Two-thirds of UCL security staff to strike over pay and union rights in two weeks

They are demanding to to be paid the same amount guards were 20 years ago

Two-thirds of security staff at UCL are set to strike on 14th November over pay and recognition of their union.

Specifically, they are demanding an increase in their hourly pay rate to what is allegedly the same amount similar staff got in 2000 before UCL hired an external company to manage and source the jobs.

A UCL spokesperson responded: “Our colleagues in security do vital jobs for UCL, and we are committed to ensuring that our outsourced colleagues are rewarded fairly in line with our staff.”

The main demands of those participating in the potential strike are for their employers to acknowledge their union’s ability to represent them and for their hourly pay rate to be increased to £15.

Their union, the Independent Workers Union Of Great Britain (IWGB), said the increase would mean workers are earning the same amount similar staff made in 2000 before the jobs were outsourced – managed by an external company hired by UCL instead of the uni itself.

But for the amount to be worth the same now as in 2000, it would have to increase by another £10 to reflect inflation and the cost of living crisis. 

Farhana Uddin, security staff at UCL and an IWGB member, said: “I am not able to pay my bills. The cost of living crisis has left me with my back against the wall and with no option but to demand a pay rise.”

She continued to claim that the institution is using “exploitative outsourcing to cut costs” as staff in the past, before the outsourcing, were paid much more than current ones.

In response, a UCL spokesperson has responded that they “are committed to ensuring that our outsourced colleagues are rewarded fairly in line with our staff” and have invested £10m per year to harmonise pay and benefits for outsourced staff.

They said: “In 2021, we were officially recognised as a London living wage employer and have incorporated a minimum London living wage requirement into standard terms and conditions for our external suppliers.”

These potential upcoming strikes are a part of the IWGB campaigns against outsourcing in unis in recent years. In 2020, the union celebrated as outsourced cleaners at the University of London won a 10-year battle to be officially recognised as staff at the university.

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