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HUNDREDS of cleaners, porters and security guards at a major London university are considering taking strike action against being “overworked, underpaid and mistreated” on the job.
The 300 Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) members at University College London (UCL) are intending to ballot for industrial action against the outsourcing of jobs at the university, and against zero-hours contracts.
Workers claim that they endure far worse conditions than their colleagues who are directly employed by UCL, receive worse pensions and holiday pay and are furious that they do not get paid for the first three days that they are off sick.
The staff demand that Sodexo and Axis, the two companies who supply outsourced workers to UCL, put staff on the same terms and conditions as workers directly employed by the university.
IWGB University of London branch chairwoman Maritza Castillo Calle said: “UCL would not be able to function without its cleaners, porters and security officers, however for years the university and its contractors have been happy to treat them like second-class workers.
“They are overworked, underpaid and mistreated, while UCL is happy to look the other way when issues are raised about the abject failure of its contractors to treat people with basic dignity.”
A UCL spokesperson said: “In consultation with our recognised union, Unison, we are reviewing the current arrangements for the employment terms and conditions of our outsourced staff.
“They are a valued part of UCL’s community and we are listening to concerns that have been raised regarding their employment status.
“Senior leaders met with front-line Unison representatives this week and we will continue to do so.”
Sodexo and Axis had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.
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