Bill Crane and Sai Englert report:
Cleaners at SOAS will strike tomorrow and Wednesday in an ongoing effort to be brought in-house. Currently the cleaners are employed by ISS, a services contractor which has engaged in a campaign of intimidation and union-busting against the predominantly Latin American cleaning workers to avert a strike. Having the cleaners employed by SOAS itself is both affordable and would allow them to receive benefits that the rest of the staff is entitled to.
The cleaners’ campaign at SOAS has been going on since 2006 and has resulted in several victories, including recognition of their representation by UNISON. Last month the cleaners voted 100% in favor of strike action in a ballot with 62% participation. Cleaners have participated alongside lecturers, fractional staff and students in the Democratise SOAS campaign in an effort to get their demands heard at a university, which despite its longstanding radical image, has one of the most unaccountable administrations of universities in Britain.
Picket lines will be taking place at SOAS’ Russell Square and Vernon Square campuses from 4 am until midnight on Tuesday. Many lecturers and tutors in UCU have cancelled or rescheduled their classes in solidarity. On Wednesday, the cleaners have asked students and staff to hold and attend class as normal but to take notice of the state of the buildings after two days of not being cleaned.
Please come out to the picket line tomorrow to show your support, and like Justice For Cleaners (J4C) on Facebook to receive update. You can also donate to the cleaners’ hardship fund at http://soas-justice-for-cleaners.tumblr.com
►“We are not from another planet”: Justice 4 Cleaners Campaign and the Struggle for Recognition : A conversation with SOAS cleaners ahead of their strike action, 4 – 5 March 2014 from Critical Legal Thinking