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Bring us 'in house' say #CleanUpOutsourcing marchers
On Tuesday, hundreds of London workers downed tools and marched on Parliament to demand the end of outsourcing and what they claim is the insecurity, discrimination and low pay it causes.
#CleanUpOutsourcing - organised by trade unions including the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, United Voices of the World, the BEIS L&S PCS and the RMT - coincided with High Court action taken by the IWGB against the BEIS and the University of London, aimed at improving the employment rights of an estimated 3.3 million workers in outsourced roles.
The marchers were also demanding Living Wage payments as well as the same terms and conditions enjoyed by directly employed staff.
UVW cleaners and security officers were on strike at the Ministry of Justice, demanding the living wage; PCS cleaners, security, catering staff and others were on strike at the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy, demanding the living wage, equal terms and conditions and an end to outsourcing; and IWGB cleaners were on strike at the University of London demanding equal terms and conditions with directly employed staff.
The unions claim that by using middlemen in the form of outsourcing companies, employers are able to offer some workers far worse pay, holiday entitlements, sick pay and pension contributions than those they directly employ. Outsourced workers are, allegedly, also much more likely to suffer from bullying and discrimination.
The IWGB says that recent years have seen an upsurge in organising and campaigning among outsourced workers, who have managed to secure better pay, improved terms and conditions and in some cases have even forced their employers to reverse outsourcing and hire them directly. "Significant victories have taken place at the University of London Senate House, London School of Economics, Ernst & Young and the Daily Mail," it says.
Shadow Secretary of State for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy Rebecca Long Bailey MP says of the action: "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."
28th February 2019