A security guard threatened with dismissal because of having previously led a strike against outsourcing is seeking an injunction today in what is claimed to be an unprecedented action.
As reported last week on the Justice Gap, at the start of the year Cetin Avsar and six fellow security guards at the University of London went on strike. They were employed by an outsourcing company and demanded to be treated on an equal footing with colleagues working directly for the university. After lockdown they walked out for a second time over concerns that working practices were not Covid-secure. Last month Cetin decided to leave the university for good only to find out that his new boss is trying to dismiss him for having been involved with the strike.
- You can read about his case here and it appeared as part of a Justice Gap series about the plight of migrant workers during the pandemic.
There will be an injunction hearing this morning to determine with the security contractor Wilson James should be made to end their suspension of Cetin Avsar who recently started working at the biomedical research centre the Francis Crick Institute in Kings Cross, London which is at the forefront of the UK’s scientific response to Covid-19. Wilson James appears to have taken issue with his trade union’s characterisation of outsourcing as ‘antiquated and discriminatory’.
In their suspension letter, they say that owing to his strike earlier in the year there was ‘a conflict of interest between your opinion and work with the union which lead to your protesting, and your employment with Wilson James.’ ‘I have done nothing wrong,’ says Cetin. ‘They are breaching my human rights and I will not stand for it.’
His union United Voice for the World reckons that the case could be unprecedented for such an injunction to be enforced for a low paid worker.
‘All we ask for is to be treated equally and with respect. We’re there looking after everyone, day and night while people are at home and being paid. The building could not operate without us.’