Justice For Cleaners Staff Petition

The following petition signed by 285 staff members at Goldsmiths was sent to college management on Friday 27 July 2018. We await a response. (You can still add your name here)

Justice For Cleaners Staff Petition

As staff of Goldsmiths College we oppose the impromptu changes that have been made to cleaning staff contracts by outsourcing company ISS and show solidarity to the Justice For Cleaners Campaign to bring Goldsmiths’ cleaning staff in-house. We believe that workers should be treated with respect and consider the work of cleaners to be as valuable as any other form of work that takes place in the university. Without cleaners there would be no knowledge production. Without cleaners there would be no fee payments. The treatment of cleaning staff by ISS, a company renowned for its unscrupulous treatment of its employees, completely contradicts the ethical and professional principles for which Goldsmiths College stands.

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;

These changes which involved no consultation will have a huge impact on the workers involved, many of whom may not be able to accommodate the changes in shift times and look to lose a substantial amount of income as a result. Many have caring responsibilities, have other employment and live far away from campus. Workers are now facing the prospect of shifts that end in the middle of the night, at a time when transport options are limited and when some, particularly the women staff, feel unsafe travelling home alone. Here is a link to some testimonials from the cleaning staff about the restructuring: https://goldsmithsucu.org/2018/06/12/cleaners-testimonies-cutting-down-on-shopping-wMattould-mean-one-meal-a-day-bring-our-cleaning-staff-back-in-house-now/

Cleaning staff report that they fear losing their homes, having to miss meals in order to feed their families and being unable to manage the additional child care costs that will be involved.

This restructure is part of a wider issue at Goldsmiths. The use of outsourcing has led to a two-tier workforce. While most of us employed in academic and administrative roles at Goldsmiths are employed directly by the university, our colleagues working in catering, cleaning, security, and reception roles are employed by outside companies, often large multinational corporations like ISS. This is usually done as a way to cut costs and to outsource employment responsibilities to less regulated private agencies. These companies make a profit by aggressively undermining workers’ pay and conditions, while Goldsmiths management renounces its duty as an ethical employer to this part of the Goldsmiths community.

On record outsourcing in the university sector has proved to be a less than effective method for saving money in real terms. In 2015 an APSE [Association for Public Service Excellence] report commissioned by SOAS refuted the claims that bringing the cleaners in-house would be inefficient, reporting that meeting the Justice for Cleaners campaign demands would in fact be ‘cost neutral.’[i] Following this report and the effective campaign led by cleaners, campaigners and Unison, SOAS announced that it would be bringing all facilities staff in-house by September 2018. The campaign at SOAS along with historic victory won by LSE cleaners of achieving employment parity with all other LSE workers, and the many other anti-outsourcing campaigns that have emerged in the last few years signal that outsourced workers are deeply dissatisfied with their working conditions and are willing to take matters into their own hands if their concerns are not addressed.[ii]

This also marks a general shift in how university management perceive the sustainability of outsourcing as part of their strategic vision. A commitment to outsourcing reflects an agenda which prioritises cost efficiency over the welfare of employees. This shows an extreme level of negligence over the ethical and professional standards which most progressive universities measure themselves against. The fact that the lowest paid members of staff, most of whom are from migrant and minority backgrounds, are being refused the same terms and conditions as their colleagues calls into question many of the principles and values that higher education institutions profess to stand for and promote. The prospect of fully visible industrial action taken by cleaners for such basic demands is surely something Goldsmiths College would want to avoid. Such an eventuality would undoubtedly mar Goldsmiths College’s reputation as a critically minded, politically progressive and conscientious institution.

In order that staff and student satisfaction is kept at the levels Goldsmiths College likes to boast of, relations between management and staff should not be delegated to a third party company, but should be brought in-house. Close professional and collegial relationships between all staff, students and management is central to cultivating a safe, fulfilling and fruitful learning and teaching environment. This is as much the case for facilities staff as it is for academic staff.

