Exploited workers demonstrate at University of London on 21 November 2017

PCS Independent Left congratulates the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) on winning an official seat at the first University of London meeting of the Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) forum held on 27 November 2017.

After three years of campaigning, organising and demonstrating, IWGB has become an alternative voice being heard in a formal setting with management and on the agenda for discussion was a review of the current outsourcing by the university’s Facilities Management.

PCS Independent Left actively supports the struggle of outsourced workers to be directly employed. In these times of imposed austerity it is the most vulnerable workers that will likely suffer the most  and it is for this reason trade unions exist, to stand up for the rights of those workers whose voices would normally be quashed when demanding union recognition.

The University of London currently has around 250 predominantly migrant and BME outsourced cleaners, security officers, receptionists, porters and post room workers employed through several companies. By outsourcing, the university is able to get away with employing these workers under worse conditions than their in-house staff and they find themselves on far worse terms and conditions than employed staff.

Outsourced workers receive worse pensions, holiday pay and sick pay entitlements than their in-house colleagues, but more importantly, outsourced workers are generally more likely to suffer from bullying, discrimination and illegal deduction of wages.

Set against this background, on 21 November 2017, IWGB held a demonstration outside Senate House London calling for all outsourced workers in the university to be directly employed.

The demonstration was organised to coincide with a visit by the university chancellor Princess Anne and the IWGB filing of a landmark test case against the University of London that could broaden the trade union rights of outsourced workers.

PCS Independent Left participated on the day showing solidarity with IWGB and the outsourced workers. The demonstration was well attended and supported by, among others, University and College Union, United Voices of the World, Lambeth Unison, SOASJustice4Workers and Ritzy Living Wage.

Numerous banners, flags, drummers and music ensured a high profile event that delivered an important message loud and clear, a message that could not be ignored.

IWGB thanked PCS Independent Left for its support and solidarity with the cause to better the lives of some of the most exploited workers in the UK.

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