Freedom News

Security Guards protest against UCL fire-and-rehire scheme 

Outsourced UCL Security Guards took a double decker protest bus to the workplaces of UCL Council members on Tuesday to demonstrate against the university’s fire-and-rehire scheme.

Under the proposed restructure, workers – belonging to a 99% black and brown workforce – will be forced to reapply for jobs with lower salaries or face redundancies. The scheme has been widely condemned, including by 39 MPs who signed a letter calling on UCL to drop the plans.

Zayad Farouk, a striking security guard, says “UCL are uprooting my entire life just to cut costs. They’re forcing us to reapply to our jobs with worse conditions, making the campus that we care so much about less safe for everyone. We’re losing vital income during a cost of living crisis which we desperately need to support our families, and the university won’t even hear our concerns. I’ve given so much to this university, yet they still see me as a lower class of person.”

All 256 UCL security guards, agency workers outsourced to subcontractor Bidvest Noonan, are facing a brutal fire-and-rehire over the summer, with 40 workers losing their jobs permanently and the remaining staff facing worse terms and conditions, including pay cuts of up to £13,500 per year. More information can be found here.

Today, security guards represented by the IWGB began strike action, and travelled across the city of London in a double decker “Protest Bus” visiting the workplaces of four members of the UCL council.

The striking workers protested at the Bank of England, workplace of council member Tina Harris; Lincoln’s Inn Chambers, where council member Justin Turner is a lawyer; McKinsey, workplace of council member Tania Holt; and Nomura, where member Victor Chu is a board member. 

Protests are planned to continue throughout the next 10 days, including a rally outside parliament on Thursday, with MPs including Barry Gardiner set to speak.

Henry Chango Lopez, General Secretary of the IWGB says “UCL’s racist outsourcing practices, which see black and brown workers deprived of the rights and pay that full employees enjoy, has hit a new low. To treat these human beings in this way at a time like this is despicable, and all to save a bit of money for their unimaginably wealthy owners. UCL needs to stop the fire-and-rehire and bring security guards back in house, and we will continue to take action and use our voices until they do.”

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