We believe that the cleaners of our university are a vital part of this community. Birkbeck relies on the good functioning of offices and a clean environment in order to continue our research and education.
For this reason, we are deeply concerned by the current proposal for offices to be cleaned every other day, instead of on a daily basis. This change would be of serious
detriment to the lives of the cleaners, and also to the working conditions of staff and students.
The cleaners already work without proper pensions, sick pay or holiday pay and, while the college pays the London Living Wage, this is still a low wage, at £8.55/hour. The contractor, Ocean, have proposed to cut 15 minutes from the working day of every cleaner. As most of the cleaners work at Birkbeck for 2 hours/day (while holding down 2 or 3 other jobs), this amounts to a 12.5% wage cut.
Furthermore, Birkbeck have attempted to implement this change without staff or students having been consulted about its effects. If Birkbeck is to attain its mission of being a world-class research and teaching institution, then it is imperative that we have the best environment in which to work and study.
For this reason, we call on Birkbeck management to show that everyone in the university is a respected part of the community here, and to either direct Ocean not to cut the hours, or to make up the difference in pay themselves.