For updates: http://freesoascleaners.blogspot.com/
Open Letter to the Independant, Observer and Sunday Times
FWD by: Joseph Healy, Green Party Trade Unions Group
We are appalled at the actions of the immigration services, who with the aid of facilities contractors ISS conducted an early morning raid of SOAS recently. Nine cleaners were accused of working without valid documentation and are now being held pending their likely deportation from the UK.Neither the contractors nor the university authorities had any problem with employing migrant labour with or without valid work permits so long as lecture theatres were cleaned at low rates and ISS were making sufficient profits.
The crime these mainly Latin American workers seem to have committed is to have campaigned for, and won, the London Living Wage and their union rights. In fact ISS had signed a union recognition agreement with Unison last week. Unison members struck solidly last month in protest at the sacking of cleaner and union activist Jose Stalin Bermudez.
Evidence suggests that SOAS Management colluded with ISS and the immigration services to allow this shameful episode to happen and we believe that the raid took place to send a message to other groups of workers who may have been encouraged by the success of the Living Wage campaigns.We demand an amnesty for all migrant workers in Britain.
Signed by (incl):Tony Benn, Jeremy Corbyn MP, John McDonnell MP, Sandy Nicholl SOAS UNISON, Graham Dyer SOAS UNISON, Marya Ahmed SOAS Co-PresidentElly James SOAS Women’s Officer, Clare Solomon Former SOAS Co-President, James Haywood NUS, Matheson NUS NEC,Pat Carmody CWU P&B Section Secretary
There will be a demo at the main steps of SOAS tomorrow (Monday) at 8.30am, protesting against the arrest and impending deportation of 9 SOAS staff.