Last week the UCL Union took the unwarranted decision to close their food and drinks outlets in order to respect ‘International Workers Day’ on the 1st May. This has already disadvantaged many students busy on campus with revising for the stressful exam period and seems even more bizarre when one considers that there is already a bank holiday in May for this very reason.
As a result of this closure, which was decided upon without the input of the students that the union claims to represent, a number of students have banded together to run a coffee and cake stall on campus – outside of the closed cafes. The stall is being funded completely through donations and all proceeds are going to the excellent Macmillan Cancer Research charity. These efforts have attracted support from local businesses and they have even received the coffee needed as a donation from Starbucks.
Predictably, the Union have responded to this effort by attacking those running the stall for undermining worker’s struggles and, by accepting the Starbucks donation, for endorsing workers’ rights abuses. The extraordinary attack on on-campus charity activity concludes that those running the stall are ‘scabbing,’ a pejorative term for those that undermine workers. This disgraceful attack by the Union has been met with understandable contempt by its members, who plan to flock to the stall in the absence of tomorrow’s closures regardless.
You can read the Union’s statement here: uclu.org/blogs/edwin-clifford-coupe/international-workers-day-starbucks
Orignally published by Campus Reform UK on 30th April.