University of London staff were filmed drilling bolts onto the Chancellor's Hall at Senate House and locking students in after they dropped a banner from the window.
In a video posted online
, students can be heard asking whether they are being locked in whilst another voice is heard saying, "what you're doing right now is illegal, I hope you know that Mr Smith."
A University of London staff can be seen drilling bolts onto the door whilst he holds the lock in his mouth.
At 2 pm today, students left the reception space in the basement of UoL Senate House in order to drop a banner from the window of the Chancellor's Hall on the 1st floor.
Speaking to TNS, a spokesperson for Justice for University of London Workers
told us that students were locked in for an hour. They have been occupying Senate House since Monday evening in support of fair pay for UoL workers.
"At this point two of the three doors in the room were locked. They entered through an emergency exit which had been left open and was accessible from the reception area that they had been in."
Ten minutes later, Cordant security staff entered the Chancellor's Hall with a Cordant manager through the same emergency exit as the students.
"At 2:20, under instructions of the Cordant manager, UoL handymen secured the emergency exit in the room by drilling bolts into the fire door and securing it with a lock."
Students were locked in the room for one hour with no access to food, water or toilet facilities. No attempt was made by the staff to speak to student protesters.
"At 3:20, after a member of staff at UoL went to complain to the reception and duty-managers about fire safety risks and with concerns about false imprisonment, the main doors to the room were unlocked. After conversations with outraged students, the managers then agreed to also remove the drilled-in locks on the emergency exit and let the students out."
According to their post, the students had no access to food, water or toilet facilities.
"In the event of an emergency, we will not be able to leave the building safely.
"This is a disproportionately aggressive response on the part of UoL and is putting students who are peacefully protesting under unnecessary risks."
Speaking to TNS, a student who wants to remain anonymous told us that the situation felt unsafe:
"We entered Chancellor’s Hall through an unlocked door to drop a banner, then I began to shout messages of support for proper conditions for workers. As we were peacefully occupying the space, I was shocked when that door, the marked fire escape, had a lock nailed to it from the other side without explanation.
"The situation felt incredibly unsafe and entrapping as every available door was locked to us."
A spokesperson for UoL said:
"The University of London confirms that some areas of Senate House, a public building for the most part, have been occupied since late monday afternoon by students. To secure the building we have been putting additional measures in place.
"The areas occupied by the protestors all have security personnel in place and the students have been advised that exit routes from the building are open at all times."