Wages not wine: King’s Living wage compaign protest

Jack Stewart and Akshay Karia 26 January 2014

Supporters of the King's Living Wage Campaign braved the rain today, to gather in opposition to revelations that the college spent £50,000 on free wine for fellows in the year 2012-2013 but pays over 100 staff under the living wage. They met at 12.45pm, and stayed outside the King’s gates for approximately 30 minutes.

After a last minute time change (which was, according to an email sent to students of the college, in order to increase media coverage), roughly 50 people gathered in front of the college, holding placards and chanting the slogan "wages not wine". Some placards read "our college not your business" and sought to remind the college that the money spent on free wine could cover the costs of the living wage for all staff, estimated at £40,000.

Speaking to The Cambridge Student earlier this week, Keith Carne (the First Bursar) explained that “the council at King’s is looking into salary levels.” Pending approval by the college’s governing body, changes will be incorporated “in the budget for 2014-15.”

Amongst the protestors was Chris Clarkson, a porter at King’s who has previously spoken at length about the importance of the living wage.

When two students were asked about why they came, they answered simply "social justice". One joked that the college had scheduled the poor weather to undermine the protest.

A member of the campaign assured TCS that if they did not succeed, more similar events and 'pressure' would follow.

King's College Student Union last night debated the issue of official support for this demonstration, shortly before moving on to the more controversial debate over the image of a Soviet flag hanging in the bar.