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:

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:

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:

You can view the IWGB’s full set of demands here and sign a letter in support of UCL security, catering and cleaning staff here.

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