Monday, 15 June 2009

Messages of support

Please dd more to the comment section below. Thanks for your support

Solidarity Greetings from Glasgow University Socialist Worker Student Society!!

Defend the SOAS Cleaners!!

Keep Immigration Officers off our Campuses!!

Stay strong and don't let the bastards beat you.


Well done for occupying. Keep up the fight.
Simon in Bristol


  1. Brothers & Sisters,

    Please accept my heartfelt best wishes for you in your current struggle, and I salute your courage. Experience informs all workers around the world that if we let employers dictate the conditions of our lives by sacking or persecuting us then the only really successful fight back will come about if we the workers stand together and say NO to sackings or redundancies. Your struggle is another model for others to draw strength from and the supporters you have in your fight are acting as true trade unionists should do. I have passed the details of your fight to the Justice for Cleaners Branch Committee of UNITE and I have asked them to support your struggle also.

    It will be hard but as workers we know what happens to us and our families when we do nothing – so keep the occupation going and if I might suggest when you contact potential supporters make sure you explain what it is you need and ask them to deliver, money, placards, people, letters of support or whatever.

    All the best

    Andy Gilchrist

  2. We're doing all we can to raise support here in Scarborough, we are all there in spirit, you have our wholehearted support!
    KEEP IT UP!!!!!!
    Tessa Hughes,
    Scarborough Sixth Form

  3. Just want to say you've got the support of UNISON members at Leeds Teaching Hospitals. This brave action is a brilliant and courageous act of solidarity with the victimised cleaners and an example for all of us to follow. I wish you good luck in the struggle and I will make sure the occupation and the struggle of Stalin and the other cleaners is raised at UNISON Conference this week.

    Mark Boothroyd - Workers Power
    UNISON Rep
    Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust

  4. London Greens condemn raid

    This just emphasises how spineless and cowardly SOAS management acted on this occasion! OK, clearly not an easy position to be in when the immigration raid was announced to them on Thursday but there was SO SO much more they could have done to make it clear that they do not agree with the raid and did as much as they legally could to prevent it/make it more difficult.

    Hey Webley - how about showing some courage for a change and standing up for what you know is right?!

  5. The actions of SOAS in the case of the deported and arrested cleaners is extremely disappointing, if only because it should not be surprising to them that a contractor such as ISS should use such dirty tactics against its own employees.

    Having said that, there does seem to be some confusion within this excellent campaign between what is a legal and what is an ethical requirement. The claim being made that, because capital travels freely, so should labour, is an argument for the abolition of the nation state and, while it is an argument that should be had, it is an ineffective basis on which to call for the return of the deported cleaners.

    While it is a very good and ethical demand for a 'living' wage to paid to cleaners who face poverty if restricted to the legal minimum, it is a purely legal question whether they are allowed to work in the first place and this campaign risks confusing the issues.

    It seems much more effective to use the law as it already stands to highlight the hypocrisy of companies such as ISS who, as Ken Loach points out, are happy to employ illegal immigrant labour as long as they don't complain about their poverty wages. This needs to be explained to people very clearly.

    This is doubly important since the highly visible and active campaign on the part of SOAS and other unions for a living wage appears, unfortunately, to have contributed indirectly to the deportations.

    The government amended the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act (2006) to allow for the prosecution of EMPLOYERS who knowingly employ illegally immigrant labour.

    I would urge members of this campaign to focus on this one particular aspect of the case as it would seem, prima facie obvious that, if ISS were able to herd their employees into a room before calling the immigration police on them, they must have known that their employees were illegal immigrants. If this can be proved, the bosses of ISS will face a large fine or imprisonment.

    Although this will not immediately solve the problem of the deported cleaners at the very least this will help to spread the burden of risk faced by those who take advantage of illegally immigrant labour. At the moment the vulnerable workers take the brunt of the risk while the bosses, such as ISS, get off scot-free, which cannot be right. This seems a more sensible way to proceed rather than making lists of impossible demands which are easy to reject as unreasonable.

  6. 100% solidarity!

    Freedom of Movement & Equality for All!

    of No Borders South Wales

  7. Solidarity Statement on the SOAS Cleaners

    We are writing to express our solidarity with the SOAS cleaners who were forcibly detained by the Immigration and Border Police at the School on 12 June, and to denounce the School authorities for facilitating this outrageous assault on a vulnerable group of migrant workers who dared to fight back.

    Many of us are former and current PhD students and staff at SOAS or affiliated with SOAS, researching and teaching in the field of Development Studies.

    We note that the SOAS cleaners were one of the first groups of university cleaners to win union recognition in a notoriously exploitative industry that runs on cheap labour drawn from the poorest parts of the planet, and believe that the SOAS immigration raid was intended to intimidate other agency workers struggling for the right of union representation and decent living conditions. That this should happen on the premises of a British university is shameful enough. But it is a total disgrace that the raid took place at an institution actively recruiting students from around the world on the basis of its reputation as a leading centre for the study of global justice, human rights and racial tolerance.

