Students in London are joining university cleaners in solidarity over calls for better support and fairer working conditions for migrant workers on campus.
Cleaning staff from King’s College London (KCL) have taken strike action this term in protest over “poor working conditions”.
Cleaning services at the university are outsourced to Servest, a company which unions argue does not have insurance to cover accidents in the workplace, and do not pay cleaners extra if they have to take on additional work as a result of colleague sickness.
Staff members are asking for an immediate increase in staffing hours to reflect the amount of work needed to clean the university, and for the introduction of a cover staff policy to ensure absences are appropriately covered.
According to the KCL branch of Unison, 98 per cent of balloted members agreed to go on strike at the university. They were not paid on the strike days, however students set up a gofundme campaign to help compensate for lost earnings.
Eleanor Osborne, who set up the campaign, said the situation had reached “breaking point”.
In a statement she said: “How can we explain that in a university that is ranked consistently in the top twenty in the world for Medicine, we are endorsing working conditions that cause long-term health issues for the people who work tirelessly to provide us with the appropriate conditions to study?”
Students and staff from the university joined the protests, and last week set up a petition calling for a reassessment from the university.