Socialist Worker

Birkbeck campaign wins a living wage

by Luke Stobart and Julia Rapkin
Issue No. 2144

Staff and students at Birkbeck College in central London celebrated a victory over poverty pay for cleaning and catering staff last week.

After two years of campaigning, college governors voted to improve pay for the mostly migrant workers.

The workers – employed by private contractors Ocean and Sodexo – will be paid the London Living Wage rate of £7.45 per hour, a 35 percent increase from the national minimum of £5.73.

This result is all the more significant as it was achieved in the face of a financial crisis.

The mature students’ evening university is losing 38 percent of its teaching funding as a result of government cuts.

Our campaign has collected hundreds of signatures and held two successful protest rallies.

Activists will continue to push for more for the workers and we are now planning a May Day demonstration alongside several other central London universities.

Luke is Birkbeck students’ union executive officer and Julia is a Unison member at Birkbeck. They write in a personal capacity


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