70 cleaners and other outsourced workers at LSE demanded dignified treatment, parity of pay & terms of employment with in-house staff


THE crime scene

The London School of Economics is located in the City of Westminster. Admission is highly competitive, and alumni include George Soros, David Rockefeller, 18 Nobel Prize winners, 53 past/present heads of state, and 46 current Lords of Parliament. No other university outside of the U.S. and India has educated more billionaires.

The campaign

Alba, a cleaner at LSE for over a decade, was unfairly dismissed after rising ranks to Supervisor and then Office Administrator. UVW had already fought to reinstate three of her colleagues, and now sought justice for dozens of cleaners outsourced by LSE to Noonan Services, owned by a ruthless "vulture" investment firm. Strikes began in late 2016, highlighting the stark disparities (in sick pay, paid leave, maternity pay and pensions) between outsourced and in-house staff, who also wore different uniforms. David Lammy and Caroline Lucas (MPs) lent support with an Early Day Motion!

solidarity and energy win "in-house" victory

The cleaners found their cause widely supported across campus, with the student-led Justice for LSE Cleaners and slogan "We Are Not The Dirt We Clean" resonating with everyone who witnessed the seven days of strike from March to June. The striking cleaners, mostly migrant and BME, often had other cleaning commitments outside of LSE, but many others came to show solidarity. The last strike days coincided with year-end examinations, and featured flashmobs, salsa, zumba, poetry, art sessions, teach-outs, and... eventually, after 10 months of struggle, all cleaners were promised in-house LSE jobs!

Special thanks to the Fire Brigade Union, Owen Jones, SOAS Samba, and Feminist Fightback

Relive the LSE campaign in multimedia!

This campaign was reported in the Guardian (25th May 2017), Jacobin (17th May 2017), Novara (16th March 2017) and LSE's blog (14th November 2016)