10.03.2022 / Press releases /

Landmark ruling expected as St George’s security guards take university to tribunal over a claim of racist outsourcing

  • Security guards at St George’s, University of London are challenging what they claim is racist outsourcing in a hearing at the London (South) Employment Tribunal next week
  • The Black and brown outsourced workers say they are being racially discriminated against because they are on worse terms and conditions than their majority-white in-house colleagues
  • They argue that St George’s controls and maintains a two-tier system of pay and conditions, which sees them get less sick pay and annual leave, much lower pension contributions and no extra pay for working unsociable hours
  • United Voices of the World (UVW), the security guards’ trade union, who are bringing this case, recently won a similar watershed case against Royal Parks, where a tribunal ruled last November their inferior pay amounted to indirect race discrimination.

Key information: Darboh and Others v St George’s, University of London, listed from 14-17 March 2022 at the London (South) Employment Tribunal, Montague Court, 101 London Road, Croydon, London CR0 2RF

A group UVW members are taking St George’s, University of London (SGUL) to an Employment Tribunal, seeking to end an outsourcing arrangement, which the union believes is racist. These workers are a group of Black and brown outsourced security guards who are bringing claims of indirect race discrimination on the basis that they are employed on inferior terms and conditions to their majority-white in-house colleagues. 

Compared to SGUL staff, the outsourced security guards only get three weeks sick pay rather than six months, two weeks less annual leave, three per cent instead of 16 per cent pension contribution, and no extra pay for working unsociable hours. They argue that St George’s controls and maintains this two-tier system of pay and conditions. They want to be brought in-house on the same terms and conditions as the rest of the mostly white staff. 

Last December, UVW won a ground-breaking court case where an Employment Tribunal ruled that outsourced Royal Park attendants’ lower pay was unlawful because it amounted to indirect race discrimination. 

A large group of cleaners and security guards at Great Ormond Street Hospital have also launched similar Tribunal claims. The GOSH security guards are currently on a six-week strike against racist outsourcing.

These unprecedented UVW legal challenges and victories against the scourge of outsourcing are chipping away at the unfair two-tier system of racist employment. There are over three million outsourced workers in the UK who could potentially benefit from these legal precedents.

Cetin Avsar, security guard for St George’s and UVW member, said:

“All we want is to be treated fairly. We don’t want anything that we don’t deserve. Everybody deserves to be treated equally, with respect and this is what we are fighting for. But when you look at St George’s Hospital, it’s ethnic minorities, Black and brown workers who are disadvantaged in this situation, and this leads us to believe that this institution is racist. We feel that we have a very strong case against SGUL and this is the reason we have decided to take the case to a Tribunal. We all believe that the Tribunal will hear the evidence and see that what SGUL are doing is immoral and unlawful. UVW’s legal victory against Royal Parks, has set a precedent unmasking racist outsourcing which can’t be ignored.”

Finnian Clarke, employment tribunal caseworker for UVW, said:

“This case has potentially huge ramifications for outsourcing across the public sector and beyond. It hopes to make legally clear what we have known for a long time: that outsourcing tends to reinforce and worsen pre-existing racial disparities and drives down working conditions. It also could have a transformative effect on indirect discrimination law, allowing Black, brown and migrant workers to claim that those employed elsewhere in the organisation are unfairly given better pay and conditions, as women in Equal Pay claims such as Enderby have been able to do for years. We believe this could be the beginning of the end of outsourcing in public institutions, having won a similar challenge in Antwi v Royal Parks, and with more cases currently underway against Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Ministry of Justice.”

For further information contact the UVW comms team.

Jim: 07749 765264
Isabel: 07706987443


Notes for editors

UVW’s previous press releases about the fight against outsourcing at St George’s:

UVW is an anti-racist, member-led, direct action, campaigning trade union and we exist to support and empower the most vulnerable groups of precarious, low-paid and predominantly Black, brown and migrant workers in the UK. We fight the bosses through direct action on the streets and through the courts and demand that all members receive at least the London Living Wage, full pay, sick pay, dignity, equality and respect.


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