Certain UCL cleaning staff are not being provided with masks or gloves
The UCL Independent Workers Union of Great Britain issued a set of demands to UCL yesterday.
On March 17th, the twitter page for the UCL Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) highlighted UCL’s cleaning and security subcontracters (Axis and Sodexo) failure to address the Covid-19 crisis.
According to the page Security Staff at the Institute of Child Health and Institute of Neurology have not been provided with face masks or disposable gloves. While they have been provided with hand sanitiser, such supplies have not been sufficient.
Cleaners at the Insitute of Education have not been provided with masks and have been waiting for handsanitiser supplies for the past week.
Main campus cleaners have been provided with masks, however these are of poor quality. According to UCL IWGB this has been reported to the appropriate line managers yet requests have been ignored.
Alongside this, the sites have not been visited by a management staff member to cover health and safety protecal and carry out a risk assessment for the staff in order to assess their needs.
Although Sodexo managerial and office staff at UCl have started to work remotely, cleaners remain working on site. Sodexo has failed to issue guidelines to inform staff of the current situation.
UCL-UCU reiterated these concerns, tweeting that:
Not single member of management team has visited sites to give guidance
Sodexo hasn’t sent a single message informing staff of current situation & measures being taken to protect them – & issued no guidelines
Sodexo (and @UCL) have effectively abandoned outsourced workers
— UCL-UCU (@UCL_UCU) March 17, 2020
UCL Justice for Workers displayed similar fustration at the situation, making it clear that those working in blue-collar professions are being disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 Crisis:
This is what precarious work during a pandemic looks like.
— UCL Justice for Workers (@uclj4w) March 17, 2020
UCL IWGB have written to UCL demanding immediate action be taken, threatening to notify the Health and Safety Executive of these issues and initiate legal proceedings under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act if UCL fails to do so.
Earlier today The University of London IWBG agreed to put forward a series of demands to UCL, in support of the demands sent out by UCL IWBG yesterday:
🚨IWGB-UoL demands during the COVID-19 crisis🚨
In light of the worsening Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, and taking into account the serious failures of @ucl to ensure the health and safety of outsourced staff, @iwgbuol has agreed to put forward a series of demands pic.twitter.com/7BYWRzub2C
— UCL-End Outsourcing!✊ (@iwgbucl) March 18, 2020
A UCL spokesperson said: “UCL, along with our contractors Axis, Sodexo and Aramark, makes the safety of all those working on site its highest priority and are are closely following Public Health England (PHE) guidance. This is that all staff must regularly wash their hands with soap and hot water for a minimum of 20 seconds. Sanitizing hand gel is provided for staff who may not have immediate access to handwashing facilities.
“Public Health England (PHE) has not advised that face masks are necessary or other personal protective equipment (PPE) is required. Our contractors are continuing to review the situation and will act swiftly should PHE advice change. Both contractors have conducted risk assessments for all activities on site and these are being kept under regular review.”
Featured image credit (before edits): Verne Ho on Unsplash