• Protest in support of biggest-ever strike of outsourced workers in UK higher education

  • Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, several trade unions, student unions and activist groups are expected to support the strikers on the day.

  • Striking workers are demanding to be made direct employees of the university, and for equal terms and conditions with those that are directly employed.

24 April: Hundreds are expected to protest tomorrow outside Senate House, University of London, in support of the biggest strike of outsourced workers in UK higher education history.

The protest will be held outside Senate House at 5pm, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU and is coinciding with a strike of outsourced cleaners, porters, security officers, receptionists, gardeners, post room workers and audiovisual workers on 25 and 26 April organised by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB).

Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, several trade unions, student unions and activist groups are expected to support the strikers on the day.

The over 100 striking workers, who are employed by a number of outsourcing companies that have contracts with the University of London central administration, are demanding to be made direct employees of the university, and for equal terms and conditions with those that are directly employed.

Outsourced workers receive worse pension, holiday pay, sick pay, maternity pay and paternity pay entitlements than their in-house colleagues.

But more importantly, outsourced staff are generally more likely to suffer from bullying, discrimination and illegal deduction of wages.

The strikes are part of the IWGB’s “Back In-House” campaign, which is calling on the university to end outsourcing, to abolish zero-hours contracts and to implement pay rises it promised six years ago, but failed to deliver.

The campaign, which was launched by the IWGB in September 2017, has received the support of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP (click here for his video message), Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley and a number of trade union and student union branches.

Through a series of protests and strikes, the IWGB has succeeded in forcing the university to initiate a review into its facilities management contracts.

However, the union has been left with no option but to escalate its campaign, as the university has consistently denied the outsourced workers and their union, the IWGB, a voice in this process.

Previous strikes have only included security officers, receptionists, porters and postroom workers, but the latest ballot also includes cleaners, audiovisual staff and gardeners.

IWGB President Henry Chango-Lopez said: “The university has repeatedly refused all attempts by the outsourced workers and their union, the IWGB, to engage in a constructive discussion over outsourcing. This intransigence has led to increasing anger among the workers, which is demonstrated by the growing number of workers that are choosing to take industrial action. The university would be well advised to heed the demands of the workers and make them direct employees.”

The IWGB is the largest union at the University of London central administration buildings, which include Senate House, Stewart House, The Warburg institute, The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Student Central, International Hall, College Hall, Connaught Hall, Lilian Penson Hall and Nutford House.

The outsourced workers taking industrial action work for Cordant Security, Cordant Services and Nurture.

-ENDS-

For more information:

Emiliano Mellino, press officer

press@iwgb.co.uk

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