It is also imperative that Goldsmiths distances itself from ISS. ISS previously held a contract at SOAS, where in one particularly gross betrayal of trust, ISS management called an emergency meeting for all cleaning staff where, once inside, they were met by at least 20 immigration officers dressed in full riot gear, who detained and later deported some workers. The cleaners were locked in a classroom and escorted one-by-one into another classroom where they were interrogated. They neither had access to union support nor legal representation and many were allegedly unable to fully understand what was happening due to the absence of interpreters. Six of the workers were forcibly removed to South American countries, including Colombia, where gross human rights abuses against trade unionists are regularly documented. Two workers were subsequently held in immigration detention for a sustained period of time. All of this was done as a form of intimidation and to discourage other agency workers from fighting for union representation and a ‘living wage’.[iii] The threat that ISS could at any moment perpetrate such coercive and duplicitous actions creates a hostile environment for cleaners to work within. Surely this state of affairs contradicts many if not all of the values that Goldsmiths College stands for?  


ISS has previously been embroiled in a similar controversy when cleaners on the London tube made allegations of intimidation, bullying and being threatened with dismissals whilst striking for a ‘living wage’[iv]. Further acts of anti-union intimidation, victimisation and employment malpractice by ISS have been recorded at branches of HSBC[v], branches of Ernst & Young[vi], various hospitals across the country[vii], East Coast rail service,[viii] and, in one of their more high profile scandals, Premier Inn, which featured in an episode of Channel 4’s documentary series Dispatches.[ix] The onus is on senior management of Goldsmiths College to reconsider supporting such toxic companies.


Currently ISS are using the same intimidation tactics at Goldsmiths. Cleaners have been encouraged to steer clear of their union, have been prevented from discussing the changes to their contracts, and ISS have broken off all communication with Unison in their efforts to represent the cleaners’ concerns about these recent changes.

The university’s three year contract with ISS comes to an end on 31st October 2018. Goldsmiths management are currently undergoing a costing exercise before making a decision on whether to in-source cleaning staff, award a 12 month extension to ISS in lieu of extending the contract for another three years or put the contract out to tender to find another outsourcing company. This re-tender exercise would need to start in July to meet the October deadline. We hope that Goldsmiths College will follow other University of London institutions and prioritize the demands of its employees to be brought in-house when it makes this decision.

As workers at Goldsmiths, we show solidarity with the concerns of our colleagues and hope to make the Senior Management Team and the university council aware that there is a great deal of support across the university in favour of having cleaning staff brought in-house. We believe swift and decisive action now, in line with Goldsmiths values of being socially aware and socially engaged, actively promoting sustainability and fostering a social and intellectual community within, and beyond, Goldsmiths, will serve the long term interests of the college.[x]

Cleaning staff ‘are not the dirt they clean’ as the cleaners of the LSE campaign put it, they deserve respect and employment parity. If neither of these are delivered following the costing exercise we are fully prepared to stand with our colleagues in their campaign for justice.

In Solidarity, Goldsmiths College Staff


A shorter version of this letter was published on the 24th July 2018 in the Guardian newspaper signed by 150 members of Goldsmiths staff: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/jul/24/in-support-of-goldsmiths-cleaners-and-prof-james-newell



[ii] https://soasspirit.co.uk/news/apse-j4c/

[iii] http://www.irr.org.uk/news/soas-occupied-after-cleaners-detained-and-forcibly-removed/

[iv] https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/rmt-slams-iss-bullying-and-intimidation-of-tube-cleaners/, http://www.brightonsolfed.org.uk/south-london/supporting-striking-tube-cleaners

[v]https://www.pcs.org.uk/pcs-in-hm-revenue-and-customs-group/latest-news/pay-and-conditions-of-iss-cleaning-staff, http://caiwu.org.uk/wp/2017/05/05/support-the-hsbc-cleaners/

[vi] https://iwgb.org.uk/2018/04/10/iwgb-to-ballot-ernst-young-cleaners-for-strike-action-over-redundancies/

