St. George’s, University of London (SGUL), was rocked by a second week of strike action today as security guards entered into their 3rd day of strikes as they continued their struggle to be made direct SGUL employees.
The strike took place amidst an ongoing campaign of repression by the Metropolitan Police and management at both SGUL and St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust who have repeatedly sought to criminalise lawful trade union activity by misinterpreting Section 119 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. Something which on the 13th of January led to SGUL management being roundly condemned after it resulted in the unlawful arrest and false imprisonment of Franck Magennis Head of Legal at United Voices of the World (UVW) on secondment to the union from Garden Court Chambers.
The level of police repression increased today as workers and trade union officials were not only threatened with mass arrest under Section 119 but threatened with arrest prior to picketing and whilst also being off site. These harsh tactics have increasingly drawn condemnation from other trade unions, community groups, Constituency Labour Parties and individuals; with a letter of solidarity condemning the medical college currently standing at 46 signatories. Speaking on the picket line whilst surrounded by police officers, Sakina Sheikh, Labour Councillor and Labour Candidate for the London Assembly, said the following:
“St. George’s must do the right thing and negotiate with these workers; there are no excuses which can justify outsourcing them on atrocious terms and conditions. They deserve proper sick pay and meaningful employer pension contributions. They shouldn’t be forced to come into work when they’re sick or injured and they most definitely should not be criminalised by management at St. George’s for lawfully picketing. This criminalisation needs to stop and, management must come to the negotiating table today”.
Cyril, one of the striking workers, said the following: “All we’re asking for is equality, why shouldn’t we get sick pay? How can we not receive sick pay at a medical university?! This isn’t fair, St. George’s should do the right thing and bring us in-house, instead they ignore us and call the police, this isn’t right”
Notes to editors:
For more details, quotes, video and photos contact:
Kane Shaw, Editorial Lead – Campaign Communications, 07950 927798, firstname.lastname@example.org
Petros Elia, Organiser and Rep, 07884 553443, email@example.com,
Gabrielle Jeliazkov, Editorial Lead – Campaign Communications, 07761 542653, firstname.lastname@example.org
Upcoming strike dates:
Round 2. 28th
Round 3: 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th Feb
Round 4: 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th Feb
Letter of solidarity: You can find, and request to be signatory of the letter of solidarity, by going here: https://twitter.com/UVWunion/status/1220771072699707392
United Voices of the World (UVW) is a London-based trade union with 3000 members with approximately 200 joining every month. The majority of its members work in low-paid jobs and are migrants predominantly from Latin America and the Caribbean — with a growing number from Asia and Africa. In 2016, the union organised the largest cleaners strike in UK history and became the first trade union to force a UK university (the LSE) to bring the entirety of its outsourced cleaners in-house. It also organised one of the longest strikes in the history of the City of London, lasting 61 consecutive days. UVW also represents workers in the legal sector, charity sector, cultural sector, architectural sector, and sex work sector— all of whom are fighting against low pay, unpaid work and overwork