by Bhadra Sreejith, News Editor
LSE cleaners who are members of the United Voices of the World union have returned a 100% yes vote for strike action. The strike dates are 15th and 16th March. This will be the first strike by outsourced staff in the 126 year history of the LSE.
The LSE outsources cleaning to Noonan, an Irish firm who provide ‘strategic outsourcing solutions’ to the LSE. The cleaners are employed on inferior terms, without the same employment rights and entitlements that directly employed LSE staff enjoy. The cleaners, all of whom are migrants and/or black and minority ethnic, are often subjected to poor treatment and harsh disciplinary proceedings. They are demanding equal sick pay, annual leave, and pensions on par with what is enjoyed by workers employed directly by the LSE.
Andrew Young, the Chief Operating Officer, made a statement on the LSE website saying “It should be said that the sense of injustice felt by a number of the cleaners is something we are taking very seriously and the School will be giving proper thought to the issues raised that are directly within our control. However, many of the concerns raised relate to the terms and conditions of Noonan as an employer and we cannot directly interfere with such matters. We think it would be a shame for cleaners to be dragged into strike action so quickly when there has been no legitimate attempt at dialogue through appropriate channels.”
A UGM motion held on February 16, on whether the LSESU should support the Justice for Cleaners campaign, did not reach quoracy.