Monday, 29 November 2010

Guest Post:The UCL Occupation

On wednesday several hundred UCL students and supporters staged a sit in at the Jeremy Bentham Room of the university. We have voted to maintain an occupation with both local and national demands. Locally, against the role of UCL management for endorsing a tuition fees market. Nationally, against the coalition government's proposals for fees and savage cuts within higher education. 

As one of our demands we call for all staff on campus to be paid the full London Living Wage and awarded adequate sick pay, over-time pay, pension rights and other basic conditions- immediately. UCL Provost Malcom Grant recently agreed to begin paying the London Living Wage but with no commitment to approriate time frames- this is unnecessary and unacceptable. UCL can and must pay their LLW immediately. We are also calling for these workers to be brought back in-house- as they were employed directly back UCL only a few yars ago. Over the same time period as cleaners, security guards, and kitchen workers' wages and conditions have deteriorated(some almost by half), management salaries have exploded- the Provost alone seeing his salary grow by more than 100% in seven years. 

Nationally, we challenge the legitimacy of a coalition government which includes the Liberal Democrats, who pre-election pledge was to abolish tuition fees, to implement this agenda.

We note that the Coalition's agenda represents an irreversible shift in the nature of higher education- the inaugaration of a market and the commoditisation of knowledge and learning. 

The 79% cut of the higher education teaching budget, along with the elevation of tuition fees to £9000 per annum, constitutes the beginning of a process of privatisation and social exclusion within the university sector. The abolition of E.M.A. alone represents an attack on the poorest in society.

We reject the attempt to characterise these reforms as necessity- as the Higher Education Policy Institute note, these measures will likely increase public expenditure through this parliament and into the next as government initially funds a massive burden of personal debt. 

UCL occupation sends out a message of unity with all those fighting to save education across the country, and extend this to all those affected by coalition cuts. 

Please sign our petition at to give us your support.

Love and solidarity,

the UCL Occupation

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