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STUDENTS at the University of London (UoL) were locked in by staff yesterday after entering a room to perform a banner-drop as part of an ongoing occupation.
UoL Occupation posted a video on social media showing staff members sealing the protesters in the Senate House hall using an electric screwdriver.
— UOL Occupation (@OccupyUoL) March 21, 2018
Activists had got in via an emergency exit to display a banner from the window to raise awareness of their demands.
The university staff did not respond to the protesters while placing padlocks on the doors.
A UoL Occupation statement said: “This is a disproportionately aggressive response on the part of UoL and is putting students who are peacefully protesting under unnecessary risks.”
The management unlocked the main doors and emergency exit about an hour later. A university representative confirmed to the Star that the students were out.
Campaigners are protesting to demand secure hours for staff, an end to outsourcing and zero-hour contracts and for workers to be given the pay rise they were promised in 2012.
Most of the staff are on low wages, with some having to work 70-plus hours per week to get by.
Students are also calling on UoL senior management to stand against the USS pension scheme, against which UCU members were on strike last week.
A UoL Occupation spokeswoman told the Star that a member of the group called the fire brigade which, in turn, got in touch with the building’s front desk.
“I demanded a response from the head of security, who came to remove the padlocks,” she said, but none was given.
“This has made us a lot stronger. We are more than ever prepared to keep the space and to continue with the occupation.”
She said the incident had not deterred the members of the occupation. “At the end of the day, this is about the workers.”
University of London has not responded to demands of the occupiers, resulting in the escalation of protests.
The University of London Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) tweeted: “It appears that @UoLondon would rather lock students up without food, water, toilet facilities or fire escapes than treat its #outsourced workers fairly!”
Campaigners say that they will continue their occupation until the management takes their demands seriously.
The university made no comment.
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