Friday, 27 May 2011

UCL Outsourcing Demo May 26

Around 100 staff and students from across the Bloomsbury campus came to protest in the main square of UCL today, against management’s ill-advised and unjust plans to outsource 96 long-serving staff.

Outsourcing to a private contractor would mean less pay, less control over working hours and no job security for these workers. Collectively, they have given 1,250 years of work to UCL – and in return are being treated with contempt. The Union meeting scheduled for the beginning of this week was cancelled by management at the last minute, and the feedback staff gave during the 20-day consultation period has still not been given a response.

During a well attended rally in the quad one cleaner, who has worked at UCL for 26 years, spoke of her anger at a management team who have only a few years collective experience. Unison representatives emphasised that though this may be an attack on cleaners and security staff today, management have implied that their plans extend to all support staff, and that the fight against privatisation and for job security is a fight for all university workers. Student speakers spoke of the gross attitude of management towards the use of their finances, and the precarity of the job market for future graduates as much as for current support staff.

After the rally, the students and staff went on a tour of UCL, including outside the office of Malcolm Grant, the Provost of UCL, and chanted ‘Outsourcing, no way! Redistribute Malcolm’s pay!’ and ‘Malcolm Grant get out, we know what you’re all about: cuts, job losses, money for the bosses!’

Speakers at today’s demo included workers from UCL and SOAS, as well as students from UCL and Birkbeck, and union representatives from Unison and UCU. An emergency general meeting of the UCL Unison branch is scheduled for Tuesday at 7.30am and Wednesday at 1pm, including a motion on an indicative ballot for industrial action to oppose the outsourcing.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

UCL Outsourcing Campaign - Demo this Thursday

The latest from Bloomsbury Fightback! on the planned outsourcing at UCL:

Real Democracy now!
¡Democracia Real YA!

Estates and facilities staff have been lied to, treated with contempt
and ignored.
Now it's our turn to talk back!

Demonstration Thursday 26 May 2011, UCL Quad 1pm

Outsourcing is NOT a done deal. There have been all sorts of rumours
going around - people have been saying that they're losing their
pensions, that there's nothing we can do. Well we can do something.
This Tuesday 31 May, there is going to be a Special General Meeting of the
UCL Unison branch, called for by 65 Unison members. At this meeting
we will discuss:

- What management have actually been planning
- How we can stop the outsourcing

It might be the Estates and Facilities staff today, but next time
perhaps it will be Maintenance staff, or office workers. There are
plenty of temp companies out there. To the likes of Malcolm Grant and
Rex Knight, everyone in this University is replaceable. Us today: you
tomorrow. If you're not a Unison member yet, sign up so that you can
help us stand up to management, and stop the privatisation of UCL!


Students and lecturers!
Bloomsbury works because we do. Now is your chance to stand up for
us, for our employment rights, our pay, our dignity. If Estates and
Facilities staff are outsourced, it will mean: reduced pensions,
reduced pay and no trade union rights.

The way we are being treated by UCL management is simply racist.
Almost all the cleaners being threatened with privatisation are black.
UCL have said they're committed to having a 30% black and minority
ethnic workforce by 2015. But if these changes go ahead, the
workforce will go from 24% to 20% black and minority ethnic! And what
did UCL tell us when we pointed this out? Simply that, under the new
Tory legislation, they are under no obligation to undertake an
equality assessment. They don't even deny it!

Stop the privatisation of campus!
Stop institutional racism!

Real democracy now!

Let me ( / 020 7862 8812) know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

UCU Pension Dispute

On 10 May the employers in the USS JNC used their voting majority (with the support of the
‘neutral’ Chair) to push through proposals for a two-tier scheme in which new joiners to USS will not receive a final salary pension. Instead they will receive a CARE (Career Average Revalued Earnings) pension based on an accrual rate of 1/80. This will lead to considerably smaller pensions, as the calculations on the USS website indicate.

In effect, the employers have decided to ignore the UCU’s objections, refused to negotiate, and delayed until the summer to weaken our possible action. UCU has to decide how to respond to this imposition.

Full details to follow.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

London Met Occupation Evicted

The entirely peaceful student occupation of the Graduate Centre on the Holloway Road was raided tonight by 16 thugs, including private security guards, 10 bailiffs, 4 police officers and only ONE London Met Security guard, John Hunt.

