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Thursday, 20 June

Joint Employer Status For Outsourced Workers - Judicial Review Demand

UOL

The IWGB union is to demand a judicial review in a groundbreaking outsourced workers' rights case - the same union which helped illegally storm the offices of Ernst & Young on April 9.

The Independent Workers of Great Britain is arguing that denying outsourced workers the right to collectively bargain with their 'de-facto' employer, the University of London, is a breach of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

A long running dispute with UCL and service provider Cordant eventually led to the government's Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) - which found no reason to hear the case but declaring UCL not to be a de-facto employer.

The IBWG employs (with a substantial pro bono element) some of London's finest lawyers has filed a claim for a judicial review in the High Court that would force the CAC to hear the case that would introduce the concept of a joint-employer to the UK. If the case were successful, UCL would also have to allow the union to have collective bargaining rights with them as well as with Cordant who do recognise the union. 

 

Background

In November, the IWGB brought a case to the CAC to require the University of London to recognise the union for the purposes of collective bargaining on behalf of some of its outsourced workers.

The law to date has been interpreted as only allowing workers to collectively bargain with their direct employer, in this case facilities management company Cordant. But, if successful, the test case would open the doors for workers throughout the UK to collectively bargain with their de-facto employer as well as their direct employer, introducing the concept of a joint-employer to UK law.

The IWGB is arguing that denying the outsourced workers the right to collectively bargain with the university, which is their de-facto employer, is a breach of article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The proposed collective bargaining unit would include security officers, porters and post room workers.

The case is being backed by The Good Law Project.

 

Glorified middle men

IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee said: “Low paid outsourced workers across the country routinely have their pay and terms and conditions decided by their de-facto employers, whose premises they clean or maintain. In this set-up the contractors are often little more than glorified middle men. For the collective bargaining rights of these low paid workers to mean anything, they must be able to negotiate with the actual decision maker.”

 

Faceless outsourcing

The Independent Workers of Great Britain is arguing that denying outsourced workers the right to collectively bargain with their 'de-facto' employer, the University of London, is a breach of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

A long running dispute with the University of London and service provider Cordant eventually led to the government's Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) - which found no reason to hear the case but declaring the University not to be a de-facto employer.

The IBWG employs (with a substantial pro bono element) some of London's finest lawyers has filed a claim for a judicial review in the High Court that would force the CAC to hear the case that would introduce the concept of a joint-employer to the UK. If the case were successful, the University would have to allow the union to have collective bargaining rights with them as well as with Cordant who do recognise the union. 

 

Background

In November, the IWGB brought a case to the CAC to require the University of London to recognise the union for the purposes of collective bargaining on behalf of some of its outsourced workers.

The law to date has been interpreted as only allowing workers to collectively bargain with their direct employer, in this case facilities management company Cordant. But, if successful, the test case would open the doors for workers throughout the UK to collectively bargain with their de-facto employer as well as their direct employer, introducing the concept of a joint-employer to UK law.

The IWGB is arguing that denying the outsourced workers the right to collectively bargain with the university, which is their de-facto employer, is a breach of article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The proposed collective bargaining unit would include security officers, porters and post room workers.

The case is being backed by The Good Law Project.

 

Glorified middle men

IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee said: “Low paid outsourced workers across the country routinely have their pay and terms and conditions decided by their de-facto employers, whose premises they clean or maintain. In this set-up the contractors are often little more than glorified middle men. For the collective bargaining rights of these low paid workers to mean anything, they must be able to negotiate with the actual decision maker.”

 

Faceless outsourcing

The Good Law Project founder Jolyon Maugham QC said “There are many ways bad employers dodge the cost of workers' rights and outsourcing can be one of them. The treatment of workers with modest bargaining power and little influence, can be hidden from view but it shouldn't be hidden from the law through the use of faceless outsourcing companies. I'm proud to be supporting this case that will ensure that domestic law protects the human rights of some of the most vulnerable workers in the UK.”

Picture: Outsourced workers at the University of London have been campaigning since September to be made direct employees of the university and plan to stage the biggest ever outsourced workers strike in the history of UK higher education on 25 and 26 April.

 

The Good Law Project founder Jolyon Maugham QC said “There are many ways bad employers dodge the cost of workers' rights and outsourcing can be one of them. The treatment of workers with modest bargaining power and little influence, can be hidden from view but it shouldn't be hidden from the law through the use of faceless outsourcing companies. I'm proud to be supporting this case that will ensure that domestic law protects the human rights of some of the most vulnerable workers in the UK.”

Picture: Outsourced workers at the University of London have been campaigning since September to be made direct employees of the university and plan to stage the biggest ever outsourced workers strike in the history of UK higher education on 25 and 26 April.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

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