantes subcontratados de UCL quienes han decidido organizarse en un gran numero con el sindicato IWGB después de estar cansados de ser explotados, irrespetados y con peores condiciones de empleo que sus colegas quienes trabajan directamente para la Universidad.

Ellos estan hambrientos de justicia e igualdad en su lugar de trabajo y seguirán organizandose y trabajando para su gran campaña!

¡Estén atentos para lo que se viene!

One university should mean one workforce: it is time to end discrimination at UoL — August 15, 2018

One university should mean one workforce: it is time to end discrimination at UoL

Despite the wishes of the majority of its staff, the biggest strikes by outsourced workers in higher education history, support from high-profile politicians, and £700,000 wasted on extra security, the University of London (UoL) refuses to commit to ending its discriminatory two-tier workforce.

Not even the acres of negative press nor the heartfelt pleas from outsourced staff, the majority of who are from BME backgrounds, have managed to make a chink in the armour of the university’s senior management team.

Incidentally, 80 per cent of the institution’s directly employed staff are white. And guess what? Unlike their outsourced BME colleagues, they have enviable pension arrangements and holiday entitlements, are entitled to sick pay and good maternity and paternity pay. Moreover, the university’s ‘dignity at work’ policy ensures they are treated with respect.

All of this point to institutionalised discrimination, and it is a disgrace.

Please email the university’s new vice-chancellor, Peter Kopelman ( and ask him to end discrimination at UoL and bring workers in-house by June 2019.




Opportunity – new post of University of London IWGB ‘women’s officer’ — July 27, 2018

Opportunity – new post of University of London IWGB ‘women’s officer’

womenAt next week’s branch meeting we’ll be voting on an exciting proposal – to create a new post of ‘women’s officer’ for our local branch.

As women’s officer you would:

  • Support and encourage women members to take an active role in the branch
  • Work closely with the national women’s officer on campaigns affecting branch members
  • Form connections with other women’s groups to promote solidarity
  • Be point of contact for campaigns and issues affecting women members in particular

As well as anything else you want to bring to the role!

Contact Catherine Morrissey ( for details.

We’re looking to build on the success of the fantastic 10 July IWGB Leading Women event, which highlighted the discrimination that outsourced women at the University of London face, and featured a fantastic line-up of speakers:

Mildred – LSE cleaners/UVW

Catherine Mayer – women’s equality party

Ayesha Hazarika – comedian/former labour adviser

Liliana Almanza – UoL cleaner/IWGB

Councillor Bélgica Guanía – 1st Ecuadorean councillor in U.K. – lab (newham))

Nilufer – activist in TGI Fridays campaign

Marta Luna Marroquín – retired cleaner & veteran of 3 cosas campaign at uol / IWGB

Lucia Zapata – general secretary of Socialist Youth, Uruguay

Meg Brown – Chair, Couriers & Logistics branch IWGB


University of London commits to abolishing zero-hours contracts by new academic year — June 11, 2018

University of London commits to abolishing zero-hours contracts by new academic year

A strike and subsequent demonstration from the IWGB on Wednesday 6 June has pushed the University of London to release a statement regarding the future of outsourced contracts at the university’s central properties.

While concessions were made with regards to zero-hour contracts – which will be abolished by the end of the summer vacation – they continue to lack a commitment to bring all outsourced staff back in-house over the coming 12 months. Until this is promised, the IWGB will continue its campaign to support the brave outsourced staff at the University of London who are still needing to fight for equality in terms and conditions, and treatment. Continue reading

UoL outsourced workers close to a historic victory — May 29, 2018

UoL outsourced workers close to a historic victory

Thanks to your support, last week outsourced workers at the University of London (UoL)won a massive concession, when the university announced that it would start a process to end outsourcing.

