What do Goldsmiths security officers want most? To be treated fairly and with dignity and respect — February 13, 2019

What do Goldsmiths security officers want most? To be treated fairly and with dignity and respect

Security officers at Goldsmiths, University of London are tired of their second-class treatment. As outsourced workers managed by CIS, they do not enjoy equal treatment and the same terms and conditions as the university colleagues they protect and defend every day.

They want to be treated with dignity and respect, and are taking action over inadequate holiday pay, sick pay and derisory pensions by launching a campaign to be brought back in house immediately. As part of this campaign, they are holding a protest on Valentine’s Day at Goldsmiths HQ, 8 Lewisham Way, London SE14 6NW, 12–2.30pm.

So, come on Goldsmiths; do not continue to keep these men and women who serve you loyally at arms-length. Why don’t you just  Listen to what your security officers and students have to say.

You pride yourself on being a ‘close-knit community’ with a ‘special commitment to our local communities within south-east London’. Don’t you think it is time to end your dirty affair with CIS and show some love for your security officers?

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Senior research fellows urge UoL to treat all workers the same — November 16, 2018

Senior research fellows urge UoL to treat all workers the same

While the University of London’s (UoL) senior management team continue to delay providing full details of how it will bring all staff in-house and confirm that they will do so by June 2019, academics continue to show their support for its precarious workers. Below is and open letter from fellows at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies confirming their concern for the workers in view of recent revelations about managers at Cordant Services.

Jules Winterton
Director
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
University of London
Charles Clore House
17, Russell Square
London                                                                                                                                                                                       16 November 2018

Dear Jules,

We are fellows of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) who have signed this letter in support of outsourced workers at the Institute as we believe that all staff at the Institute should be treated equally.

We support the bringing of all outsourced staff in-house as a priority.

We kindly request on behalf of these workers that the Institute provides full details of how it will seek to bring all staff in-house and confirm that it will seek to do so by June 2019.

We are especially concerned about the outsourced workers’ position in view of the recent revelations about managers in Cordant Services, the company that employs these workers. Three women workers have brought the exact same accusations of sexism and homophobia against one Cordant manager. Another manager in charge of these staff had to be moved from this role after he was found to have shared xenophobic and far-right posts on social media. Given that the many of the outsourced staff are women, migrant and BAME, we share their concerns that they cannot be assured that they will be treated in a fair and non-discriminatory way until the University of London takes direct responsibility for their employment and working conditions.

We value our association with the Institute, and wish this association to continue, and we hope to have your support in ensuring that we can continue our association with an institution where all workers are treated the same regardless of their role.

We, the undersigned,

  1. Dr Sinéad Agnew, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS (Faculty of Laws, University College London)

  2. Professor Diamond Ashiagbor, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS (Kent Law School, University of Kent)

  3. Professor Rosemary Auchmuty, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS (School of Law, University of Reading)

  4. Professor Ilias Bantekas, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS (College of Law & Public Policy, HBKU)

  5. Dr Francis Boorman, Associate Research Fellow, History of Arbitration Project, IALS

  6. Lydia Clapinska, Associate Research Fellow, IALS (Office of the Parliamentary Counsel)

  7. Clare Cowling, Associate Research Fellow and Project Director, Legal Records at Risk project, IALS

  8. Dr Richard Danbury, Associate Research Fellow, IALS

  9. Dermot Feenan, Associate Research Fellow, IALS (Law and Compassion Research Network)

  10. Professor Rosemary Hunter, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS (Kent Law School, University of Kent)

  11. Professor Harry McVea, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS (Law School, University of Bristol)

  12. Professor Sa’id Mosteshar, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS (London Institute of Space Law and Policy)

  13. Professor Derek Roebuck, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS

‘In-house’ fundraiser gives £2,000 boost to IWGB strike fund — September 18, 2018

‘In-house’ fundraiser gives £2,000 boost to IWGB strike fund

Thanks so much to everyone who came to the University of London ‘back in-house’ fundraiser party on 15 September, and to those who helped raise the money in a range of creative ways. These included raffle prizes donations and the organising of a well-run bingo session.

Some 200 people descended on SOAS for the event. We had an amazing time and managed to raise more than £2,000 which will help us continue the fight for justice and equality and support the next strike by outsourced workers at Senate House.

