Tuesday, 16 June 2009

SOAS occupies in solidarity with victimised cleaners

Students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), in central London, are occupying university offices in defence of the SOAS cleaners persecuted for their recent successful strikes demanding a living wage.
I gather the students have today been threatened with eviction, and in the last couple of hours there's been a solidarity demonstration outside SOAS. The student action was prompted by the extraordinary actions of SOAS management colluding with the immigration authorities. No less than 40 immigration officers are reported to have been involved in an operation - at 6.30am on Friday - to detain 9 of the cleaners, 5 of whom have apparently now been deported.
The protests and direct action of the last few days are about defending low paid migrant workers and standing up for the right of unions to organise. The cleaners - and the occupying students who back them - have received messages of support from far and wide, including from Green MEP Jean Lambert, Respect MP George Galloway and the Labour leftwinger John McDonnell.
Trade unionists, including in the lecturers' UCU and the cleaners' own union Unison, have also rallied solidarity extremely quickly. There's more info about this on-going struggle at Solomon's Mindfield, The Sauce and Counter Fire.


  1. "I gather, I gather" - I hope you are not doubting as a source sunshine!

  2. Perish the thought, Brendan. I am reliably informed that you are a 'proper journalist', so there can surely be no doubting the veracity of your information!