Hundreds of protesters gathered at the University of London on Wednesday to show solidarity with the biggest strike of outsourced British workers in higher education. Strikers are demanding the same rights as people employed directly by the university. They currently get worse pension, holiday pay, sick pay, maternity pay and paternity pay entitlements.
The protest was organised by the IWGB union. Strikers were supported by students and workers from the University of London and elsewhere. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell spoke.
The strikes are part of the IWGB’s Back In-House campaign. It demands that the university end outsourcing, abolish zero-hours contracts and implement pay raises it promised six years ago.
IWGB launched the campaign last September. They have received the support of shadow chancellor John McDonnell, Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley and various trade union and student union branches.
The union says it has escalated its campaign as the university has consistently denied the outsourced workers and IWGB a voice in this process.
IWGB President Henry Chango-Lopez said: “The university has repeatedly refused all attempts by the outsourced workers and their union to engage in a constructive discussion over outsourcing.
“This intransigence has led to increasing anger among the workers, which is demonstrated by the growing number of workers that are choosing to take industrial action.
“The university would be well advised to heed the demands of the workers and make them direct employees.”
A university spokesperson said: “A review of the university’s contracted facilities management services is at an advanced stage and the matter will be considered by the board of trustees meeting next month.”