Sadly, the announcement was vague and offered no clear timeline nor commitment from the university, despite repeated demands by the IWGB for clarity and a maximum 12-month timetable for in-sourcing. Continue reading

IWGB General Secretary responds to University of London announcement — May 25, 2018

IWGB General Secretary responds to University of London announcement

Dear Professor Sir Adrian Smith,

I am writing you to share some musings on the statement you put out yesterday regarding outsourced workers (below).

For such a distinguished individual with quite the collection of titles – Vice Chancellor, Sir, Professor – the quality of writing, or lack thereof, is somewhat startling. I had to read it a few times in order to try and understand what you were saying and why- and even after that I’m a little confused. But then again, that may have been the intention.

So let me sum up what I think you’re trying to say, before going on to respond to it in rather clearer language: the University of London can’t handle anymore of the campaigning and strikes, and so whilst they’re unhappy about having to spend more money, they will bring the outsourced workers in house over the course of the next several years, with the help of the two unions on campus who have no mandate to act on behalf of the outsourced workers.

This announcement follows on the heels of seven years of campaigning around outsourced workers’ pay, terms, and conditions, and more specifically, several months of the IWGB’s Back in House Campaign, which has been calling for an immediate end to outsourcing. On the eve of the Board of Trustees’ meeting on 23 May, we even made clear that we could consider any proposal which brought workers back in house within 12 months, an incredibly generous concession on the part of the workers given how long you’ve been treating them unfairly.

Now I appreciate that you must find it frustrating to deal with the IWGB as you deem the union to be militant, radical, and uncompromising. This must be all the more frustrating when compared to your preferred method of conducting industrial relations. But whilst we may not take positions you agree with, one thing we are not is irrational.

Indeed, the mechanics of our motions and the rationality of our strategy is crystal clear and utterly coherent. When you adopt practices which are unfair, discriminatory, or exploitative, we will campaign, protest, strike, and expose you to the world. When you stop these practices, or announce you are planning to stop them with clear guarantees and within a reasonable time frame, we call off the campaigning. Simple.

You didn’t really expect over a hundred cleaners, porters, security guards, receptionists, gardeners and AV staff to call off their strike and campaign on the vague promise that at some point in the next several years they’d be brought back in house, did you? And you couldn’t possibly have expected to get favourable press coverage out of this rubbish announcement, could you? If the articles that came out within 24 hours of the announcement are anything to go by, you’re in store for quite a bit more negative press coverage in the coming weeks:×9/the-university-of-london-is-leaving-its-outsourced-workers-in-limbo

So in sum, the ball is entirely in your court. Your first offer is rejected. If you want the industrial strife to end, make an announcement that all outsourced workers will be brought back in house, on equal terms and conditions, within the next 12 months and we will give it serious consideration.  Given that this matter has been a live issue for the past seven years, our position is more than reasonable.

Alternatively, continue to endure strikes, protests, campaigns, negative press coverage, staff malcontent, and spending exorbitant amounts of money on running UoL like a prison. If past experience is anything to go by, students, trade union branches (in particular UNISON and UCU branches from around the country), activists, politicians, and others will continue to support the workers’ cause until victory.

Best wishes,

Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee
General Secretary

IWGB gana importantes concesiones para los trabajadores subcontratados en la Universidad de Londres- ¡pero la campaña continúa! —

IWGB gana importantes concesiones para los trabajadores subcontratados en la Universidad de Londres- ¡pero la campaña continúa!


  • La huelga del 6 de junio seguirá a no ser que la Universidad de un mensaje más claro
  • La Universidad anuncia un ambiguo compromiso de contratar algunos servicios directamente “en aquellos casos donde haya una oportunidad y un razonamiento claro”, sin especificar cuáles serán estos servicios.
  • El caso pionero de co-empleadores que el sindicato está llevando contra la Universidad en la corte suprema seguirá por el momento.

24 de mayo: La administración central de la Universidad de Londres ha anunciado hoy que empezará el proceso de acabar con la subcontratación y contratar los servicios de gestión de instalaciones directamente. Esto representa una concesión importante para la campaña “Back in-house”, iniciada por el sindicato Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) en setiembre del 2017.

