Socialist Worker

Victory for striking cleaners at Soas

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2399

The cleaners picket line during one of last months strikes

The cleaners' picket line during one of last month's strikes (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Migrant cleaners at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas) have won improved holidays, sick pay and pensions from outsourcing giant ISS.

The Unison union members struck for three days last month and were preparing further industrial action when the new offer was made.

Workers voted to accept the deal yesterday, Wednesday. It gives them up to seven extra holidays a year, sick pay from day one of their employment and access to an improved company pension.

It brings them a great deal closer to their goal of equal conditions to workers employed directly by Soas.

Their strikes caused massive disruption and forced ISS bosses to change their position. They received solidarity from other trade unionists which helped maintain and strengthen the dispute.

Soas Unison branch secretary Sandy Nicol told Socialist Worker, “We moved ISS from claiming there would be no offer to an offer that goes some way to meeting the demands of our cleaners.

“It was only as a consequence of their fantastic fighting spirit and organisation. But it still leaves them far short of the equality that my branch believes that they are entitled to.

“The battle will go on until they achieve their right, which is to be treated like every other worker at Soas.”

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