From the picket line: "3 Cosas" workers strike at University of London

Submitted by AWL on 27 November, 2013 - 2:08

Outsourced workers at the University of London are striking for equal rights and union recognition. Their "3 Cosas" ("3 Things") campaign has fought for parity of sick pay, holiday entitlement, and pension rights between outsourced and directly employed staff. They are striking on 27 and 28 November for these demands, against potential job losses resulting from the closure of Garden Halls, and for recognition of their union, IWGB.

A demonstration is planned at 6pm on Wednesday 27 November at Senate House (see here for details), and picketing from 6am on Thursday 28 November (see here for more).

See the campaign blog, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter pages for more info.


Voices from the picket line

“The strike went really well; it had great support from the workers. We had just what we wanted, which was a lively, happy, and militant demo.
“Outsourced workers at University of London are losing a culture of fear. They can see that the union is a real presence and that we’re going to continue the fight. We’re fighting for better conditions and decent rights for everyone.
“We’re here today, we’ll be here tomorrow. We’re going to keep fighting for as long as it takes to win our demands.”
Henry Chango Lopez, Chair, Industrial Workers union of Great Britain (IWGB) University of London branch

“After this morning, I’m very optimistic. I’m very proud of all the members who struck, and everyone who came to support us. We had a great turnout, even at 6am. It’s important to remember that this is a strike. It’s a new stage for the campaign. We’ve had lots of protests, but a strike is something different.
“Some managers made faces and ironic gestures at us, but you can tell that management are shaken.
“We’ll be back tonight at 6pm for our demonstration, and picketing again from 6am tomorrow. We hope to see you there!”
Sonia Chura, Vice-Chair, IWGB University of London branch

"3 Cosas is a model for the whole labour movement! This is not about downtrodden workers asking for a "fairer" deal, this strike is about power, about saying they refuse to be invisible any longer - workers make the university run and it is workers who should run the university!"
Daniel Cooper, University of London Union Vice President and IWGB activist

“It’s a very militant strike and demonstration. We’ve turned away a lot of delivery fans, which is fantastic. We’re more determined than ever to keep building for victory. Cooperation and solidarity, between outsourced workers, directly-employed workers, and students, will be key.
“We’ve supported student struggles, and they’re here supporting us. That solidarity will be essential to winning victory.”
Alberto Durango, President, IWGB

"Today's strike was remarkable. It was solid, with the vast majority of IWGB members out on strike and many on the picket lines.
"Far from a token protest, it caused major disruption. Deliveries for the Foundation Day celebration with Princess Anne were turned away, and managers were forced to take out the rubbish in the morning.
"Up until now, the University and Balfour Beatty were not interested in negotiating seriously. Today they looked taken aback at the strength of the strike, and the support it received from staff and students. Workers will be back tomorrow morning for another day of picketing and this dispute is only really beginning."
Liam McNulty, IWGB member and 3 Cosas campaign supporter