Maintenance and estates’ workers at The University of Cambridge, one of the UK’s wealthiest institutions, will hold a second protest on Friday (26 November) over plans to outsource up to 50 of their jobs to private companies.

The staff, members of Unite the union, have voted overwhelmingly in a consultative ballot to hold a full scale industrial action ballot over proposals that, if implemented by 1 April next year, would be a serious attack on their pensions, HR standards and their status as university employees.

The rally will be held at the Senate House in Cambridge’s King’s Parade at 12.00 on Friday (26 November) and follows the first protest on 12 November which was attended by Cambridge’s MP Daniel Zeichner.

Since then the university authorities have opened talks with Unite and agreed to shelve any outsourcing plans this side of Christmas. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “While we welcome talks with the university, Unite remains firmly committed to supporting our members and won’t stand by and watch their pay, employment terms and pensions salami sliced in an entirely misguided outsourcing deal. 

“It continues to be unacceptable that university bosses have been systematically under-investing in estates and maintenance for a number of years and then decide outsourcing is the answer to current issues - it is not.

“The feelings of our members were graphically demonstrated this week when in a consultative ballot they voted overwhelmingly to hold an industrial action ballot, if the university does not change its position.”   

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Ian Maidlow said: “The university has shown some flexibility and agreed to dialogue in recent days. This is a positive first step, however it needs to go much further. We will have no hesitation in moving to a full industrial action ballot, including the option to strike, early in 2022, if that is what is required.”

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers' living standards.


Notes to editors:

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Unite is the leading union in the UK and Ireland, dedicated to defending and improving members' jobs, pay and conditions. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.