Unison members working for outsourced cleaning company ISS at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) have again been on strike today. The strikers, many of them migrant workers are demanding the same terms and conditions such as sick pay and other benefits enjoyed by in-house workers. They and their supporters are also calling for them to be brought in-house and work for SOAS directly. This is the 3rd day of strike action after a two day strike two weeks ago. The workers received tremendous support from college workers, students and other trade unionists who attended the picket line and the lunchtime strike rally.
Kevin Courtney NUT Deputy General Secretary spoke at the rally recounting that his mother was a cleaner at Pontypridd Polytechnic (now University of Glamorgan) and how workers have been lied to about privatisation, “they say it is to make services more efficient but it only means low wages and other attacks on workers.” Teachers in the NUT are taking national strike action next Wednesday. BFAWU bakers union President Ian Hodson also gave his union’s support and spoke how the solidarity of full-time workers in the strike at the Hovis factory in Wigan last year won jobs for agency workers on zero-hour contracts. Other speakers also spoke about this week’s strikes involving Unison’s Doncaster care workers and GMB members at Ealing Hospital.