Directorate offers thanks to campaign
At 12.30pm today (17 June), after several rounds of intense and complicated negotiations we have reached an agreement between all parties.
We are particularly thankful to the management for taking our concerns seriously and are confident that the way in which these negotiations were carried out has produced a constructive and positive outcome.
The demands that we agreed on include the main concerns of the cleaners who were affected by this disgraceful raid and have provided confidence to this campaign which will have an effect wider than just our school.
These are as follows:
1. SOAS management to write to the Home Secretary requesting exceptional leave to remain for the cleaner who is still being detained and for those who have been forced into hiding, and immediate return of those who have been deported.
2. Open discussions with ISS, UCU, UNISON and the Students' Union to review in detail the events of last Friday.
3. Issue of outsourced cleaning services to be revisited at the next Governing Body.
4. Meet with above unions to discuss health & Safety issues relating to immigration raids.
5. Amnesty for all those involved.
We are very impressed to see that management strengthened the resolves of this negotiations by adding their own concerns and demands including calling for regularisation for non-documented workers providing extra and crucial voices to the campaign for amnesty for migrant workers.
Further, we appreciate their co-operation and offer reciprocated sentiments to them saying in the statement in which they say:
'We would like to thank all staff and students for their valued contributions, support and co-operation in recent days as we have worked towards these negotiations'. In the SOAS strategy and Vision document management spell out how they are
'poised to become the University of the 21st century: it is concerned with the regions that matter and the issues that matter (such as human rights, poverty reduction and globalisation). ' (“SOAS 2016: A Vision and Strategy for the Centennial”, p5 ) That the directorate is disturbed by the possible role that ISS played in this raid demonstrates to us that the school are committed to upholding their further Centennial Goals of
“maintain[ing] the highest ethical standards in all of its dealings and foster the values of openness, honesty, tolerance, fairness and responsibility in all areas.” (SOAS 2016: A Vision and Strategy for the Centennial, p9) We extend our thanks to all the brave cleaners at SOAS who stood by us, supporting us even in these difficult times. We appreciate that the intimidation they have faced may deter them from speaking out; we only hope that they have the strength to continue with this campaign to make as many people aware of this problem as possible.
Our fight to ensure that employers and the Government do not use the threat of deportation to intimidate workers and prevent them from fighting to improve pay and conditions and trade union recognition has brought together people from all backgrounds.
Although these are a important victories so far they are more symbolic than practical. The home secretary has only signed papers to stop the removal or deportation of an individual when 80% of the Isle of Man signed a petition calling him to do so. SOAS now has a common goal, this must be used to further lobby for the cleaners in hiding, those that were already sent back to their countries of origin and those still held in deportation centres.
This campaign is grateful and encouraged by the tremendous response from activists from across the world, from media, politicians, academics, from family and from Palestinian universities who were the focus of the previous round of occupations earlier this year.
We are strengthened in this struggle for a united cause and urge everybody to start a campaign in their own workplace or institution safe in the knowledge that they are not alone. That united we stand, divided we fall.