    We note too that this raid came at a time when the government is forcing university teachers to spy on the immigration status of their students and colleagues, effectively turning us into an arm of the UK Borders Agency. SOAS should be actively resisting the Government’s racist immigration policy, not using the most brutal side of it to enforce labour discipline. Clearly a section of the SOAS management cannot escape the School’s colonial past.

    We finally note that the aggressive outsourcing strategy, which allowed a company like ISS to take over the School’s cleaning functions, is a consequence of the wider marketisation of Higher Education that has turned students into ‘consumers’, academic research into an exercise in market competition, and junior academics into low-paid, casualised and insecure teaching fodder. We therefore see the SOAS cleaner’s fight as our fight and stand shoulder to shoulder with them.

    We demand that the deportations are halted, the affected cleaners reinstated, cleaning and all other outsourced functions bought back in house, and the SOAS managers responsible for this vicious attack on union and immigrant rights, which has left an indelible stain on the whole School’s reputation, dismissed.

    Gavin Capps, Former PhD student, SOAS and HMWDRS (Historical Materialism World Development Research Seminar Group)
    Ben Selwyn, Lecturer, Sussex University and HMWDRS
    Alessandra Mezzadri, Lecturer, SOAS and HMWDRS
    Satoshi Miyamura, Lecturer, SOAS and HMWDRS
    Liam Campling, PhD Candidate, SOAS and HMWDRS
    Demet Dinler, Teaching Fellow, SOAS and HMWDRS

    Graham Dyer, Lecturer, SOAS
    David Seddon, Former Lecturer at SOAS, currently Professorial Fellow at the UEA
    Saurabh Gupta, Teaching Fellow, SOAS
    Saloni Gupta, Teaching Fellow, SOAS
    Dave Rampton, Teaching Fellow, SOAS
    Tony Kahane, Teaching Fellow, SOAS
    Giuseppe Caruso, Teaching Fellow, SOAS
    Gonzalo Pozo-Martin, Teaching Fellow, SOAS
    Peter Thomas, Editor, Historical Materialism, SOAS
    Sebastian Budgen, Editor, Historical Materialism, SOAS
    Antigoni Memou, Editor, Historical Materialism, SOAS
    Robert Knox, Editor, Historical Materialism, SOAS
    Alf Nilsen, Lecturer, University of Bergen
    Patrick Bond, Senior Professor, University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Development Studies, Durban, South Africa
    Caroline O’Reilly, Former SOAS student, Johannesburg
    Leo Zeilig, Lecturer, Former SOAS student, University of Witswatersrand, South Africa
    Miles Larmer, Lecturer, University of Sheffield
    Peter Dwyer, Ruskin College, Oxford

  8. Comrades -

    I am writing to express my complete solidarity with your action. At my university (Sheffield), our Palestine solidarity occupation was one of the only occupations nationally to include solidarity with university workers in our main platform/demands; we believe that students and university workers share fundamental common interests in the struggle to win democratic control of our education and workplaces. Your action is therefore an extremely positive development in terms of building campaigning unity and solidarity between students and workers.

    It is also particularly inspiring and important at a time when organised racists are in ascendance in British politics; your action takes a stand for the idea that no worker, regardless of their formal immigration status, is "illegal", and for the idea that if capital and commodities are free to travel the globe unrestricted, then the workers who produce them should be similarly free.

    The National Union of Students Trustee Board is a body which I imagine that most of your activists will have as hostile an attitude to as I do; however, if you think there is any way I can use my position on the Board to help your struggle, please let me know.

    In solidarity -

    Daniel Randall,
    Workers' Liberty, Education Not for Sale & NUS Trustee Board (pc)

  9. Comrades,

    We wholeheartedly support your occupation in protest against the ongoing attack on migrant workers at the School of School of Oriental and African Studies.

    The complicity of SOAS management in the detention and deportation of 9 cleaners is a disgrace and we support you in your struggle against these measures. It is clear that this move is a direct reaction to the recent successful attempts of migrant workers to organise themselves within a trade union, demand fairer working conditions and a living wage. We call on SOAS to meet the demands of the workers, reinstate and compensate those who have been detained and deported, and to reinstate Jose Stalin Bermudez, the SOAS UNISON Branch Chair.

    In solidarity,

    Lambeth Activists

  10. In solidarity with your struggle


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  12. In solidarity with the cleaners who face deportation by Britain's racist immigration system.

    On behalf of Revolutionary Communist Group, London

  13. This government needs to listen to the people and show compassion instead of siting in their glass houses of corruption throwing stones at the poor.