Wednesday 23 December: The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) Universities of London Branch voted for industrial action at the University of Greenwich today. Outsourced cleaners, porters and security officers are demanding trade union recognition for the IWGB, a commitment to end outsourcing and equal terms and conditions. 69 percent of workers voted “Yes” to the strike, with 31 percent of workers voting “No”.
University of Greenwich workers are outsourced via multi-billion pound company Sodexo and therefore denied the basic rights that university employees are entitled to, including equal pay, pensions, sick pay, annual leave and parental leave. Those who kept the university open working overtime through lockdown are also demanding Covid-19 bonus pay, which they report was unfairly paid to some workers but not others.
The strike hardship fund has already raised over £1,000 and the ballot follows victory for the IWGB’s flagship #EndOutsourcing campaign at the University of London.
Clive Steadman, Porter at the University of Greenwich, says: "Let's hope that by taking action we can win equality and a secure future. That's all we want. I think that's my new year's resolution this year: to have hope. By just posting this ballot paper I feel change "
Charlotte Powell, Universities of London Branch Secretary, says: "Despite voicing support for Black Lives Matter and hailing these key workers as ‘heroes’ during lockdown, the University of Greenwich is treating them like second class citizens. Outsourcing creates a two-tier workforce, discriminating against these majority BAME workers. It has no place on our campus. IWGB workers won equality at the University of London and they’ll win it at Greenwich too. It’s the least these key workers deserve.”
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