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Goldsmiths University brings cleaning staff in-house

Campaigners claim victory but warn ‘as it stands, these workers won't be able to enjoy the rewards’

CAMPAIGNERS claimed victory today after a university ended the outsourcing of its cleaning staff.

The governing council of Goldsmiths university in south-east London has approved plans to bring their cleaning staff in-house.

This means that they will be employed directly by the university rather than an agency.

The deal will see Goldsmiths cleaners benefit from increased annual leave allowance, an improved pension deal and the same maternity, paternity and adoption leave allowance that other Goldsmiths employees have.

The cleaners had been previously outsourced to ISS, a Danish employment agency.

But the organisation Justice for Cleaners has been heavily campaigning alongside Goldsmiths Labour Students and other student organisations to bring the cleaners in-house.

While under the employment of ISS, testimonies from cleaners collected by the campaign reported how increasingly shortened hours by the agency meant staff were becoming more impoverished, while later and longer shifts impacted on workers’ personal safety and childcare commitments.

The council has also agreed to increase the number of shifts for workers, meaning that longstanding complaints about awkward shift patterns may hopefully be resolved.

A spokesperson for Justice for Cleaners told the Star: “We are very pleased at the news that Goldsmiths management have decided to bring cleaning staff in-house.

“In the meantime, we are still pushing Goldsmiths management to reinstate cleaning staff who lost their jobs after the restructure implemented by [ISS] on August 6.

“As it stands, these workers will not be able to enjoy the rewards of this campaign.

“We have had to start a hardship fund for workers who have been out of work for a month while we pursue these cases.”

A Goldsmiths spokesperson said that they look forward to working with the cleaners to ensure a smooth transition into being directly employed.

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