University of London protest seeks rights for outsourced workers

Around 70 protesters gathered outside the University of London’s Senate House today to campaign for better rights for outsourced university staff.

February 5, 2013

Speaking through megaphones and banging several drums, the protesters chanted and distributed leaflets claiming that outsourced staff - including cleaners and caterers - are treated as “second class citizens” because they do not receive the same terms and conditions as direct university employees.

Students, academic and administrative staff, trade unionists and the outsourced workers themselves were among those demonstrating.

The protesters were locked out of the building, which is the administrative centre of the university, but the chanting was audible from inside.

Naomi Bain, branch chair for Unison at Birkbeck, University of London, said: “These workers don’t have the same pension and holiday rights [as direct employees]. That is why we are here.”

Sonia Chura, an outsourced cleaner at the University of London, was among those protesting. She said it was unfair that directly-employed staff received up to 40 days off, while she received just 20.

“We are all going to reach retirement age, so it is unfair that we don’t have pensions. We are prohibited from getting sick because we don’t have sick pay,” she said.

The “3 Cosas” campaign aims to secure sick pay, holidays and pension rights for outsourced staff.

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