Cleaners at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London are to lobby the School’s governing body meeting on 4th July, demanding to be brought back in-house. The protest will take place at 1pm outside the main SOAS building.
The cleaners, members of Unison, are currently outsourced, employed by multinational contractor ISS, and are entitled to worse sick pay and pensions than other workers at the School. SOAS staff also get 50% more annual leave than those working for ISS.
The slogan used by the Justice 4 Cleaners (J4C) campaign is “One Workplace – One Workforce,” highlighting the two-tier system of working conditions which outsourcing is designed to create.
Maria Perez, a SOAS cleaner, said:
“I’m suffering from a condition in my legs that limits my mobility while in treatment. Many times I have been unable to work but I could not stop working because I need to feed and take care of my children. Failure to work means I cannot cover basic costs. This situation is affecting me emotionally and I ask myself how such injustice can take place?”
J4C was set up in 2007 and won the London Living Wage the following year. They have also won union recognition.
SOAS cleaners have been fighting alongside cleaners at Birkbeck, who won the London Living Wage but subsequently had their hours cut, and outsourced workers at the University of London who have launched the ‘3 Cosas’ Campaign demanding sick pay, holidays, and pensions. The 3 Cosas campaigning is currently running a Summer of Action including protests and publicity stunts, the next of which will be held outside Senate House in Bloomsbury on 17th July at 1pm.
Sonia Chura, Vice-chair of the IWGB union branch at the University of London, said:
“These are rights that any worker, anywhere in the world, deserves.”
So far, an online campaign hosted by the trade union campaigning website LabourStart has generated over 1,400 messages to the heads of SOAS, Birkbeck, and the Universty of London in support of the workers.
4th July protest Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/
SOAS Justice 4 Cleaners Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/
3 Cosas Campaign website: https://sites.google.com/site/
3 Cosas Campaign Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/3coca
The Multicultural Politic is Stephen Fry proof thanks to caching by WP Super Cache