El anuncio de la Universidad se ha producido tras haber organizado la mayor huelga de trabajadores en la historia de la educación superior en el Reino Unido, en la cual más de 100 trabajadores salieron a la huelga el 25 y 26 de abril.

Sin embargo, la ambigüedad y la falta de claridad del anuncio en cuanto a los plazos y los servicios que contratarádirectamente la universidad, significa que el IWGB seguirá adelante con la huelga de alrededor de 130 trabajadores: limpiadores (cleaners), guardias de seguridad (security officers), recepcionistas (receptionists), porteros (porters), trabajadores del departamento  de correos (post room workers) y trabajadores del departamento de audiovisuales (audiovisual workers), programada para el 6 de junio.

La Universidad hoy anunció un ambiguo compromiso de que algunos servicios  pasarán a ser manejados directamente por la universidad entre el 2018/19 “en aquellos casos donde haya una oportunidad y un razonamiento claro”, sin especificar qué servicios.

La falta de detalles en cuanto a  los contratos que serán gestionados directamente por la universidad, así como el número de advertencias en el anuncio, no ofrece ninguna garantía a ninguno de los trabajadores subcontratados sobre si pasarán a ser empleados directos de la universidad.

Por el momento el IWGB también planea continuar con su caso pionero de co-empleadoresen contra de la Universidad de Londres, el cual sería en la corte suprema.

El Secretario General del IWGB Dr JasonMoyer-Lee dijo: “El anuncio de hoy demuestra que la acción colectiva y la presión funcionan. La universidad ha entendido claramente que la situación actual es insostenible y que tienen que hacer algo. Pero también demuestra que la Universidad siempre tratara de exprimir hasta el último centavo de sus empleados subcontratados. Hasta que la Universidad de Londres anuncie el fin de toda la subcontratación en un tiempo razonable, el IWGB continuará con la campaña”.

La representante de IWGB y limpiadora de la Universidad de Londres Margarita Cunalata dijo: “Estamos contentos de que la Universidad  finalmente haya reconocido nuestras reiteradas demandas para que nos den los mismos términos y condiciones que a los otros trabajadores de la Universidad. Sin embargo, dejarnos en el limbo es completamente inaceptable. Continuaremos luchando hasta que nos contraten directamente y nos traten con la dignidad que nos merecemos”.

El IWGB quiere tomar esta oportunidad para agradecer a todos los que han apoyado a la campaña, incluyendo a John McDonnell MP, Laura Pidcock MP, al co-líder del Green Party Jonathan Bartley y al cantante y compositor Billy Bragg.


Para más información:

Emiliano Mellino, oficial de prensa /


IWGB members working for Deliveroo need your help today! — May 16, 2018

IWGB members working for Deliveroo need your help today!

Dear Members

I’m writing to you because together we can end “gig economy” exploitation.

As you know, Deliveroo riders are currently denied basic employment rights most of us take for granted, such as protection from discrimination, paid holidays, pensions, trade union representation and the right to be paid not less than the National Minimum Wage.

Last year we took Deliveroo to court, but lost on a technicality. Now the IWGB is seeking to appeal the judgment via Judicial Review so that riders can win back these basic rights.

To do this, we are crowd-sourcing a fighting fund that will protect the Union against costs throughout the process. We have just launched the fundraiser – and need everyone to chip in!

Will you help?

  1. Pledge whatever £ you can afford, and,
  2. Share the link ( online via Facebook, Twitter, email and Whatsapp to your friends, family, members, colleagues and contacts, asking them to do the same – pledge + share!

These are concrete ways to make a difference in challenging times to protect workers everywhere. By helping us in this fight, you make it harder for other employers to copy Deliveroo’s sneaky tactics and protect everyone’s rights across the UK!

We need YOU to help us #DeliverJustice!

Thank you so much,

Mags Dewhurst

Mags Dewhurst
IWGB Vice President