Independent Workers Union of Great Britain

University of London security officers go on strike tomorrow to end zero-hours contracts


Monday 24 April: University of London security officers are going on strike tomorrow and Wednesday demanding that the university put on end to zero-hours contracts, with around ten buildings expected to be severely affected as a result of the industrial action.

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is also demanding proper itemised payslips and a 25% increase in pay for all security officers, increasing the salary of the lowest paid officer to around £12 an hour.

While the pay of other workers at the university has increased in recent years, that of security officers has stagnated, breaking a commitment the university had made in 2011 to maintain pay differentials between different types of workers.

Many security officers are guaranteed less than one hour of work per calendar day, despite the fact that they have worked at the university for several years.

 The security officers strike at the University of London goes to the heart of the problem of outsourcing in universities,” said IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer Lee. “The university blames the contractor, the contractor blames the university and the workers lose out. Let’s see if paralysing the university’s operations for two days pushes them to act.”

Cordant, the company that has the contract for the provision of security officers in the University of London’s central administration buildings has so far been unwilling to negotiate with the IWGB, while the University of London has said dealing with this issue is not its responsibility.

Cordant has tried to bring in replacement security guards, also on zero hours contracts, in an attempt to break the strike, but in an unprecedented sign of solidarity, several of these officers have decided to join the IWGB.

The security officers will hold a picket line on the Russell Square entrance of Senate House (32 Russell Square, WC1B 5DU) from 7am to 1pm on Tuesday 25 April and Wednesday 26 April.

Besides Senate House, the strike will affect Stewart House, the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, Student Central (formerly University of London Student Union), the Warburg Institute and five halls of residence: Nutford House, Lilian Penson, Connaught Hall, College Hall and International Hall.

A crowdfund has been set up to gather funds for the striking security officers.

The IWGB is a campaigning union, which has waged a number of high profile campaigns such as for the London Living Wage at the Royal Opera House and at John Lewis, and the 3 Cosas Campaign (sick pay, holidays, and pensions) at the University of London. Other campaigns have been waged over bullying and harassment as well as improved pay for university employees (London Weighting).

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