A major university takes another blow as workers’ campaign for better conditions spreads

Placard saying "University of London shame on you"
Support us and go ad-free

A major graduate conference has moved away from the University of London (UoL). It’s the latest in a series of moves to boycott the institution for its stance on the rights of outsourced workers.


On 16 January, London 19th Century Studies tweeted that it was moving its graduate conference from UoL to Queen Mary University of London. It said this was “due to the current boycott of [UoL’s] Senate House“:

Outsourced workers are leading the boycott in collaboration with grassroots union Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB). It means people and groups have pledged “not to attend or organise” events at UoL until the workers’ demands are met. They’re asking for the same pay and conditions as other directly employed staff. At present, outsourced workers “have worse sick-, maternity- and holiday-pay… as well as smaller pension contributions”.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

UoL reportedly made £43m from venue hire in the year ending July 2018.

High-profile support

Outsourced workers carried out a two-day strike in April 2018. Industry magazine Employee Benefits reported that, as a result, the UoL agreed to end outsourcing. IWGB at the time was cautious due to a “perceived lack of clarity” in UoL’s statement.

As Freedom News explained, the university ultimately only agreed to bring certain outsourced roles in-house. That change will happen this summer. Maintenance, cleaning and catering staff will, however, remain outsourced. Because of this, the worker- and IWGB-led Boycott Senate House campaign began in December 2018.

More than 100 individuals and groups are named on IWGB’s boycott pledge page. They include professors from across the country, other branch unions, Labour and Green Party MPs, and public figures such as Ken Loach.

Featured image via IWGB/YouTube

Support us and go ad-free

Get involved

  • Check out IWGB’s Boycott Senate House page to find out ways you can support the campaign.

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us