VICTORY TO LSE CLEANERS!
UVW is proud to announce that the LSE cleaners will be BROUGHT IN-HOUSE and become employees of the LSE from Spring 2018! This will ensure they get, among other things, 41 days annual leave, 6 months full pay sick pay and 6 months half pay sick pay, plus proper employer pension contributions of up to 13% of their salary.
This is the most significant victory for any group of workers in UK higher education today, and will hopefully set a precedent to follow for other degraded outsourced workers across the country.
This announcement comes on the back of an awe-inspiring 10 month battle for dignity and equality waged by the cleaners, through their union UVW which represents the near entirety of the unionised cleaners on the LSE campus.
This dispute saw the largest number of cleaners – all of whom are migrant and BAME workers and most of whom had never been unionised before - in UK history strike from a single workplace, and saw the the cleaners take 7 days of strike action in total, with 3 more pledged for the LSE's student graduation days in July. There were also several protests and two occupations through the course of this dispute.
The cleaners were heavily supported by the student led Justice for LSE Cleaners Campaign and the wider trade union movement. Support from people such as Owen Jones, who refused to cross the cleaners' picket line, was also crucial in bringing pressure to bear in support of the cleaners actions.
We are particularly gratified that the new UNISON branch secretary wrote to UVW to congratulate us and the cleaners on the success of our campaign.
This victory is yet another vindication of the power of organised workers and the importance of collective action, including strike action, in winning dignity and equality at work.
Thank you to everyone who gave their support by joining our rallies and actions, and donating to the strike fund.
Our members will be meeting in the near future to vote on the details of the deal and, in particular, the transitory offer of enhanced T&Cs until the move in-house takes place.
Powerful montage of UVW's cleaners strikes at the LSE https://www.facebook.com/uvwunion/videos/1412830192118549/
Keep an eye on our facebook page for regular updates.
For decades now cleaners at the London School of Economics (LSE) have felt invisible, excluded from the LSE community and treated as if they were second class, or as some of them have said, "third class or no class" and even "like the dirt they clean."
Despite an annual turnover over £300 million, the LSE chooses to save money off its cleaners’ backs by outsourcing them to private, profit-hungry contractors, currently Noonan.
The cleaners are employed on inferior terms, without the same employment rights and entitlements that directly employed LSE staff enjoy, a situation that ultimately results in even greater profit for Noonan.
On top of this the cleaners, all of whom are migrants and/or black and minority ethnic, are often subjected to poor treatment and harsh disciplinary proceedings.
They have finally had enough and have joined UVW to demand dignity, respect and parity of pay and terms and conditions of employment with in-house staff.
The LSE have already met one of the cleaners' demands - backdating the London Living Wage to 1st December 2016. However, the LSE continues to deny them parity of terms with other LSE staff and the treat them with dignity and respect.
Here are the differences between what the cleaners get and what in-house staff get:
- Cleaners receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). This means for the first 3 days they are off work due to ill health they receive nothing and from the 4th consecutive day they get just £88.45 per week. Cleaners are therefore constrained to work when sick and jeopardise their health or exacerbate an injury as they cannot afford to miss work.
- In-house receive occupational sick pay which, after 5 years of service, entitles them to receive their full salary for 6 months and half their salary for 6 months a year if they are unable to work due to ill health.
Maternity/paternity/adoption leave pay:
- Cleaners get statutory maternity/paternity/adoption leave pay. Statutory Maternity/Adoption Pay is 90% of their salary for the first 6 weeks then £139.58 per week for the next 33 weeks. Statutory Paternity Pay is £139.58 per week for two weeks.
- In-house staff get 18 weeks of their salary paid in full for maternity and adoption pay and 10 days of their salary paid in full for paternity pay.
- Cleaners get 28 days paid annual leave including bank holidays.
- In-house get up to 40 days paid annual lave including bank holidays and university closures.
- Cleaners get a 1% contribution from their employer.
- In-house get up to 16% contribution from their employer.
The cleaners are also demanding:
- A reduction in workloads which are excessive and cause psychological and physical distress.
- A review of disciplinary procedures which are too often invoked and often based on trivial and poorly investigated complaints.
- The reinstatement of Alba Pasmino who was unfairly and unlawfully sacked after 12 years at the LSE.