On Thursday 25th January, a protest was called by the Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) union against the outsourcing practices happening at the University of London.
This was part of their ongoing effort to bring all the workers in-house, in order to guarantee the most basic rights that all workers should be entitled to. Amongst other things, outsourced workers suffer from far worse pensions, holiday entitlements, sickness entitlements, and maternity and paternity leave than in-house employees.
This protest has been one of many in the struggle against outsourcing. And we’re starting to see the results this pressure can bring. The University of London (UoL) has responded saying that they were considering either bringing all the workers in-house fully or only partially. The workers and the IWGB made sure at the protest to let university management know which option is acceptable.
The protest was attended by workers on strike, who had been holding a picket line since 2pm that day. Students and sympathisers also rallied to the cause, with help from the IWGB organisers.
Several members of the union addressed the crowd and expressed their discontent over the situation. The president of the IWGB, Henry Chango López, stated very clearly in his address (which he gave both in English and Spanish) that, “We don’t want to be treated as second class citizens. We know how it is to work for this outsourcing companies”.
Screams of “Hasta la victoria siempre” were heard from the workers and the crowd, showing true revolutionary spirit and support for the cause.
Outsourcing practices are a symptom of the sickness of capitalism – a way of dehumanising the workforce, and a useful tool for the capitalists to increase their profits while disregarding the massive impact this has on workers.
This practice is even more outrageous considering that the perpetrator is the UoL, an educational institution whose aim should not be to profit from the lives of others and help fuel an unequal system.
We must continue these solidarity actions between workers and students. Unite and fight to defeat the bosses and their corrupt system!
by Nico Padrón, SOAS Marxists
(photo by Peter Marshall)