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OUTSOURCING workers constitutes “institutional racism,” a union warned today as it headed to court to fight for fair pay for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) and migrant workers.
United Voices of the World (UVW) submitted the claim at an employment tribunal on behalf of security guards at St George’s University of London outsourced by contractor Bidvest Noonan.
The union is arguing that outsourcing them on inferior pay rates and terms and conditions to staff employed directly by the university breaches their rights under the Equality Act.
UVW organiser Petros Elia said: “It’s institutional racism and economic apartheid. And St George’s University is therefore in breach of the Equality Act and their public-sector equality duty, and we intend to prove that in court.
“We’ve beaten outsourcing through strike action at places like the London School of Economics and Imperial NHS Trust, now it’s time to beat it with legal action.”
The legal challenge is the latest in the ongoing dispute between the workers and the university, which has been hit by a wave of strike action and protests that led to the arrest of a barrister.
St George’s security guard Kazi Mohammad Oli Ullahwe, from Bangladesh, said: “We’ve asked for equality and they’ve refused to negotiate.
“They say it’s not viable to make us university employees but they have not explained why. They don’t treat us as equals: they treat us as second-class workers.
“All of us [come from] ethnic minorities and we all feel discriminated against and harassed. Between our strike and this lawsuit, we will win justice and equality.”
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