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Cleaners at LSE strike 15th & 16th March

This is a plea for support for my fellow cleaners at the prestigious London School of Economics University (LSE) who have taken the difficult and courageous decision to go on strike on 15th and 16th March 2017. 

They are demanding dignity and equality which the LSE and the cleaning contractor Noonan has long denied them. Many of the cleaners say they feel treated “second class” or “like the dirt they clean”.

This will be the first strike by outsourced staff in the 126 year history of the LSE. 

https://www.change.org/p/topshop-pay-your-cleaners-the-living-wage/u/19614497?utm_medium=email&utm_source=39511&utm_campaign=petition_update&sfmc_tk=9gxRtRXf581hmzmwkGim2TzyvOIDqUtls50d0b0eYlkVq9HSWvmQQ5T%2b3ED8ecwZ

 

All the cleaners at the LSE are either BME or migrants from as diverse countries such as Nigeria, Congo, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Jamaica, Ecuador and Colombia. 

Please support their strike by:

1) Donating to the strike fund https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/justiceforlsecleaners/ 

2) Writing to Julia Black (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), the interim director at the LSE, and telling her to stop making excuses and start making sure that the cleaners receive the same terms and conditions of employment as the rest of the LSE community.

3) Supporting the activities on the day - https://www.facebook.com/events/394689427570097/ 

BACKGROUND

They are going on strike because the LSE and their cleaning contractor Noonan have repeatedly refused to treat them with respect and dignity and refused to bring their basic terms and conditions of employment (sick pay, maternity pay, pensions and annual leave entitlement) in line with the rest of the LSE community. In other words, they have refused to treat them as equals. 

Ironically, the LSE claims to "bring together experts...to lead critical and cutting edge research to understand why inequalities are escalating in numerous arenas across the world, and to develop critical tools to address these challenges."

One might have hoped that with all those “experts” and the “cutting edge research” they undertake that they would have easily concluded that their very own employment and business practices are creating and perpetuating the very inequalities that they seek to understand and challenge.

Unfortunately, Andrew Young, the LSE's Chief Operating Officer, and Julia Black, the LSE's interim Director (who earns over £250,000 per year and presides over an institution which has an annual turnover of £300 million) think the cleaners demands are “unreasonable”. However, they have not, of course, explained why. 

After giving the LSE several opportunities over several months to agree to a reasonable timescale of implementation to their demands, the cleaners quite rightly decided that enough was enough and made the difficult decision to ask their union UVW to ballot them for strike action. The cleaners returned a historic 100% YES vote in favour of strike action. 

Instead of then sitting down to resolve this dispute the cleaning company Noonan, with the full knowledge and support of the LSE, actually started to try and bully and intimidate the cleaners, many of whom are bringing Tribunal claims against the LSE and Noonan on grounds of unfair dismissal, harassment, victimisation, and discrimination based on race, sex and sexual orientation, 

Do you not think that cleaners deserve respect, dignity and the same pension entitlements, number of paid sick days or paid holiday per year as everyone else at the LSE?