LSE academic arrested during strike of university's cleaners

"A group of cleaners at the LSE are involved in their second day of strike action following a long running dispute over their pay and conditions."
"A group of cleaners at the LSE are involved in their second day of strike action following a long running dispute over their pay and conditions."
Natalie Bloomer By

An academic from the London School of Economics (LSE) was arrested yesterday during a protest over the treatment of the university's cleaning staff.

Lisa McKenzie, who is a research fellow at the LSE, said she was arrested and then released on bail until the 6th May.

The Metropolitan police confirmed that a 49 year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of common assault during the protest.

A group of cleaners at the LSE are involved in their second day of strike action following a long running dispute over their pay and conditions.

The university currently outsources its cleaning services to private firm Noonan, meaning that those cleaning the university are working under different terms to in-house staff.

The union representing the striking cleaners, United Voices of the World (UVW), are calling for the workers to receive the same sick pay, pension deal and maternity pay as those employed directly by the university.

Petros Elia, the general secretary of the UVW, said:

"The strike came about after months of trying to get management to take this seriously. The workers felt as if they were left with no choice but to take this action."

Last night a group of students occupied a university meeting room in support of the strike and UVW says that a number of LSE lecturers have been down to speak on the picket line.

The co-leader of the Green party Jonathan Bartley also showed his support for the cleaners, when he joined them outside the LSE earlier today.

A spokesperson for the LSE said:

"The cleaning staff at LSE have access to recognised trade union representation through Unison, which has a successful track record in campaigning for its members. Unison, LSE and Noonan recently signed a formal partnership to discuss and resolve the cleaners' concerns. This partnership provides Noonan staff with a dedicated forum where they can directly raise requests with their employer.

"Contrary to some reports, Noonan staff at LSE receive, at least, the London Living Wage, the same hourly rate as equivalent staff employed directly by LSE. This has been the case for a number of years.

"The decision by UVW to initiate industrial action is disappointing, especially considering cleaners and recognised trade union representatives are still engaged in constructive negotiations."

Natalie Bloomer is a journalist for Politics.co.uk. You can follow her on Twitter here.

The opinions in politics.co.uk's Comment and Analysis section are those of the author and are no reflection of the views of the website or its owners.

 

 

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