Socialist Worker

Soas students occupy director's office

Issue No. 2155

Students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas) in central London have occupied the director's offices at the university in protest at the detention and deportation of nine cleaners.

Immigration officials detained the cleaners after an early morning raid on Friday of last week. At least five have already been deported—some to Colombia, which has a brutal track record of targeting trade unionists.

The raid followed successful campaigns at Soas to win union recognition for the cleaners and the London Living Wage.

Up to 40 people are involved in the occupation. They have issued several demands to the Soas directorate.

These include the immediate release of the detainees who remain in Britain, to campaign for the return of the cleaners who have already been deported, to bring all contract workers in-house and stop the use of contractors to run services, and to stop immigration officers from coming onto the campus.

The scale of protests in support of the cleaners will be piling the pressure on Soas management – and we need to increase it.

There is an emergency protest at 4.30pm at the steps of Soas, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square.

Trade unionists, students and campaigning groups should take their banners to make sure that Soas management cannot stand by and do nothing while workers are deported.

Send messages of support for the occupation to and messages of protest to college director Paul Webley at

See video of the occupation on YouTube »

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Article information

Mon 15 Jun 2009, 13:32 BST
Issue No. 2155
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