UCL-UCU: Do outsourced workers at UCL really have “parity”?

12 July 2022

Update on the unfair treatment of outsourced staff at UCL

In October 2019, following campaigns by Unison and the IWGB that we supported, UCL was forced to commit to paying outsourced security, cleaning, portering and catering staff the same, or equivalent pay, plus core benefits, as in-house staff.

This sounded good in principle, but, three years on, this commitment has still not been honoured for outsourced staff.

As passed in a motion at our AGM, UCL-UCU continues to support the demands of our security, cleaning, portering, and catering colleagues to be brought in-house. We will continue to work with the unions representing those workers - Unison and the IWGB - and call on UCL to enact its previous commitments, listen to current demands from these workers, and act on them.

We call on our members to show solidarity and support the full in-housing campaign. IWGB members will be flyering prospective students at UCL’s Summer Open Days this Friday and Saturday (15th and 16th of July). Please join them at Mallet Place at 11am to show your support. More details available here and by texting 07934462548.

Key issues are:

  1. Security officers working for Bidvest-Noonan have had to raise over 75 individual grievance cases in the last 12 months on issues as basic as failing to pay wages, or unexplained deductions. This number is far greater than for in-house staff, and means that, in practice, the terms and conditions of these outsourced staff are being eroded.
  1. Many outsourced staff continue to have much worse contracts; zero hours contracts are routinely used for staff on the cleaning and catering/hospitality teams.
  2. Outsourced staff are still on significantly lower pay than their equivalents were prior to outsourcing. Fifteen years ago, security staff and cleaners were paid between £16-18/hr. The top rate for security staff now is around £13/hr. For cleaners it is around £12/hr. This is a huge deterioration in pay over time.
  3. Unsafe and unhealthy working environments have been created by chronic understaffing in multiple departments, due to subcontractors trying to cut costs.
  4. Un-itemised payslips make it extremely difficult for staff to check that they are being paid correctly and, when they are able to check, they often find that they have been underpaid.

UCL UCU Executive Committee

twitter: @ucl_ucu

UCL UCU website