The following letter was published in The Guardian on Tuesday 14 July.
No place for toxic companies in our universities
We write as staff at Goldsmiths, University of London, in support of our cleaning colleagues, and their union Unison, who are campaigning to be brought in-house (The cleaners who won fair wages, 18 July). Currently outsourced to ISS, our cleaners already face unacceptable working conditions, receiving no sick pay, holiday pay or pension entitlement.
ISS is now imposing a restructure that will only entrench the existence of a two-tier workforce. In testimonials collected by Unison, cleaning staff expressed fears of losing their homes, having to miss meals in order to feed their families, and being forced to choose between unmanageable childcare costs or leaving their children home alone. Women in particular said the prospect of new shifts ending after midnight made them anxious for their safety as they have to travel long distances to get to work. Despite this, ISS is pushing ahead with these changes.
We consider the work of our cleaning colleagues to be as valuable as any other form of work that takes place in the university. The treatment of cleaning staff by ISS completely contradicts the ethical and professional principles that Goldsmiths stands for.
The university’s three-year contract with ISS is due to end in November and we are pressing senior management to prioritise the cleaners’ calls to be brought back in-house.
Cleaning staff “are not the dirt they clean” as the LSE cleaners campaign put it, and they deserve respect and employment parity. If neither of these are delivered, we are fully prepared to stand with our colleagues in their campaign for justice and to drive such toxic companies out of our universities.
Jason Hickel Lecturer in anthropology, Henrike Donner Senior lecturer in anthropology, Simon Griffiths Senior lecturer in politics, Emma JacksonSenior lecturer in sociology, Elizabeth Evans Senior lecturer in politics, Sanjay Seth Professor of politics, Sally Alexander Emeritus professor, Department of history, Jon K Shaw Lecturer in visual cultures, Naomi Thompson Lecturer in youth and community work, Marina Vishmidt Lecturer in cultural studies, Dept of Media and Communications, John Wadsworth Senior lecturer in early childhood education, Dept of Educational Studies, Suhail Malik Reader in critical studies, Department of Art, Susan Kelly Senior lecturer, fine art, Department of Art, Michael Guggenheim Reader in sociology, Roberto Mozzachiodi Associate lecturer, media and communications, Sasha Litvintseva Associate lecturer, media and communications, Peter ReesAssociate lecturer, politics, Milly Williamson Media communications and cultural studies, Rehana Zaman Lecturer, fine art, Department of Art Frederic F Leymarie Professor of computing, Annie Goh associate lecturer, media and communications, Adnan Madani Lecturer in visual cultures, Anna GrantLecturer, Department of Educational Studies, Abigail Shinn Lecturer, English and comparative literature, Stella Harvey Senior lecturer in English for academic purposes, Richard Smith Senior lecturer, media and communications, Maggie Pitfield Senior lecturer, Department of Educational Studies, Vincent Moystad Postgraduate coordinator, Department of Media and Communications, Michael Newman Professor of art writing, Jennifer GabrysProfessor of sociology, Vik Loveday Lecturer in sociology, Christopher LawAssociate lecturer, English and comparative literature, Gholam KhiabanyReader in media and communications, William Gaver Professor of design,Rebecca Fiebrink Senior lecturer, computing, Sara Ewing Lecturer, English for academic purposes, Bonamy Oliver Senior lecturer, Department of Psychology,Nicole Wolf Senior lecturer, visual cultures, Yari Lanci PhD candidate, sociology, Andy Freeman Lecturer, maths and computing, Andy BoucherSenior lecturer, design, Natalie Fenton Professor of Media and Communications, Sophie Corser Associate Lecturer, English and Comparative Literature, Frances Wilson