For full details see here.

The fight for their future is now hanging in the balance. Please join them for a mass lobby of the Board of Governors on Wednesday at 4.30pm in Moorgate, to make a public protest to save London Met, and call for the resignation of Malcolm Gillies. This is disgraceful behaviour and such actions by Management should not be acceptable in a University environment.

Friday, 6 May 2011

The Equality Act 2010 – Focus Groups

Senate House UNISON are working with the University of London to help it comply with the new Equality Act. See below for details provided by Human Resources.

'Further to the results of recently conducted survey on the Equality Act 2010 (, our next step is to get richer data from a wider cross-section of the organisation. For this to happen, however, we need your involvement.

Please come along to any of the Focus Groups and share your opinions!

Over the period of next three weeks we will be running informal Focus Groups which will consider each of the Protected Characteristics in turn. We are looking for participants to join the discussions, give their opinions and share new ideas. Outcome of the meetings will then be communicated to the HR Division and will be taken into account in respect of the UoL Equality Policy. We kindly ask the managers to allow their staff who wish to participate in the focus groups to attend the sessions.

If you would like to attend one or more of the groups, please send an email to

The meetings will be held from 2pm – 4pm on the following dates:

Date of focus group

Protected Characteristic

Mon, 9 May 2011 in room STB7


Wed, 11 May 2011 in room G32


Fri, 13 May 2011 in room STB7


Mon, 16 May 2011 in room G34


Wed, 18 May 2011 in room G32


Fri, 20 May 2011 in room STB7

Sexual Orientation

Mon, 23 May 2011 in room STB7

Marriage/Civil Partnerships

Wed, 25 May 2011 in room G43


Fri, 27 May 2011 in room G32

Gender re-assignment

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Susan Small, Staff Development and HR Manager on ext. 8101.'

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

What Malcolm Grant Thinks About Outsourcing

Professor Grant was walking by the Portico. ‘Professor Grant’, I asked him, holding out a flyer ‘have you seen this?’

He said he had, and so I asked him if he knew about the UCL outsourcing. He said that naturally he did. I asked him why he was implementing it, in light of the consequences that the flyer spells out (in light of reduced pay, lengthened hours, fragmented shifts, worsened pension schemes, loss of union representation). He asked me if I had read the documents. I asked him if he meant the consultation documents. He averred, and I said that I had glanced at them. Professor Grant told me that in management, three things were important: a focus on core services, quality in service provision, and a professional attitude towards institutional order.

I told him that this list missed out the quality of life for workers. Quality of life is harmed by reduced wages, degraded pension schemes and longer hours. Professor Grant said that in management it was important not to be ideological, and that one shouldn’t assume that working conditions for private sector workers were worse than those enjoyed by public sector workers. For instance, sometimes private sector workers had more opportunities for training than public sector workers. Also UCL was in a position where some workers were privately contracted, and others employed in-house.

This last point didn't seem to me to be particularly relevant. I said that historically conditions for public sector workers had been better than conditions for private sector workers. Professor Grant reminded me that UCL had a commitment to the London Living Wage, for all workers, whether employed in-house or out. I told him that TUPEING workers into private sector contracts incentivised the private contractor to seek technical reasons to make the workers redundant, so that new and cheaper workers might be employed in their place. Professor Grant repeated that there were more training opportunities for private sector workers, and therefore more opportunities for career advancement. I told him that this didn’t address the point I had just made, that private sector contractors were incentivised to make their TUPEED workers redundant. Professor Grant said that he thought that this did address it.

He then said that there was an ongoing consultation process. I said that it ended tomorrow. He thanked me for participating, and said that I should be proud of myself. I told him that unless he did what was absolutely in his power to do, which was stop the outsourcing, this was nothing but condescension. He thanked me again and carried on his way.

Courtesy of a Bloomsbury Fightback! member

Round table radio debate

For those who don't get to listen to our Chair often enough, his appearance on 3 Counties Radio last week is still available on listen again.

The programme is in the archive section for the next two days only...

Simply follow the link, then click on 'Drivetime' - the round table debate starts two hours in:

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