Outsourced University of London workers to strike

Submitted by AWL on 15 November, 2013 - 4:40

Outsourced cleaning, catering, and security workers at the University of London will strike on 27 and 28 November.

Their strike ballot returned a 97% vote in favour of strikes, on a 70% turnout. The workers, who are employed by agencies such as Balfour Beatty and Aramark, have been fighting for sick pay, holiday, and pensions equality with their directly-employed colleagues through the "Tres Cosas" ("Three Things") campaign.

The campaign has organised regular direct actions, often in conjunction with the University of London Union, and has recently been the victim of attempts to university management to criminalise and undermine protest on campus, with increased, and increasingly aggressive, police presences at demonstrations and the arrest of activists including ULU president Michael Chessum.

The strike also aims to halt the closure of the Garden Halls accommodation site, which the Independent Workers union of Great Britain (IWGB) says could lead to job losses.

The workers are appealing for donations to the strike fund. Click here to donate. See below for a model motion for trade union branches and campaign groups in support of the strike.

For more information, see the Tres Cosas blog, Facebook page, and Tumblr.

Motion: Support for '3Cosas' Campaign strike fund (online here)

This branch notes:
1. The University of London (Central Administration in Senate House/Stewart House/Intercollegiate Halls of Residence) outsources its cleaning, catering, security, postroom, and maintenance services to Balfour Beatty Workplace and Aramark.
2. Most of the outsourced workers do not have sick pay, do not have a pension, and have fewer holidays than people who work directly for the University of London.
3. The University of London's outsourced workers, members of the IWGB union, have balloted for industrial action and are considering strike action this term.

This branch believes:
1. That outsourcing is designed to cut labour costs by creating a two-tier workforce, and should be resisted by the trade union movement.
2. That all workers at the University of London should be entitled to the same sick pay,
holidays, and pensions policies.
3. That the University of London is responsible for the ethical practices affecting all workers at the University of London.

This branch resolves:
1. To publicly support the 3Cosas Campaign, whose goal is to achieve the same sick pay,
holidays, and pensions policies for all workers at the University of London.
2. To contribute support to the 3Cosas Campaign through publicity - including on the branch website and email list - and mobilising members to support the campaign.
3. To contribute [£xxx] to the strike fund of the IWGB University of London branch.
4. To mandate the Branch Secretary to write a letter of solidarity with the 3 Cosas Campaign to University of London management.

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