[vii] http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/iss-santa-pig, http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/iss-payslip-row-at-woolwich-and-kingston-hospitals,  http://www.fm-world.co.uk/news/fm-industry-news/gmb-calls-for-strike-over-two-tier-hospital-workforce/

[viii] https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/iss-east-coast-cleaners-strike-again-this-week/  

[ix] https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/premier-inn-housekeepers-use-same-12013548,  https://www.thecaterer.com/articles/520651/premier-inn-investigates-housekeeping-documentary-allegations

[x] https://www.gold.ac.uk/strategy/

Catherine Edlin Bellamy, Computing

Jason HIckel, Anthropology

Suhail Malik, Art

Marina Vishmidt, Media and Communications

Roberto Mozzachiodi, Media and Communications

Peter Rees, Politics and International Relations

Sasha Litvintseva, Media and Communications

Alexander Coupe, Theatre and Performance

Nicole Wolf, Visual Cultures

Shela Sheikh, Media and Communications

Mijke van der Drift, Media and Communications

Des Freedman, Media and Communications

Astrid Schmetterling, Visual Cultures

Neda Genova, Media and Communications/CCS

Sara Farris, Sociology

Natalie Fenton, Media and Communications

Laure de Selys, Visual Cultures

Silvia Bombardini, Visual Cultures

Henriette Gunkel, Visual Cultures

Janna Graham, Visual Cultures

Nikolaus Perneczky, Media and Communications

Jon K Shaw, Visual Cultures

Annie Goh, Media and Communications

Louis Moreno, Visual Cultures

Jamie Forth, Computing

Rebecca Fiebrink, Computing

Conrad Moriarty-Cole, Media and Communications

Christopher Law, English and Comparative Literature

Vincent Moystad, Media and Communications

Anamik Saha, Media and Communications

Mirca Madianou, Media and Communications

Kaoru Takahashi, Sociology

Emma Jackson, Sociology

Sophie Corser, English and Comparative Literature

Gloria Ojosipe Library

Gabriel Dattatreyan, Anthropology

Richard Hull, Institute for Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship

Andrew Fisher, Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths

Rachel Hughes, Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies

Bonamy Oliver, Department of Psychology

Rebecca Chamberlain, Department of Psychology

Maggie Pitfield, Department of Educational Studies

Alice Andrews, Department of Visual Cultures

Milly Williamson, Media Communications and Cultural Studies

Michael Guggenheim, Department of Sociology

Les Back, Dept of Sociology

Amanda Kipling, Department of Educational Studies

Elizabeth Evans, Department of Politics

Abigail Shinn, English and Comparative Literature

Jennifer Fleetwood,Department of Sociology

Jon Martyn, Stacs

Pat Caplan (Anthropology – Emeritus)

Anna Grant, Department of Educational Studies

Chloe Nast, Department of Sociology

Francisca Grommé, Department of Sociology
Viola Eidenbenz, English Language Centre

Will Davies, Department of Politics and International Relations

Claire Baily, Department of Art

Marian Carty, Educational Studies

Richard MacDonald, Media & Communications

Vik Loveday, Dept of Sociology

Sanjay Seth (Department of Politics and International Relations)

