Students and allies, including members of Feminist Fightback, have been occupying the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) today after nine cleaners from the school were taken into detention following a dawn raid by immigration police on Friday:
Five have already been deported, and the others could face deportation within days. One has had a suspected heart attack and was denied access to medical assistance and even water. One was over 6 months pregnant. Many have families who have no idea of their whereabouts.
The cleaners won the London Living Wage and trade union representation after a successful “Justice for Cleaners” campaign that united workers of all backgrounds and student activists. Activists believe the raid is managers’ “revenge” for the campaign.
The protesters say that SOAS management facilitated the arrests and subsequent interrogations, undertaken by 40 aggressive poice officers in full riot gear, by hiding the officers and giving the cleaners no warning as to what was about to happen. Their list of demands can be read here.
You can support their campaign by emailing the Director of SOAS, Professor Paul Webley.