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BREAKING: Goldsmiths uni will employ its own cleaners

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Goldsmiths uni has just agreed to bring its cleaners in-house.

The decision, which was made by the Governing Council, will mean that the uni will employ its cleaners rather than sourcing them from contractors. Cleaners will be given the same rights and benefits as other members of staff.

Goldsmiths' Warden, Patrick Loughrey, was previously caught on camera saying that the cleaners would only be brought in-house "when they come see me."

A statement of reassurance was released by the uni.

Goldsmiths promise that the cleaners will now "benefit from increased annual leave allowance, access to a better pension provision, and maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay in line with other Goldsmiths staff."

Bringing the cleaners in-house will take at least 6 months starting from 1 November 2018.

Goldsmiths will also be increasing the number of budgeted hours for cleaning staff, in response to concerns over the recent restructuring of cleaning services at the university.

The restructuring, which was opposed by cleaners and the student campaign Justice for Cleaners Goldsmiths, was announced in early 2018 and took effect on 6 August 2018.

Cleaners gave harrowing testimonies about their working conditions, including an increased workload, fewer paid hours and diminished performance.

One cleaner, a Muslim woman, said:

"I have a major safety issue when leaving work. I finish work at 11.30pm and get home an hour later. I’m scared to travel so late because I am a Muslim woman with a big hijab on."

The decision to bring cleaners in-house comes after months of campaigning by cleaners and the Justice for Cleaners campaign.

Recent weeks saw several student protests around the university's new £4m Centre for Contemporary Art Gallery, which opened earlier this month. 

The university had previously built a wall to stop campaigners from demonstrating outside the gallery.

Responding to the decision, Justice for Cleaners Goldsmiths tweeted:

"This victory has come from the tireless struggle and organisational genius of the cleaners. We will continue to support our colleagues throughout this process and will expect from [Goldsmiths] proper transparency during its implementation. hasta la victoria siempre!"

Featured image courtesy of Alex Blandford

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