SOAS staff to strike against cuts

Support workers at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) have voted overwhelmingly to take action to save jobs

UNISON members at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London have voted to strike later this month, after management announced plans to make 35 catering, cleaning, security and student support workers redundant.

Cleaning hours at the school are to be slashed because of cost-cutting plans – just as students return. That creates a COVID-19 timebomb, says UNISON.

Strikes will take place on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 September. In addition, from Thursday 24 September and for the duration of the dispute, staff will also refuse to work overtime and will work to rule.

UNISON SOAS branch secretary Sandy Nicoll said: “Staff and students will be hit hard by the plans. Services will be cut, livelihoods lost and safety compromised in a misguided drive to cut costs.

“The government needs to step in and fill the funding gap. It’s perverse that hard-working staff are expected to pay the price for years of inadequate higher education support.”

Socially distanced pickets will be outside SOAS Russell Square campus at 10 Thornhaugh Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0XG from 5am-3pm on 22 and 23 September.