Translation

¡Muchísimas gracias a todos los que vinieron a la fiesta de recaudación de fondos para la campaña de la rama Universidad de Londres anoche, y tambien a todos quienes nos apoyaron y ayudaron a recaudar el dinero de diferentes maneras!

Definitivamente la pasamos genial y logramos recaudar más de £2000 para la próxima huelga y para seguir luchando por justicia y igualdad!

 HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE!

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 (vice-chancellor@london.ac.uk) and ask him to end discrimination at UoL and bring workers in-house by June 2019.

 

 

 

Birkbeck Justice for Workers Campaign Update #2 — July 10, 2018

Birkbeck Justice for Workers Campaign Update #2

Below, is an extract from a letter from Birkbeck Justice for Workers, which provides an update on its campaign to bring Birkbeck, University of London’s cleaning, catering and security staff back in house. They also share a letter in solidarity received from the South Africa’s Outsourcing Must Fall movement.

Dear all,

Our campaign is gathering pace. We have over 450 signatures on our petition – we’d love to get that to 500, so please keep sharing with your friends and colleagues. Birkbeck UNISON are having positive negotiations with management and we know the weight of support for our campaign is strengthening our hand. We have also received a heart-warming message of solidarity from the Outsourcing Must Fall movement in South Africa – you can read that below.

The message of solidarity mentions fighting unions. We’d like to thank the University of London IWGB for joining us at our demonstration last month.

Best wishes

Birkbeck Justice for Workers

 

Solidarity from #OutsourcingMustFall Campaign, South Africa

We write to you in solidarity with your struggle for the insourcing of workers at Birkbeck College. Our struggle against outsourcing received national prominence during the student protest against fee increases in 2015 when insourcing of workers was included as part of #FeesMustFall movement’s demands. The solidarity from students raised the profile of our struggle against poor working conditions and wages we had endured since our universities introduced outsourcing of what it called, ‘non-core functions’ in the late 1990s.

Although outsourcing is commended as ‘cost effective’, ‘efficient’, ‘productive and strategic’, it has been shown through a cost accounting analysis based on the experience of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, that it results in increased ‘transaction costs’. These include cost creep from an increase in complaints and worker unrest, the loss of coordination efficiencies and of tacit skills and organisational memory (Adler et al., 2000, in Dumba, 2014).  The combination of these elements have shown the opposite of organisational efficiencies claimed to justify outsourcing.

Notwithstanding the victories scored to be insourced at some of the institutions in South Africa, there is still a long road ahead against outsourcing in our country. Not only are many higher education institutions still using workers from outsourced companies, the #OMF  has had to extend its campaign to include the whole of the public sector where cleaning, security, catering and landscaping services have been outsourced at local, provincial and national government level including parastatals.

We have combined different tactics of protests such as pickets, occupations and strikes to make our voices heard. We have also approached political parties to pass motions against outsourcing in the Legislature but we have yet to see results from this approach.

While we have worked with a union, and many members of #OMF have subsequently joined this union, we have had to fight on two fronts, of the union and #OMF campaign. The latter has proven to be much more flexible to respond to the immediate concerns of workers. We are also of the view that our campaign has the potential to revive and rebuild fighting unions in the process of struggling to ensure outsourcing does fall.

We wish you all the success with your struggle against outsourcing at Birkbeck College.

Yours in solidarity

#OMF Co-ordinating Committee Convenor

Executive Mukhwevho

 

End outsourcing at Birkbeck: petition and demonstration — June 20, 2018

End outsourcing at Birkbeck: petition and demonstration

The campaign to end outsourcing at the University of London is picking up momentum.

Birkbeck had decided to start its own in-house campaign beginning with a demonstration on 26 June, and a call to sign the ‘Birkbeck Justice for Workers’ petition as detailed below.

Dear all,

Sign the Birkbeck Justice for Workers petition: https://tinyurl.com/bbkj4w
Join the demonstration: outside the Birkbeck main building, Tuesday 26 June, 4–6pm

There is inequality at the heart of our university. Cleaning, catering and security staff are outsourced. The workers get lower wages and worse conditions, such as sick leave and pensions.

UNISON and the other trade unions at Birkbeck are organising the campaign to end outsourcing: we want the workers brought back in-house. This means they would be directly employed by the university. We believe that these services are essential: without cleaning, catering and security, there could be no teaching or research.

