KCL members have water thrown at them during peaceful protest

It was during a protest by King’s cleaners

This afternoon, students and staff gathered outside Strand for the second protest against contractor Servest.

Halfway through, members directed their protest to the Strand building after water was thrown from the third floor.

It isn’t known by the Tab whether this was a deliberate attack against the protestors from students within the buildings or an accident, but perhaps was the catalyst for the events that followed.

The protest turned sour when a few members went inside the King’s building but were blocked by security, which led to a confrontation outside of the swinging doors.

Protest organiser, Colin Inniss, reminded security that this was a peaceful protest.

King’s cleaners are in dispute with their contractor for unfair workloads, lack of staff cover and shortage of cleaning equipment and uniform.

On their page, Unison wrote: “Servest’s contract does not end in 2017 but a decision will be taken in January by King’s as to whether it will be renewed in August; our members want Servest out of King’s.”

On 12th December, members given ballot for industrial action – 90 per cent of participants voted in favour.

A spokesperson from King’s said: “During a peaceful but noisy protest outside the Strand Building today by Unison members, King’s cleaning staff and supporters, water was tipped over protesters twice by someone from inside the Strand Building.

“We are investigating the incident. During the protest a small group of people entered the reception, one with a drum.

“Security staff who were in reception monitoring the event asked the protestors for King’s ID and the two who provided this were allowed to remain inside.

“Others were ushered out of the reception and asked to continue any protest outside the building to prevent disruption to the reception area.

“Our cleaners play a critical role in the operation of the university and we value their service. This was recognised in the employment terms, which King’s ensured contractor Servest included in its employees’ contracts at the start of our working relationship.

“These included paying the London Living Wage, full-time hours for the majority of staff and employing people who live locally.

“We are extremely concerned to hear complaints from Servest staff about their working conditions.

“We are investigating the claims which have been reported to us, as we take the wellbeing of every member of staff at King’s very seriously.

“We have also been in talks with Servest management and the union to support the resolution of the issues between Servest and its staff.”