Lecturer, English and Comparative Literature,Ceiren Bell Lecturer, Media and Communications, Des Freedman Professor, Media and Communications, Tassia Kobylinska Lecturer, Media and Communications, Conrad Moriarty-Cole Associate Lecturer, Media and Communications, Nikolaus Perneczky, Assistant Lecturer, Media and Communications, Ian Hunt, Lecturer, Fine Art, Pat Caplan, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Jan de Fockert, Professor of Psychology, Alexander Coupe, Associate Lecturer, Theatre and Performance, Evelyn Ruppert, Professor, Sociology, Tom Henderson, Associate Lecturer, Media and Communications, Rajyashree Pandey, Reader in Politics, Matthew Fuller, Professor of Cultural Studies, James Ewers, Lecturer, Music, Sue Mayo, Lecturer, Theatre and Performance, Richard Hull, Programme Director, MA Social Entrepreneurship, Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh PHD researcher, Art department, Matt Ward, Head of Department, Design, Mirca Madianou, Reader, Media and Communications, June Melody, Department of Media and Communications, Viola Eidenbenz, Lecturer in the English Language Centre, Marianne Franklin, Professor of Global Media and Politics, Jeremy Larkins, Lecturer in International Politics, Neda Genova, PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies, Gary Riley-Jones, Senior Lecturer, English Language Centre, Daniel Ross, Associate Lecturer, Music, Kirsten Campbell, Sociology, Anastasia Stouraiti, History, Gavin Weston, Lecturer in Anthropology, Jon Martyn, Lecturer in Art Psychotherapy, John Reardon, Artist in residence Politics Department, Mark Taylor, Social Work Lecturer, Lucy Clout, Lecturer, Fine Art, Thomas Hoagy Dunnell, Art, Chloe Nast, Research Administrator, Sociology, Lesley Morris, Lecturer in Art Psychotherapy, Aleksandar Brkic, Lecturer in Arts Management and Cultural Policy, Peter Roberts, E-learning systems manager, Teaching & Learning Innovation Centre, Kate Scappaticci, Lecturer, Department of Educational Studies, Astrid Schmetterling, Senior Lecturer in Visual Cultures, Mick Grierson, Professor, Computing, Rory Cheal, Media and Communications, Simon Deacon, Department of Music, Isaac Marrero Guillamon, Lecturer in Anthropology, Jose van Velzen, Reader in Psychology, Frances Renton, IT Services, Cheryl Deedman, History, Aeron Davis, Professor Political Communication, Andolie Marguerite, Lecturer, Dan Strutt, Lecturer Media and Communications, Dimitris Exarchos, Associate Lecturer Music, Dejan Djokic, Professor of History, Marjorie Mayo, Emeritus professor of Community Development, Katherine Robinson, Lecturer, Sociology, Kat Jungnickel, Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Andrew Kingham, Senior Lecturer, Media and Communications, Michael Zbyszynski, Lecturer, Computing, Daniel Fraser, History, Nick Bell,Media and Communications, Philip Palmer, Senior Lecturer, Media and Communications, Adam Morby, Politics, Joe Newman, Lecturer, Music, Louis Busby, Post Doc, Computing, Charlotte Joy, Lecturer in Anthropology, Richard MacDonald, Senior Lecturer, Media & Communications, Corinna Talbot, Media and Communications, Catherine Grant, Lecturer, Art, Sean Cubitt, Professor, Media and Communications, Janna Graham, Lecturer Visual Cultures, Mohammad Majid al-Rifaie, Lecturer, Computing, Jorella Andrews, Visual Cultures, Sara Farris, Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Pauline von Hellermann, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, Daisy Asquith, Convenor, Screen, Documentary, James Curran, Professor of Communications, Len Platt, Professor of Modern Literatures, Educational Studies, Louise Chambers, Lecturer, Media and Communications, Mike Waller Professor of Design, Clea Bourne, Senior Lecturer, Media and Communications, Vana Goblot, Lecturer, Media and Communications, Dave Watson, Media and Communications, Edgar Schmitz, Art, Francisca Grommé, Postdoctoral Researcher, Sociology, Nigel Bristow, Convenor, MA Directing Fiction, Toby Austin Locke, Associate Lecturer in Anthropology