We ask that Birkbeck commits to bringing all of its outsourced workers back in-house within six months, without any reduction in jobs or services. This means the workers will get equality when it comes to pay, sick leave, holidays, pensions; and also access to the library and IT, study assistance, family leave, and an end to zero-hours contracts in catering.

We call on the Master of Birkbeck, Professor David Latchman, to make a written commitment to this effect as soon as possible.

How you can support the campaign:

Best wishes

 

Birkbeck Justice for Workers

 

Bringing workers in-house at the University of London – letter to the Board of Trustees – follow up — June 8, 2018

Bringing workers in-house at the University of London – letter to the Board of Trustees – follow up

Dear Chris

I have not yet received a reply from yourself or the University to my emails below, but as a new statement has appeared on the intranet I am going to take that as a response of sorts.

There is much in that statement to take issue with (I believe my colleague Dr Moyer-Lee has already been in touch regarding this), but I just wanted to concentrate on one key point.

The statement claims: ‘The continued protests reinforce the belief expressed by the Board that bringing services in-house will not eliminate continued disruption and the resulting high costs’.

Surely it is obvious that the opposite is true.

The protests have continued because services have NOT been brought in-house. All the University has done is issue a vague statement which guarantees nothing.

A clear declaration that all services will be brought in house within 12 months, if agreed by the workers (we do like to include the actual people affected in these decisions), would end the campaign and of course eliminate the continued disruption.

This is the IWGB position, and it could not be more reasonable or straightforward. I would once again ask you to look at the situation objectively – these workers are simply asking for equal treatment. The University is denying them this, and refusing to talk to them or their representatives. Therefore they have no option but to campaign. The costs that this is incurring for our institution are totally unnecessary, and result from the University’s unreasonableness.

I, and your outsourced workers, would appreciate at least the courtesy of a reply to this email.

Best wishes,

Danny

 

Danny Millum
Branch Secretary
University of London IWGB

 

Sent on 5 June 2018

Bringing workers in-house at the University of London – letter to the Board of Trustees – follow up

Dear Chris

I am also attaching today’s letter from John McDonnell, in which he calls for a new statement from the University of London containing ‘no longer than a 12-month implementation period’ and ‘dialogue and negotiations with the IWGB’.

I hope that the University will take note of the opinion of such a senior figure, and take these two sensible steps to resolve this issue.

Best wishes

Danny

 

Sent on 5 June 2018

Bringing workers in-house at the University of London – letter to the Board of Trustees – follow up

Dear Chris

I am just following up on my emails below, to both yourself and the Board of Trustees, having received a reply to neither.

I am doing so in the light of tomorrow’s industrial action and protest, and also the revelations in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper as to the sheer scale of the University of London’s spending on additional security.

IWGB members (particularly those Cordant workers who have been on strike for the last year) are extremely frustrated and disappointed, having been given no solid guarantees at all as to their future, and left hanging with appalling management and discriminated against in terms of their terms and conditions. We have continually offered the University the opportunity to negotiate directly with its outsourced workers – and the University has refused to do so, and instead spent hundreds of thousands of pounds unnecessarily.

The University now has the opportunity to resolve this crisis (see below for the workers’ extremely reasonable demands – that contracts be brought back in-house within 12 months). Should it not take it, then it must take responsibility for all the additional costs, damage to reputation (the Observer will be reporting tomorrow from the picket line) and disruption to its core academic mission.

I hope that you and the Board of Trustees realise that it is simply irrational to continue with this policy.

Best wishes,

Danny

 

Sent on 31 May 2018

Bringing workers in-house at the University of London – letter to the Board of Trustees

Dear Board of Trustees members

I am writing as branch secretary of the University of London IWGB with regard to the campaign to bring workers in-house at the University of London.

I would like to start by apologising for not writing to the whole Board. As you probably know, it’s hard to track down contact details for all the members – please do forward this on as appropriate!

As I am sure you are aware, the IWGB represents the vast majority of outsourced workers at the University of London, and has been campaigning since September 2017 to end outsourcing and the discriminatory 2-tier workforce at Senate House.

The campaign has garnered huge press attention and popular support, most recently featured the biggest outsourced worker strike in HE history, and has resulted in the decision of the Board of Trustees (made at the 23 May meeting) to bring workers back in-house.

However, as you will see from my email below, while we welcome this decision in principle, the statement issued by Adrian Smith is extremely vague, and as a consequence has no chance of achieving the stated aims of the Board in reducing the risk of industrial action or ending disruption at the University of London.

