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Corbyn joins rent strikers and cleaners at rally against LSE's ‘indifference’ to their struggles

RENT strikers joined forces with cleaners today to hold a rally against a London university’s “indifference” to their struggles. 

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was among the speakers who addressed the protest outside the London School of Economics (LSE), attended by hundreds of students and staff. 

He told crowds that injustice and inequality in society can only be addressed through “people coming together in solidarity with each other.”

“Which is exactly what you’re doing here today,” he declared. “Unity is strength!” 

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett also spoke at the protest along with Green Party figures. 

The protest comes as hundreds of students at the university continue to withhold their rent and tuition fees, in protest at being asked to fork out huge sums despite significant disruption to their learning due to the pandemic. 

The campaigners say that they are being forced to “bear the cost-burden of the LSE’s pandemic expenses.”

In a statement, LSE Rent Strike said: “Students feel entirely forgotten, made to pay full fees and rents despite education being fully online and halls, amenities and services being reduced. 

“Meanwhile, the bosses contend that the university cannot afford to compensate these groups.”

Cleaning staff have also been “neglected” by LSE which has failed to live up to promises of better wages and conditions after bringing them in-house in 2017, campaigners claim. 

Ahead of the demo, LSE Rent Strike lead organiser Tori Anderson said: “We have been silenced for far too long by online platforms where senior management can simply mute you if they don’t want to hear you speak. 

“Finally, with this rally, our voices can be heard unfettered.”

A spokersperson from LSE said the university has invested in new technology and staff to ensure "that usually take place in person have been successfully implemented digitally."

"Students who couldn't return to halls earlier this year had their rent waived, while those who decided not to come back this year had their contracts ended and fees halted," they said.

The spokesperson added that cleaners are on the same terms and conditions as other LSE staff including "at least the London Living Wage, with a generous pension, leave and sick pay.”

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