The rights of ‘out-sourced’ workers

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) are launching a legal challenge on behalf of receptionists, security officers and porters who work at the University of London but are actually employed through a facilities management company. It will argue that the staff will have the right to collectively bargain over pay and conditions directly with the university and that a denial of such a right with their ‘de-facto employer’ is a breach of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

As it stands, the law provides that workers are only allowed to collectively bargain with their direct employer. If the IWGB are successful in their action before the Central Arbitration Committee, the doors could open for workers throughout the UK to collectively bargain with their de-facto employer as well as their direct employer.

IWGB’s general secretary, Jason Moyer-Lee, argues that “When it comes to the most important elements of pay, and terms and conditions for the outsourced workers, it is the University of London and not [facilities management company] Cordant which calls the shots.” Further, “In order for these workers’ collective bargaining and human rights to mean anything, we need to be able to negotiate directly with the university, not the glorified middle man.”

As well as bringing their claim, workers have also been striking at the University of London.