On Friday, 7th September 2018, the Goldsmiths College new Centre for Contemporary Art opened with a party and a demonstration outside calling for ‘Justice for Cleaners’.

Cleaners at Goldsmiths College, University of London in New Cross are not directly employed by the college but by ISS a big contractor. The group Justice for Cleaners handed out hundreds of leaflets explaining the issues: Goldsmiths Justice Cleaners leaflet j4c-info-sept18.

A petition by the UCU – University and College Union expressed the cleaners’ concerns as they are in fear of losing their jobs:

“Our colleagues who work as cleaners already face significantly worse working conditions than what we expect of Goldsmiths, as these workers are employed by ISS, a large multinational company that hold contracts at many universities, hospitals, public transport services and other businesses. Our colleagues receive no sick pay, no holiday pay, a lack of job security, and heavy workloads. On top of this, ISS is now proposing to

– Get rid of the 7-hour night shift, replacing it with a 4-hour evening shift;

– Get rid of the weekend morning shift, replacing it with an afternoon shift;

– Get rid of the early morning shift, replacing it with a longer mid-morning shift;

– Get rid of the waste day shift, replacing it with a 4-hour shift.”

Campaigners have reported bullying and anti-union intimidation towards the cleaners and called the demonstration in support of the cleaners. The key demands are to bring the cleaners back in house, to be directly employed by Goldsmiths and to end the restructuring for cleaning staff that worsens terms and conditions with a commitment to meaningful negotiations about the future.

In a letter to The Guardian academics have expressed concern about ethical and professional principles at Goldsmiths College and backed their cleaner staff colleagues.

The demonstration was supported by students, staff, Lewisham Momentum and Lewisham Trades Unions, including CWU, RMT and Unite.

25A692ED-C9D7-4083-AA34-650C075444C5Alan Hall, Chair, Unite Community Greenwich, Lewisham and Bexley said: “Cleaners are not the dirt they clean. They deserve to be paid properly and that’s why Goldsmiths College should bring them back in house.”

He went on to say:

“Acts of anti Trade Union intimidation, victimisation by the contractor ISS are unacceptable and should be condemned.”

Lewisham Trades Unions Council, the Trades Council, have issued a statement:


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