Edward Bagenal, Design

Sarah Pearce, Educational Studies

John Wadsworth – Educational Studies

Florence Platford, English and Comparative Literature

Ben Webb, Sociology

Caspar Addyman, Psychology

Martin Savransky, Department of Sociology

Keith Potter, Department of Music

Ian Hunt, Department of Art

Matthew Fuller, Media & Communications

Kevin Ward, Department of Art

Aleksandar Brkic, Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship

David Mabb, Department of Art
Helena Reckitt, Department of Art

Sally Alexander, Dept History

E Gonzalez-Polledo, Anthropology

Eva Sbaraini, Department of Art

Edgar Schmitz, Art

Frances Wilson, English and Comparative Literature

Claudia Bernard, Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies

Rajyashree Pandey, Politics and International Relations

Thomas Greenwood, Media and Communications

Kevin Jones Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies

Jonathan Koestle-Cate, Media and Communications

Tassia Kobylinska, Media and Communications

Sara Linden, Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship

Sara Ewing, Academic Skills Centre

Deirdre Daly, Academic Skills Centre

Rachel Reupke, Art Dept

Jimmy Turner, Anthropology

Stella Harvey, English Language Centre

Isaac Marrero-Guillamon, Anthropology

Katherine Robinson, Department of Sociology

Deirdre Osborne, Theatre and Performance

María Gabriela López Yánez, Theatre and Performance

Andy Boucher, Design
Barbara Mahlknecht, Art Department

Heather Marks, Theatre and Performance

David Chatting, Design

Lucy Clout, Art Dept

William Gaver, Design

Andy Sheen, Design

Lizzie Reed, Sociology

Jen Molinera, Design

Faith Denham, Design

Shruti Desai, Media and Communications

Samantha Rowe, Theatre & Performance

Andy Freeman, Maths and Computing

Vanessa Hughes, PhD student, Sociology

Tom Henderson, Politics and International Relations

Dan McQuillan, Computing

Manzar Samii, Media and Communications

Aysha Babur, Theatre & Performance

Sandra Kazlauskaite, Media & Communications

Damian Owen-Board, Media & Communications

Andrew Gray, Library

Marilyn Clarke, Library

Maria Thomas, ECL

Carla Ibled, Politics and International Relations

Dash Macdonald, Design

Liam Healy, Design

Susan Kelly, Art

Joe Leam, Students Union

JT, Students Union

Taylor McGraa, Students Union

Mona Monir, Students Union

Naomi Thompson, STACS

Rory Cheal, Media and Communications

Martin Conreen, Design

Richard Brett, Design

Adnan Madani, Visual Cultures

Tom Clark, Department of Art

Sian Prime, ICCE

Jennifer Gabrys, Sociology

Mischa Twitchin, Theatre and Performance

Tuur Van Balen, Design

Nicholas Mortimer, Design

Alice Corble, Sociology

Marie-Gabrielle Rotie Theatre and Performance

Tomáš Kašpar, Music Department

Carl Dunford-Gent, Library

Lewis Barton, Media and Communications

Katie Simpson, Library

Ceiren Bell, Media and Communications

Evelyn Jamieson, Library

Maria O’Hara, Library

Alice Hughes, Library

Angus Sinclair, Library

Sarah Hawton, Library

Diana Stevenson, Library

Joe Newman, Music

Ifor Duncan, ELC and Visual Cultures

Daniel Neofetou, Library

Priya Sharma, Media and Communications

Jan de Fockert, Psychology

Emily Rosamond, Department of Visual Cultures

Miranda Armstrong, PhD student, Sociology

Yari Lanci, PhD candidate, Sociology

Gary Riley-Jones, English Language Centre

Evelyn Ruppert, Sociology

Derek Wall, Department of Politics and International Relations

Jeremy Peyton Jones, Music

Matt Ward, Design

Jeremiah Spillane, Library

James Ewers, Music

Gholam Khiabany, Media and Communications

Danielle Joyce, Library

Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh, PHD student, Art department

