University of London workers organised by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) are to hold the biggest-ever strike of outsourced workers in UK higher education history.
After a near unanimous vote in favour of industrial action, over 100 workers are expected to walk out on 25 and 26 April. Previous strikes have only included security officers, receptionists, porters and postroom workers, but the latest ballot also includes cleaners, audiovisual staff and gardeners. The workers taking industrial action work for outsourcing companies Cordant Security, Cordant Services and Nurture.
The workers are demanding to be made direct employees of the university, and for equal terms and conditions with those that are directly employed.
Outsourced workers receive worse pension, holiday pay, sick pay, maternity pay and paternity pay entitlements than their in-house colleagues. They are also more likely to suffer from bullying, discrimination and illegal deduction of wages.
The strikes are part of the IWGB’s “Back In-House” campaign, which is calling on the university to end outsourcing, to abolish zero-hours contracts and that it implement pay rises it promised six years ago, but failed to deliver.