SOAS students vs management and the police
SOAS students’ Union has started a campaign for a more democratic management structure. There’s plans to have an open staff-student meeting on Feb 9th to kick off the debate on how exactly they’re going to go about it and exactly what they’re going to be calling for. About the fallout from Bloomsbury Social Centre eviction – people are concerned about the eviction and the fact that counter-terrorism police were involved with the monitoring of the building. Concerned as in, rather pissed off. They also passed a “no cops on campus” policy in response to the imposition last week of a police checkpoint near our Vernon Square campus, supposedly checking tax discs and driving licenses, but with the very blatant presence of UKBA officers and clear racial profiling in the choice of drivers pulled over.
UCL computing staff fight restructuring
UCL bosses intervene in student vote
Library shelvers look forward to wage increase
Shelvers in Senate House Library should soon be brought into line with the rest of University of London, and receive the London Living Wage. This is as a result of the Agency Workers Regulations, which came into effect on 1st October 2011, and which stipulate that ‘temporary agency workers are entitled, after a qualifying period of 12 weeks, to equal basic terms and conditions of employment’. This would mean paying the shelvers in SHL, currently employed via the Step Ahead agency, at least £8.30 an hour, as opposed to the minimum wage, as at the moment. This is of course great news, especially if it is done by bringing them in-house, but care must be taken to ensure that the library adheres to the LLW agreement made by the rest of the University, namely that increased wages would not be funded out of reduced hours.
Birkbeck staff plan for next day of strike action
Following on from the UCU National Executive Committee’s decision to go for another strike on 1 March, the Birkbeck UCU Branch will be meeting on Monday 31 January to discuss next steps in the campaign. The picket line during the last strike day on 30 November was the largest and most militant at Birkbeck that anyone can remember. Hopefully we can match that on 1st March.
Birkbeck get in bed with City fat cats
Birkbeck management’s love-in with the neo-liberals continues apace. Amongst the new fellows appointed is one Richard Agutter, former partner in City accountants KPMG. They have a history of involvement in allegations of tax fraud in both the UK and USA, including links to the Bernie Madoff scandal. Agutter’s specialisation at KPMG was in privatisation and he is now a governor of Birkbeck. Why a privatiser from a firm knee-deep in the financial crisis is being lauded by Birkbeck management is anyone’s guess.
Student activists monitored by terror police
Number of rough sleepers soars as benefit cuts loom
The soup kitchen behind the American Church on Tottenham Court Road is now regularly serving more than 100 people each day. This is more than three times the number of people they were feeding last year. There is a noticable number of new people sleeping rough on the streets around Goodge Street with many others having to move out of the area due to rising rents. The housing benefit caps will exacerbate the housing problem in Fitzroviawhere most people live in rented housing and have been here for decades. Yet for homeowners the price of housing continues to rise with house and flat prices obtaining up to £1,500 per square foot. A terraced house on Tottenham Street just came on the market for an asking price of £3.15 million.
Local residents fight for social housing
On Thursday 2 February Westminster City Council will make a decision on planning permission for the redevelopment of the former Middlesex Hospital site on Mortimer Street. Campaigners have objected to plans saying the 9 to 11 storey building is too high and does not deliver enough affordable housing. The Council is likely to demand some more affordable housing, but a nearby primary school are unlikely to have their calls for a reduction in height of the building answered. 130 parents petitioned the council saying the building would cast a shadow over the children’s playground which is the only play space that the children have in a dense urban environment.
Disabled activists shut down Oxford Street
On Saturday 28 January around 200 people joined disabled activists and UK Uncut in a protest that brought part of Oxford Circus to a standstill. The protest was in opposition to the Welfare Reform Bill currently moving through Parliament which could mean £4.5bn cuts to welfare. But UK Uncut say tax avoidance costs the country a staggering £25bn. READ MORE >>>
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