UCL students to protest against cleaners’ pay cuts

UCLU Trustees have disregarded the council’s motion to protect cleaners’ hours and wages

In March, UCLU’s council passed a vote stating that “cuts to the pay, hours, conditions or jobs” to outsourced workers “should not go ahead.” However, this democratic motion has been recently overturned by UCLU’s trustees.

The trustees have decided to reduce the cleaners shifts by one hour per day, which will overall represent a 30% reduction in wages. They felt that the union was paying for “cleaning that wasn’t required.”

Students are protesting against the Trustees decision on 21st April  at 11am in Gordon Square. Over 500 students have already signed a petition by campaign group Justice for Cleaners calling on the UCL trustees to respect “union democracy” and to protect the rights and well-being of the cleaners. They want the Trustees to explore different options for reducing costs, and to make their decisions openly and not behind “closed doors.”

For the past few years, UCLU has been operating at a deficit. The trustees job is to ensure that UCLU is financially stable, which means they are responsible for reducing the unions running costs. Justice for Cleaners argues the best way to reduce the cleaning bill is not to cut hours but to instead employ the cleaners directly – in fact, they state, this could halve the bill.

This change could also benefit many of the cleaners who claim that they are being paid below the London Living Wage (£9.75 per hour), against UCLU policy.

Students at KCL, LSE and SOAS are also campaigning with their cleaners “against exploitation and unfair treatment.”

UCL has been approached for comment.

Check out the UCL protest here.