Students have occupied Senate House, a University of London (UoL) common facility and research area, in order to demand that cleaners and outsourced workers be brought back in-house. Since the occupation began yesterday, protesters, who have blocked off access to a staircase in the basement, have accused management of attempting to intimidate and threaten students .
Cordant Services, who manage UoL’s outsourced cleaners, have been monitoring the occupation. Lee Smith, from Cordant, told the protesters them that there were no workers at University of London who were on zero hours contracts, although students pointed out that this is demonstrably not true.
Students allege that Smith also yelled “out, out” at a cleaner who had come into the clean the toilets during the occupation, and that he used a megaphone at night to disturb occupiers, stating, “if I can’t sleep, you can’t sleep”.
The campaign group, Justice for University of London Workers, published a video this morning appearing to show members of UoL’s senior management attempting to gain access to the blocked off parts of the building via the staircase. The group alleges that a senior manager began to push students out of the way of the staircase, who then blocked a door.
One of the students said, “Please don’t touch me,” as one of the members of senior management attempted to open the door. The video shows that an individual in a grey sweater identified as the finance manager by the group then asks a student filming, “do you want me to break it?”, before seizing the phone & appearing to throw it in a bin.
// OCCUPATION UPDATE // MANAGEMENT TRY TO GAIN ACCESS TO OCCUPATION, LAY HANDS ON STUDENTS AND THROW PHONE IN BIN //At 10:45 this morning, members of University of London's senior management attempted to gain access to the occupation via the blocked staircase.A senior manager started forcefully pushing students on the stairway using his knees.Having been cleared off the stairs, the students sat in the doorway. At this point, the senior manager laid hands on one student preparing to drag him out of the way.When the student asked him, “Please don’t touch me”, the senior manager realised this would be assault and let go.The finance manager then opted instead to try to bludgeon the student out of the way by grabbing the door handle and yanking the door into his back.At this point we came to help and started filming, but the finance manager retaliated: as he left, he stole the phone of the student filming, threatening him “do you want me to break it?”, and eventually throwing the phone in a bin as he walked out, from which it was retrieved.We are disgusted by the University of London management’s continued and childish attempts to bully students.Does UoL condone this behaviour? If not, does UoL plan to take appropriate action against this member of senior management?We demand a meeting with University of London management and an answer to our demands.In the light of these actions by a senior manager, we expect a prompt response from the senior management team about how the action they will be taking to prevent further bullying and harassment of student protestors.// THE OCCUPATION CONTINUES // STUDENTS AND WORKERS UNITE AND FIGHT //
Posted by Justice for University of London Workers on Tuesday, March 20, 2018
A statement from Justice for University of London Workers released says ,”We are disgusted by the University of London management’s continued and childish attempts to bully students. Does UoL condone this behavior? If not, does UoL plan to take appropriate action against this member of senior management?
“We demand a meeting with University of London management and an answer to our demands. In the light of these actions by a senior manager, we expect a prompt response from the senior management team about how the action they will be taking to prevent further bullying and harassment of student protesters.”
Since the incident this morning, no further attempts have been made by management to contact the students in the occupation.
University of London have not responded to LS’ requests for comment.