How does a respectable institution such as the University of London become a place of abuse and humiliation? A legal battle could transform workers’ rightsThe University of London ranks among the grandest and most renowned higher education institutions, and it sports values to match: “that every member of staff is treated with dignity … at work”; “equality of opportunity … in which individuals are treated equitably”; “diversity, social inclusion and respect”.
I have been reporting on the university for four years, during which time I have met a fair number of its workers. They include a grandmother, Marta Luna, employed as a cleaner at a Bloomsbury student hall, where the supervisor instructed her and her colleagues to throw their coats and bags in one giant box on the floor. Lunch was eaten in the laundry room. At the end of each shift, she remembered, “it was like a jumble sale”. Picture your grandma, kneeling in front of strangers to reclaim her own handbag.
Outsourcing – typically justified as being cheaper and more efficient – breeds economic apartheid