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27.04.2023 / News /

UVW back in court to defend victory against discriminatory outsourcing at Royal Parks

On April 18, we were back in court to defend our groundbreaking 2021 victory against discriminatory outsourcing at the Royal Parks after a tribunal refused the government’s request to support the institution’s legal appeal against us. A win here could ring the death knell of outsourcing as we know it, fundamentally change the shape of the labour market and lead to billions in redistributed wealth to the lowest paid subcontracted workers in the UK.

In November 2021, UVW union won a watershed legal victory against outsourcing at Royal Parks for indirect racial discrimination of their majority Black and brown park attendants and cleaners who were on less pay than in-house workers. Our landmark legal victory established that the charity’s policy to consciously choose to not pay them the London Living Wage, when their mainly white in-house employees were entitled to it, amounted to indirect race discrimination. 

The government, who are responsible for the Royal Parks, were so threatened by our victory, which could potentially dismantle the entire outsourcing system, they decided to intervene in the legal appeal process. The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, SoS, argued that UVW’s victory posed “a significant risk that the Employment Tribunal’s judgement will lead to a proliferation of “copycat” claims brought by outsourced workers.” But their crude attempt to exert political pressure on the judiciary against a small union representing disadvantaged workers fell flat on its face: the SoS’ application was refused by the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the appeal hearing took place without them.

Other groups of UVW outsourced workers, in poorer pay and conditions than directly employed ones –  including a group claim by 80 formerly outsourced cleaners at Great Ormond Street Hospital – are currently arguing the same through the courts. We hope this will open the floodgates to pay justice and equality for workers everywhere!

You can read the latest from our GOSH court case here >>

You can read about our 2021 watershed legal victory here >>

The ruling is expected in a couple of months. Stay tuned for updates!

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