Solidarity with CanteenStaff and all SOAS Workers - no cuts, no closures, no redundancies!
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On Monday the 12th, on the anniversary of the deportation of the SOAS 9, SOAS announced the imminent closure of the refectory in the Main Building. Permanent staff were told they would be moved to hospitality, where they felt their jobs would be at risk. Zero-hours staff, some of them SOAS students, were told nothing (although other staff were told zero-hours staff would be made redundant). As of yesterday, staff have already received redundancy letters.
These reports came as a shock to student and staff, who felt threatened, insulted and de-valued. As you all know, these developments are simply another step in long-standing dispute around social justice at SOAS. Students and staff have been collectively resisting the imposition of education a business-like model in which the students are customers.
Despite SOAS’ claims to be a progressive institution, there is massive inequality in working conditions, in a gendered and racialized hierarchy. Our fractionals, cleaners, security, and catering staff, the people that are the lifeblood of the university, are the ones that suffer. This is intolerable.
In response, students have occupied the directorate in solidarity with the workers.This occupation has been met with hostile treatment, despite previous assurances from SOAS Management to the contrary, with students being denied the right to have access to food and being threatened with legal injunction.
We demand that SOAS, in line with long-standing campaigns:
1. Commits to keeping the refectory open and to no redundancies for any staff in the rectory and catering/hospitality services
2. Giving all workers fair contracts
3. Commits to a fully participatory consultation with the SOAS community to improve the catering services in line with needs and ethos of the catering staff and the wider SOAS community
4. The catering staff currently owed up to £4,000 each in unpaid wages must be paid in full with no adverse impact on their current wages
5. Valerie Amos must issue a public apology on behalf of Senior Management for the treatment of workers in this ordeal
We sign in solidarity and support for all workers and staff at SOAS that have been treated so abhorrently for the past many years; and furthermore we stand in solidarity with the students that are occupying .
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