The University and College Union (UCU) Congress has voted to boycott the administrative centre of the University of London, the Senate House because of their alleged mistreatment of staff members, including the security, janitorial and catering officials.
The aim of this move is to pressurise the university to bring the predominantly BAME and in house female staff members into direct employment contracts, facilitating the provision of equal workplace rights and other benefits enjoyed by all workers at the varsity, such as sick pay leaves.
A 17-day strike was held in September 2016, by UoL cleaners and security staff members in a bid to end outsourcing, along with calling to boycott the Senate House in the early half of December 2018.
The university authorities spent over £400,000 on added security measures in November-December 2018, to handle student protests and other industrial actions that took place in support to the movement initiated by the UoL cleaners and security staff members. The strikers and protestors were filmed being subjected to violence by the authorities.
Moreover, 180 Senate House events and 35 seminars were shuffled, and more than 400 academics and 23 UCU branches have expressed solidarity with the workers.
“It is our belief that victory here at the epicentre of London’s academic hub will not only sound the death knell for outsourcing in the sector, but it will also massively strengthen the position of precarious UCU members denied pensions and other rights,” said Jordi López, a UoL organiser and caseworker.
Christina Paine, who moved the amendment and presented it, said: “I believe that inequality is legitimised by precarious work … Universities should aspire [to be] institutions where every worker has the same terms and conditions.”
The resolution by Paine read: “Congress believes the fight for casualised staff in higher education is directly connected to – and empowered by – the struggle of female outsourced workers for equality and justice at our universities. Congress resolves to call a boycott of events at the University of London’s central administration until workers are brought in-house.”
These strikes have been a part of the campaign managed and coordinated by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which has demanded the varsity to eliminate outsourcing and zero-hours contracts, along with implementing pay increases.