Workers at the University of London will be holding a mass demonstration on Wednesday to demand that the London Living Wage be paid to all university workers. Students, lecturers and staff from universities across London will be joining the protest.
The demonstration will take place from 11.30am in the Senate House carpark (Russell Square side) and is expected to be attended by over a hundred workers and supporters. Labour MPs Frank Dobson and John McDonnell are both scheduled to speak.
Organised by UNISON with the workers concerned, and supported by UCU, London Citizens, and the National Union of Students, as well as many London-based NGOs and MPs, the Senate House London Living Wage and Sick Pay Campaign calls on the University of London to implement the full £8.30 wage, backdated to 1 September 2011, and introduce full sick pay for all workers. The cleaners are sub-contracted to Balfour Beatty Workplace, part of the multinational construction company which had a 32% rise in profits in 2010, while the caterers are employed by the massive US company Aramark, 189th on the Fortune 500 list.
The London Living Wage, supported by Mayor Boris Johnson, is an independently assessed wage which reflects the minimum required to live above the poverty line in London. The wage currently stands at £8.30 an hour, and is paid by all the surrounding colleges of the University of London, including SOAS, Birkbeck, LSE, and the Institute of Education. In contrast, the cleaners working for the central University are paid just £6.15 an hour, and receive no sick pay beyond the statutory minimum. University College London committed to paying the Living Wage to all employees after their unethical employment practices were exposed by the Evening Standard.