Chris Boone, Library

Carol Clarkson, Department of Visual Cultures

June Melody, Department of Media and Communications

Frances Pine, Anthropology

Ignacio Rivera, Sociology

Jeremy Larkins, Politics and International Relations

Hortense Blue Maignien, Library

Robert Gordon, Theatre and Performance

Sue Mayo, Lecturer, Theatre & Performance

Frances Wilson,  Department of English and Comparative Literature

Anastasia Stouraiti, History

Daniel Ross, Music

Joseph Noonan-Ganley, Art

Diana Josan, Library

Gavin Weston, Anthropology

Thomas Hoagy Dunnell, Art

Emma Tarlo, Anthropology

John Reardon, Artist in residence Politics Department

Mark Taylor, Social Work Lecturer

Signe Gosmann, Anthropology

Maria N Ivanova, Politics

Jane Offerman, Psychology

Lesley Morris, Art Psychotherapy

Andrew Kingham, Media & Communications

Steve Keirl, Design

Mick Grierson, Professor of Computing

Peter Roberts, Teaching & Learning Innovation Centre

Kate Scappaticci, Department of Educational Studies

Alice Maud, Department of Anthropology

Robert Gordon, Theatre and Performance

Ozden Sahin, Media & Communications and Library

Alexander du Toit, Archive Cataloguer

Simon Deacon, Department of Music

Jose van Velzen, Department of Psychology

Frances Renton, IT Services

Cheryl Deedman, History

Dan Strutt, Media and Communications

Aeron Davis, Media and Communication

Andolie Marguerite

Amanda Gallant, Media & Communications.

Dimitris Exarchos, Music

Francesca Faulkner-Greatorex Theatre and Performance

Dejan Djokic, History

Kat Jungnickel, Sociology

Michael Zbyszynski, Computing

Sian Cannell, Academic Skills Centre – Library

Daniel Fraser, History

Nick Bell, Media and Communications

Adam Morby, Politics

Simon Griffiths, Politics

Philip Palmer, Senior Lecturer, Media and Communications

Molly Smyth, Student Support Services

Louis Busby, Post Doc, Computing

Charlotte Joy, Lecturer in Anthropology

Ayesha Hameed, Dept of Visual Cultures

Oana Parvan, Dept. Media, Communications and Cultural Studies

Corinna Talbot,  Media and Communications

Sean Cubitt, Media and Communications

Catherine Grant, Lecturer, Art

Mohammad Majid al-Rifaie, Lecturer, Computing

Jorella Andrews, Visual Cultures

Pauline von Hellermann, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology

James Curran, Professor of Communications

Len Platt, Professor of Modern Literatures, Educational Studies

Louise Chambers, Lecturer, Media and Communications

Clea Bourne, Senior Lecturer, Media and Communications

Mike Waller Professor of Design

Dave Watson, Media and Communications

Chris Price, Design

Althea Greenan, Library

Nigel Bristow, Convenor MA Directing Fiction

Maria Tsiko, Politics & IR

Toby Austin Locke, Associate Lecturer in Anthropology

Andrea Mura, Department of Politics & IR

James Burton, Lecturer, Cultural Studies and Cultural History

Arnold Borgerth, Lecturer, Media and Communications

Helen Cornish, Anthropology

Martin Webb, Anthropology

Daniel Rourke, Lecturer, Media and Communications

Svenja Bromberg, Lecturer, Sociology

Michael Newman, Professor of Art Writing

Stefan Zambinski, Media and Communications

Rosalyn George Education

Brendan Prendeville, Visual Cultures

Jessa Mockridge, Library

Frederic F. Leymarie, Computing

Tamar Steinitz, English and Comparative Literature

Daisy Asquith, Convenor, Screen Documentary

Nigel Perkins, Lecturer, Department of Media and Communications.

Nicky Donald, Computing

Tracy Bass, Media and Communications

Rebekah Price, Library

Theo Kindynis, Department of Sociology

Nick Taylor, Politics & IR

Martyn Wemyss, Anthropology

Stephen Nugent. Professor Emeritus, Anthropology

James Simkin, Library

Alberto Toscano, Sociology

Jonathan Meth, ICCE

Anna Clow, Computing

Pat Caplan, Emeritus, Anthropology

Rebekah Lee, History

Valentina Alvarez López, Anthropology.

Ming-Te Peng, Sociology

Johanna de Verdier, Digital Arts Computing

Oylun Apak, Media and Communications

Maria Kekki, Library

Jennifer Danilchuk, Library

Ian Long, Library

Dominic Robson, Design

Claire Makhlouf Carter Fine Art and Art History

Morgan Bach, Design

Roberto Casaluce, Library

Jenny Doussan, Visual Cultures

Caro Feistritzer, Media&Communications

Fiona Taylor Open Book, Education Coordinator & Facilitator

Robert Deakin, Anthropology

Shirin Shahidi, Media and Communications

Bill Gabbett, Media, Communications and Cultural Studies.

