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Revealed: University of London spent £415,000 on security during student protests

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The University of London has admitted to spending at least £415,000 on extra security during a series of protests and sit-ins in support of striking outsourced workers on its campus.

A freedom of information request revealed that during a student protest in support of outsourced workers between the 19th to 28th March, the university spent £99,690 to hire additional security guards.

The security is believed to have been in place until May. While the University said it could not confirm the figures for May 2018, it admitted the £415,000 figure for March and April alone.

General Secretary at the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain, Jason Moyer-Lee, said:

“It’s an absolute disgrace that the University of London would spend hundreds of thousands of pounds turning itself into a prison rather than agree to the reasonable demand of its outsourced workers to be treated fairly, equally and with respect.”

The IWGB has been organising outsourced workers' strikes as part of a campaign demanding for the University to end outsourcing, abolish zero-hours contracts and implement pay rises.

The additional security has increased tensions and caused several incidents between student protesters and hired security staff.

Students participating in the 10-day sit-in were locked into a confined space with no access to food, water or toilets. The University of London staff were caught on camera drilling bolts onto the emergency exit and locking students inside the Chancellor's Hall at Senate House.

Subsequently, when University of London students attempted to stage a second sit-in on 24 April in support of an outsourced workers' strike they were physically and sexually assaulted by a temporary security guard.

The University of London has since decided to bring outsourced workers back in-house over the next few years, although campaigners have criticised the length of time it is proposing and demand that the workers are brought in-house within the next 12 months. More protests are set for June.

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