Police clash with UoL protesters in Russell Square

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University of London staff and students demonstrate as part of the ‘3 Cosas’ campaign.

 

On Thursday 24th of October a number of students and workers from the University of London convened around Russell Square to take part in a demonstration. These students were looking to continue their attempts to obtain better working conditions for the University’s lowest ranked employees.

This was only the latest development of the ‘3 Cosas’ (3 Things) campaign. This campaign is the combined effort of the University of London Union (ULU) and the University of London branch of the Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB). Their aim is to ensure that all workers under the University’s employ, especially those who are outsourced, receive sick pay, holidays and pensions. At the moment it appears that these outsourced workers, many of whom left their original countries in order to obtain better working conditions, are not receiving such benefits.

A year of negotiations trying to rectify this issue proved to be unsuccessful, with the University justifying their refusal to grant these terms by stating that ‘3 Cosas’ was not a “recognised trade union”. As a result of this, the campaign decided to launch a ‘Summer of Action’ resulting in a series of protests and publicity stunts, which provoked the university to place a ban on protests on campus.

Friday saw the campaign’s first protest of the new term, in which hundreds of workers and students of the University of London marched outside the Senate House Building, one of the key landmarks of the University, armed with banners and signs. In doing so, the protestors were defying the very ban that the campaign had brought into existence. It is suspected that the University staff, clearly alarmed by the protest going on outside the building, called the police, who arrived at the scene armed with tasers.

Daniel Cooper, the vice-president of ULU, described the University’s suspected phone call to the police as “yet another low point in the University’s pattern of disgraceful behaviour”. However, Cooper labelled the support shown for the cause as “magnificent”, with a number of students from all over the University of London combining with its workers.

Following the protest, it does not seem as though the University of London will receive much respite, with Daniel Cooper affirming: “We will continue to campaign, and we will continue to fight.” It also appears that the University will feel a vast increase in pressure from the ‘3 Cosas’ campaign throughout November, with even more protests being planned by ULU. There is even a threat that some University halls will be left empty for three days as part of an organised strike.

With further action right around the corner, Friday’s demonstration seems to be the first of many in the campaign’s most recent attempt to “escalate its pressure on the University”, and, following police intervention, it seems to be doing just that.

 

You can read previous Roar!  coverage on the ‘Summer of Action’ here: http://roarnews.co.uk/?p=3757

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