PRESS RELEASE – Occupation of COFELY GDF – SUEZ Headquarters

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Occupation of COFELY GDF – SUEZ Headquarters as IWGB, the 3 “Cosas” Campaign and ULU escalate action with a programme of major protests and workers are balloting for strike action in the campaign to save jobs at University of London student halls of residence.

This morning students, union-members and community members occupied the head offices of COFELY GDF – Suez, one of the outsourcing company at the University of London, in protest against proposals to make 80 cleaners and support staff – mainly low-paid migrants and women – redundant.

The continuing and stubborn refusals of Cofely GDF-Suez, ARAMARK and the University of London to negotiate with the Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) trade union over the fate of around 80 jobs at the Garden Halls of Residence have forced the campaign groups to escalate the campaign.

The IWGB, 3 “Cosas” campaign and University of London Students’ Union plans a summer of disruption to the University of London’s economically lucrative conference season if the University, ARAMARK and Cofely do not agree to real and meaningful negotiations over the imminent job losses at the halls. Protests, stunts, demonstrations and potential strike action are planned and will continue to escalate until this dispute is resolved.

Moreover, strike action is currently being balloted for amongst workers at University of London who work for the outsourced companies, ARAMARK and COFELY. If approved, this will have a devastating impact on the running of the University, and in particular the halls of residence. The IWGB trade union is starting to raise funds for possible strikes. Contributions can be made here: https://3cosascampaign.wordpress.com/(right hand side of the website).

We wish to assure the organisers and guests of conferences hosted by the University that it is not you who are the target of these actions, but the University, which profits from your custom while planning to ruin the livelihoods of dozens of the cleaners, caterers and security staff who work at the halls. It is these workers clean the rooms, cook the meals, maintain the buildings and provide students and guests with the services they require.

If you are the organiser or guest at a conference over the coming months, please contact the Vice Chancellor of the University of London at vice-chancellor@london.ac.uk to ask him to negotiate with the IWGB on the basis of the following demands:

* a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies
* length of service be respected
* full and meaningful consultation with the IWGB
* the same wage levels for any workers transferred to contracts outside the UoL
* the same terms and conditions for any transferred workers

University of London Union, 3 “Cosas” Campaign and Independent Workers of Great Britain

21/5/2014

Contact: Contact: Daniel.cooper@ulu.lon.ac.uk or 07840136728

Twitter: @3CosasCampaign

NOTES FOR EDITORS

Full details of the 3 Cosas Campaign can be found on the campaign website: https://3cosascampaign.wordpress.com/about/

COFELY continues to consult with UNISON, despite the numerous shocking allegations made against the union in the Guardian newspaper, see the 24th March edition for more details:http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/mar/24/cost-private-contracts-universities-documents-services-workers

Over the last 18 months, the 3 “Cosas” Campaign and the IWGB have been able to mobilise hundreds of workers and students in protests against the University of London, including strikes in November 2013 and January 2014.

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