Stop The Deportation Of SOAS University Cleaners

Amidst all our panic about the BNP winning seats and what that might mean in terms of attacks on immigrants and trade unionists, there’s another vicious shower happily attacking immigrants and trade unionists.

They’re called the Labour Party.

A hunger strike is taking place at Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre in protest at appalling health care and the detention of children.

And in addition, the deportation police raid a staff meeting at the School for Oriental and African Studies and arrest nine trade unionists, deporting several. The rest face deportation over the next few days.

The private contractor ISS called cleaners to an emergency staff meeting at 6.30am on Friday last week. They were then set upon by 40 immigration police who were lying in wait.

According to the lecturers union there were two managers on site at the time of the meeting who would not typically be there at that time of the morning, guiding immigration officials around the building.

The Border police themselves have said that the raid “was carried out with the full co-operation, support and involvement of the employer.”

So was there collusion between ISS, the university management and the immigration cops?

And why this group of cleaners?

This particular group of workers have successfully campaigned for union recognition and have secured better wages and conditions at SOAS.

The same company, ISS, has been accused of using immigration laws to keep wages low before. Strikes by employees on tube trains were followed by the deportation of key union activists.

One of the SOAS cleaners, Rosa, has said: “ISS made this trap because they want to show they are stronger than the union.”

Rosa now faces deportation along with her trade union colleagues.

It is clear that immigration law is an attack on all of us, immigrant or not, for it is used to keep workers silent and afraid, and is a direct attack on the trade union movement.

For the latest on this story, and a series of actions that you can take to support the SOAS cleaners, then visit There is a sample letter to send to the Home Secretary, as well as news of other actions.

Also, check out my anti deportation song. Appropriately enough, given the name of one of those set upon by the union busting immigration cops, the song is called I Want Rosa To Stay.

[audio: PARRYDL0009.mp3]


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