University of London promises to end zero-hour contracts by the end of this year
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After a month-long campaign by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) and their student supporters, the University of London has promised to end zero-hours contracts by Autumn 2018. The announcement was made in a letter by the University management, which was received by the IWGB and read out by IWGB General Secretary Dr James Moyer-Lee (in English) and another IWGB leader in Spanish. The University pledged to bring "some services" in-house within 12 months, and end zero-hours contracts by the end of summer 2018. However, the University warned that this would bring "logistical, contractual and financial risk," and therefore it would not commit to "unrealistic and undeliverable timeframes." The letter cited the costs incurred by student occupations and disruptions as a reason for their concession. The University also claimed that while increased security provision had prevented 5 additional occupations at the cost of "over £400,000", the student occupation on 5th June 2018 happened because of a relaxation of security measures, and it would thus consider increasing the level of security again, which would "inevitably impact the University's budget". Speaking at the demonstration, Dr Moyer-Lee said: "I think the takeaway message is, we're making progress, they've clearly understood that 12 months is the limit, but we need to keep pushing because they still haven't given us exactly what we need." The demonstration involved students from various universities, IWGB members and members of other trade unions, including representatives from various University and College Union branches. Students who had been occupying Senate House left the occupation to join the demonstration. There was increased security at Senate House, with guards wearing Cordant uniforms massing within the building as protesters demonstrated outside the metal-barred entrances. The atmosphere was jubilant, with protesters dancing to music and drums, and one protester even bringing their dog to the demonstration.
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