Socialist Worker

Striking cleaners push on after their action wins concessions from LSE

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2556

Strikers marched from the picket line to the universitys office

Strikers marched from the picket line to the university's office (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Striking cleaners and their supporters rallied outside the LSE university in central London yesterday, Wendesday.

The 150-strong crowd marked the cleaners' fifth day of strikes for better sick pay, holiday pay and maternity and paternity pay. They currently receive the statutory minimum.

Petros Elia, general secretary of their union United Voices of the World (UVW) announced that the LSE had put forward a new deal earlier in the day.

"The LSE is crumbling," said Petros. "If the strikes continue we can win."

The university is now offering three months sick pay at full pay and another three months at half pay. Perhaps significantly, the cleaners' direct employer, outsourcing firm Noonan Services Group, was absent from the meeting.

The cleaners are upping the pace with a two-day strike next week, on Thursday and Friday.

"Striking works," striker Kinkena told Socialist Worker. "What happened last week taught management a lesson. I asked a manager why they had shifted, he said it was because of the noise and the impact the strike had."

Exams had to be cancelled last week because of the cacophony of chanting and vuvuzelas. On Wednesday cleaners led a march from the picket line to LSE's offices.

"Ten days ago the offer was 20 days of full sick pay, now their offer is three months," said Kinkena. "Without the strike we would not have got the offer. If you stay quiet, you get nothing."

The Unison union at the LSE had been negotiating with management on cleaners' behalf, despite more cleaners choosing UVW as their union. LSE and Noonan refused to acknowledge cleaners' choice of union until recently.

The deal Unison delivered pales in insignificance compared to the current one on the table. But cleaners aren't settling for the new management offer.

"It doesn't matter," said Kinkena, "we're sticking with this until we win."

Donate to the cleaners' strike fund at uvwunion.org.uk/justiceforlsecleaners

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