Author: Marcus Barnett
IMMIGRANT workers organised in five different trade unions will launch a wave of strikes and protests in London next week against poor pay and outsourced work.
Members of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and United Voices of the World (UVW) will all be taking action.
The workers at three government and education institutions, overwhelmingly migrants, will all walk out on Tuesday morning.
Cleaners and security guards belonging to UVW will form picket lines outside the Ministry of Justice as part of their third series of walkouts to demand the London Living Wage (LLW).
The PCS branch at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which includes cleaners, security guards and catering workers, will take part in the action to demand the LLW, an end to outsourcing and improvements to their terms and conditions.
These two groups of workers will also be joined by University of London (UoL) cleaners who are members of the IWGB and want the same terms and conditions as directly employed staff.
The day will also be marked by a large demonstration in central London, which the RMT’s London Transport regional council will play a key role.
The demonstrators will demand that the government halts all contracting out of work in its departments, marching under the slogan: “Clean up outsourcing.”
The workers involved in the actions argue that the outsourcing of work such as cleaning and security to private contractors mean that they are denied employment rights such as sick pay and pension contributions.
These strikes and marches will coincide with the High Court ruling on a landmark government legal challenge to the IWGB.
The IWGB was granted a judicial review of a decision that stopped it from formally representing staff employed by Cordant Security at the UoL.
The staff wish to collectively bargain directly with the university, rather than the management firm they are contracted to.
This was initially rejected by the Central Arbitration Committee, which has led the IWGB to allege that the workers’ human rights are being breached.
The judges’ ruling could have widespread ramifications for Britain’s outsourced workers, who number about 3.3 million.
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said: “For far too long, workers in this country have suffered from worsening pay and conditions, while those at the top get richer.
“But seeing these mainly migrant workers from different unions come together to push back against the scourge of outsourcing gives me hope for the future of the labour movement and the UK as a whole.
“These cleaners, receptionists and other outsourced workers have the courage to stand up and fight back, so we as the Labour Party will be by their side every step of the way.”
Ms Long Bailey is expected to speak at an 11am rally in Parliament Square, as is shadow chancellor John McDonnell.