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Scuffles on the picket line as security guards strike

Row over pay of staff contracted out to a private firm by University of London

28 April, 2017 — By Thomas McMahon

Security guards clashed with staff bought in to replace them during strike action 

THERE were conga lines, dancing and a bit of a scuffle on the picket line this week as university security guards launched a two-day strike.

The industrial action at Senate House was by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), demanding a pay rise to £12 per hour and an end to zero-hours contracts.

University of London guards, who are employed by contractor Cordant, attempted on Tuesday to occupy the main building in Malet Street, Bloomsbury, but were blocked by workers brought in to replace them.

One of the strikers was “clothes-lined” during the fracas, according to IWGB spokesman Emiliano Mellino.

Picket line at Senate House 

The union’s general secretary Dr Jason Moyer Lee blamed the university for the scuffle, claiming they “shirked all responsibility for the problem they created and left it to their incompetent contractors to heavy-handedly manhandle their workers”.

The IWGB celebrated a “high turnout”.

On the picket line, Omar Toryalae, a university security guard for the past 10 years, suggested that replacement staff drafted in by Cordant posed a safety risk. “They haven’t been trained on-site, they don’t know the evacuation procedures,” he claimed.

The company said it could not provide a statement on the strike by the time the West End Extra went to press.

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