The Biggest & Best Portal to the Professional Property, Workplace and Built Environment Community

Sunday, 25 February

Annie Sees Hard-knock Life As IWGB Files Landmark Case

On Tuesday 21, the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) filed what could turn out to be a landmark test case.

The IWGB will argue that outsourced workers, including receptionists, security officers and porters, working at the University of London but technically employed through facilities management company Cordant Security, have the right to collectively bargain over pay and conditions directly with the university.

The IWGB says outsourced workers are amongst some of the most exploited workers in the UK.

Denying these workers the right to collectively bargain with their de-facto employer is a breach of article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the union will argue, in the case that is was filed before the Central Arbitration Committee.

The law to date has been interpreted as only allowing workers to collectively bargain with their direct employer. But, if successful, the test case would open the doors for workers throughout the UK to collectively bargain with their de-facto employer as well as their direct employer.

IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer Lee told ThisWeekinFM: “When it comes to the most important elements of pay and terms and conditions for the outsourced workers, it is the University of London and not Cordant which calls the shots. In order for these workers’ collective bargaining and human rights to mean anything, we need to be able to negotiate directly with the university, not the glorified middle man.”

IWGB President and University of London porter Henry Chango Lopez said: “Despite working for the university just like any other employee, even to the point of being given orders by the institution’s managers, I am denied basic rights and treated like a second class worker. All outsourced workers know that ultimately they are working for the University of London, now it is time for the law to acknowledge that.”

 

University response

When contacted by ThisWeekinFM, a University of London spokesperson said: “The University has long recognised two trade unions, UCU and Unison. It has received a request from the Independent Workers of Great Britain trade union for recognition covering security guards, post-room workers, AV staff, porters and receptionists who are all employees of our contractors Cordant.

"The University does not employ any of these workers and does not accept that the relevant legislation recognises the concept of joint employment. We have therefore not agreed to the IWGB’s request for recognition.

"The IWGB is involved in a long-running dispute over the terms and conditions of the individuals employed by the University’s contractors. The University has already begun a review of the performance of the University's contracted facilities management services and as part of that review will be discussing with the contractor the pay, conditions, benefits and development opportunities for the contractor’s employees.”

 

Carefully timed protest

Guided by leading trade union barrister John Hendy QC and employment law barrister Sarah Fraser-Butlin (who will act for the IWGB), outsourced workers wrote to the University of London and went on strike on Tuesday 21, calling on the uni to take them back in house.

A protest in support of the workers’ demands, which will included workers, students and other supporters, took place from 6:00pm at Senate House. This was timed to coincide with the visit of the university’s Chancellor, Princess Anne, as part of the University of London’s Foundation Day celebrations.

There is a wider Back in-House campaign afoot.

The IWGB case will be backed by The Good Law Project.

SOAS University of London plans to stop outsourcing its core support services to private contractors from September 2018. To see ThisWeekinFm's coverage - Click Here

 

Picture: The University of London and Cordant Security face a legal challenge from IWGB. A strike and protest was timed to coincide with the visit of the university’s Chancellor, Princess Anne, as part of the University of London’s Foundation Day celebrations

 

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

Share



Related Articles

McDonalds Security Contractor In 'Remove Your Hijab' Scandal

Thursday evening, November 30, McDonalds Restaurants discovered the hard way that a relationship with a contractor - in this case, employing cheap, untrained security...

 Read Full Article
Sellafield Bunkers Down For Mitie Workers' Nuclear Strikes

GMB members employed as ancillary staff by contractor Mitie at Sellafield are to strike on Wednesday, November 29 over below inflation wage increases - with the Union...

 Read Full Article
Real Living Wage Hourly Rates Released

The Real Living Wage hourly rates have increased (on Nov 6) to £8.75 in the rest of the UK and £10.20 in London - that's £1.25 and £2.70 per...

 Read Full Article
One In Five Brits Still Trapped In Working Poverty

The 2017 Living Wage report for KPMG found that one in five people (21 per cent) in the UK are still earning below the Real Living Wage, meaning that that an estimated...

 Read Full Article
Real Living Wage To Take-off At Heathrow

Heathrow will become the first Living Wage Airport. This recognition will see 3,200 airport workers being paid the Real Living Wage by the end of 2020 and includes...

 Read Full Article
BIFM Awards - Winners Announced

Individuals and organisations driving innovation and delivering exceptional results in facilities management stepped into the spotlight when the winners of the 17th...

 Read Full Article
London Living Wage, Diversity and Training at Heart of TfL Plan

Transport for London has awarded a new cleaning contract to ABM UK meaning 2,800 people will be guaranteed the London Living Wage. ABM has also committed to offer...

 Read Full Article
FM Fraudsters Go to Jail - CORRECTION

Surrey Police have contacted ThisWeekinFM and asked us to correct inaccuracies - which they accept full responsibility for as they relate, in the main, to the calculation...

 Read Full Article
GMBies and Gumbies - Who are the Heat Wave Fools?

According to the GMB union this morning (June 23), a Watford hospital worker has been suspended for rolling his trousers up on the hottest day of the year. Apparently...

 Read Full Article
Halloween Shocker - Living Wage is a Living Hell

Halloween morning saw the new London Living Wage increased from £9.40 to £9.75 per hour to reflect the higher cost of living facing families in the city...

 Read Full Article