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Striking cleaners: ‘We are not the dirt you clean’.

LSE cleaners walk out in two day employment rights protest

17 March, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya

THE longest serving cleaner at a prestigious university warned her bosses “we are not the dirt you clean” as her union launched a 48 hour strike.

Mildred Simpson spoke out against the London School of Economics ahead of two days of industrial action launched by the United Voices of the World (UVW) migrant workers’ union.

The cleaners’ protest, over basic employment rights, began on Wednesday.

“We are not the dirt we clean,” said Ms Simpson, in a film promoting the strike.

“We are asking for equality, and justice. We don’t get any sick pay, any pension pay.
“All of that is included in the package that LSE staff get. Why? We are all same workers for LSE. We are treated so badly. We have decided to take it to the next level, via a strike.”

Ms Simpson said she had been at LSE for 16 years and that “almost everyone in the campus” knows her and that she “wanted everyone to know me as a good worker”.

The cleaners, who are mainly migrants and/or black and minority ethnic, are demanding a reduction in workloads, review of disciplinary procedures, and the reinstatement of a cleaner, Alba Pasmino, who was recently dismissed.

An LSE spokeswoman said: “The decision by UVW to initiate industrial action is disappointing, especially considering cleaners and recognised trade union representatives are still engaged in constructive negotiations.”

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