Silvia Rosani, Music Department and Library

Oonagh Murphy, ICCE

Olivia Arigho-Stiles, Communications Coordinator, Students’ Union

Ruby Hoette, Design

Rosa Crepax, Sociology

Lennaart van Oldenborgh, Media & Communications

Fay Dennis, Sociology

Magdalena Krysztoforska, Library

Jacqueline Ahwieh, Theatre and Performance

Cindy Strobach, Design

Saini Manninen, Media and Communications

Orly Siow, Politics

Jacqueline Rattray, English and Comparative Literature

Marzia MacCaferri, Department of Politics and International Relations

Raed Yacoub, Teaching and Learning Innovation Centre

Tim Crook, Media & Communications

Gyorgyi Szentirmai, Media & Communications

Jacob Love, Media and Communications

Rachel Ibreck, Politics and International Relations

Sally Pearce, Media and Communications

John Jackson-Mooney, Media and Communications

Angela Phillips Media and Communications

Fauzia Ahmad, Sociology

Marsha Rosengarten, Sociology

Carl Levy, Politics and International Relations

Yasmin Gunaratnam, Sociology

Coral McCarthy, Education

Sam Kelly, Education

Jane-May Martin, Sociology

Marcus Aitken, Education

Dave Bailey, Education

Rose Thomas Stopher, Education

David Brenner, Politics and International Relations

Paula Ktorides, History

Yael Gerson, Department of Educational Studies & Anthropology

Macarena Yarza, Department of Educational Studies

Francis Gilbert, Department of Educational Studies

Martin Williams, Department of Educational Studies

Katharina Richter, Politics

Monica Greco, Sociology

Margarita Aragon, Sociology

Sheryl Clark, Department of Educational Studies

Vana Goblot, Media and Communications

Liz Moor, Media and Communications

Ville Takala, Sociology

Michaela Benson, Sociology

Joanna Lorent, Library staff

Michael Dutton, Politics and International Relations

Kate Nash, Sociology

Violet Fearon, Sociology

Robina Wilson, Library

Alice Dunseath, Media and Communications

Leanne Benford, Media and Communications

Erica Wald, History

Ariel Hessayon, History

Rosie Kennedy, History

Juliet Sprake, Design

Lee Thurgood, Accommodation

Aparajita Mukhopadhyay, History

Harry Hunt, Accommodation

Andy Roper, Student Recruitment

Olly Bellamy, IT&IS

Keon West, Psychology

Ian Hannent, Psychology

Maura Dooley, English and Comparative literature

Samiah Anderson, Forensic Architecture (Visual Cultures)

Richard von Abendorff, Unison International Officer

Hannah Lines, Student Recruitment

Bob Trafford, Forensic Architecture (Visual Cultures)

Sarah Nankivell, Forensic Architecture (Visual Cultures)

Season Butler, English and Comparative Literature

Sarah Willerton, UNISON rep


Kathryn Adams, Student Recruitment

David Cross, Student Recruitment

Laura Belinky, Media and Communications

Jack Selby, Student Recruitment

Franc Camps Febrer, Forensic Architecture (Visual Cultures)

Stephen Pigott, Student Recruitment

Shannon Stowers, Student Recruitment

Lorenzo Pezzani, Centre for Research Architecture (Visual Cultures)

Mariam Motamedi-Fraser, Sociology

Dan Taylor, History

Richard Grayson, History

Jan Plamper, History

Michael Franklin, ICCE

Karen Rumsey, Research and Enterprise

Emmy Gregory, Research and Enterprise

Susan Jean, Research and Enterprise

Rebecca Coleman, Sociology

Chris French, Psychology

Laura Henneke, Sociology

Nadia Xarcha, Research Office

Elaine Williams, Sociology

Amanda Hope Macari, Media and Communications

Daniel Müllensiefen, Psychology

Alice Elliot, Anthropology


Leave a Reply