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Wed 14 October 2009, The Guardian

London colleges and the living wage

You extol the academic excellence of University College London after its inclusion in a recent "top five" of leading educational institutions ( In praise of… , 10 October). But there is another side to UCL. As with many other organisations, UCL has outsourced its cleaning, catering and other ancillary services. As elsewhere in London, the workforce consists largely of migrant workers, with a large proportion paid the minimum wage of £5.80 an hour – £1.80 less than the most recent estimate of £7.60 for the London living wage . In early September, UCL's cleaning contractor, O&G, summarily dismissed one of its employees, Juan Carlos Piedra Benitez, an Ecuadorean national and member of the union Unite , who has been active in its Justice for Cleaners campaign. He believes he was sacked for his trade union activities.
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