Indeed, there is another strike planned for next Wednesday 6 June, which has already caused a major event to be moved.

What we are calling for is very straightforward – a clear statement from the University of London (similar to that made by SOAS) that outsourcing will end in 12 months or less.

Without clarity on this issue, there is no way that our members and supporters (who know that it is only their pressure that has brought the University to this decision) will end their campaign.

We will be making this letter public, so that it is quite clear how reasonable the IWGB position is – and that the ball is clearly in the University of London’s court if it wishes to end this dispute.

Best wishes,

Danny

Danny Millum
Branch Secretary
University of London IWGB

 

Sent on 30 May 2018

Subject: Bringing workers in-house at the University of London – next steps

Dear Chris

I am writing in response to the message below from the Vice-Chancellor regarding the Board of Trustee’s decision on bringing outsourced workers in-house.

While we welcome the decision in principle expressed below, this statement will not be sufficient to end the in-house campaign at the University of London, or stop the strike action due to take place next week.

The disruption to the University’s activity will continue (I am sure that you will be aware that next week’s Down and Out event has chosen to move location in support of the workers) and the University will continue to accrue negative publicity (see today’s letter from Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley (attached) as well as numerous press articles (of which this is the latest). The situation is only likely to escalate given the extreme disappointment among workers which the VC’s statement has engendered.

I am therefore writing to clarify what is needed ‘to expedite the process to reduce the risk of industrial action as far as possible and ensure the University is not distracted or hindered from furthering its core academic mission’ – something which both we and the Board wish to see.

The current statement is much too vague with regard to contracts, timescales and even which groups will be affected.

Workers require a statement along the lines of the 4 August 2017 SOAS announcement from Baroness Amos, which made clear that outsourcing would be ended within 12 months, and all workers brought in-house house with no loss of jobs or hours.

The IWGB and its members would then be prepared to suspend the campaign, and we could move onto working together to ensure that the transition was a smooth one and beneficial to both parties.

Our position is an eminently reasonable one, and I would remind you that we remain (as I have reiterated on numerous occasions) open to direct talks to resolve this dispute.

Best wishes,

Danny

 

Danny Millum
Branch Secretary
University of London IWGB

 

Message from the Vice-Chancellor regarding Board of Trustees decision

From: Human Resources
Sent: 24 May 2018 16:04
To: Central-University <central-university@london.ac.uk>
Subject: Message from the Vice Chancellor

Dear Colleagues

I am writing to you to update you on the discussion and decision on the Facilities Management Review that was taken at the Board of Trustees meeting yesterday afternoon. The Board accepted the recommendation from the Facilities Management Review Group that:

The University will develop an efficient provision model in which in house services are supported by contracts designed to provide both the specialist expertise and the flexibility to respond to the varying needs of the University. 

However the Board raised significant concerns over the additional costs of bringing services in house and the impact on the University’s academic agenda. The Board were content to support the Review Group’s recommendations contingent on seeing more detailed plans and costs which would deliver benefits to both staff and the University together with plans for mitigating the impact on academic activities and student facing services. The Board would like the University Management to expedite the process to reduce the risk of further industrial actions as far as possible and ensure the University is not distracted or hindered from furthering its core academic mission.

The decision will mean a significant financial investment which will be linked to key strategic initiatives:

  • Ensuring  security and compliance at Senate House and across our estate following heightened security risks
  • Ensuring Senate House offers a high quality experience for staff, academic activity and events
  • The development of an effective Residential Student Life programme, recognising that we need to enhance and broaden our pastoral care for residents in halls

In practical terms, these initiatives will be progressed over the next 12-18 months with some services being brought in house in 2018/19 where there is an opportunity and clear rationale for doing this although the process will be phased over subsequent years.

I would like to thank the Review Group on the thoroughness of the review and the understanding reached on an extremely complex set of issues. While the outcome may not meet everyone’s expectations, I do believe it to be reasonable, measured and deliverable.

Based in the Board’s decision, I have asked for additional security to be stepped down in the hope that the threat of student occupation is now reduced.  This will be kept under review and will be reintroduced if necessary despite the high costs.

Starting at once, the University Management will work closely with the recognised Trade Unions, (UNISON and UCU) and current contractors to transition staff into the University as well as work urgently to address issues that have been highlighted during the review e.g. the elimination of zero hours contracts.

 

 

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