We Are All Alba

In a recent statement the United Voices of the World union (UVW) announced that although the cleaners at the LSE recently gained the “historic victory which resulted in them being brought in-house after 7 days of strike action and the largest cleaners strike in UK history, the cleaners will be back out on strike for 3 more days during the LSE students graduation over one remaining issue of dispute: Alba Pasmino.”

People first became aware of Alba’s sacking after she stood up at the meeting which began the dispute at the end of September 2016 and told everyone about it, and the meeting then pledged to support her.

A couple of weeks later on October 14th the first major protest in the UVW campaign made the sacking of Alba its main focus. After a rally outside the LSE student union, cleaners, students and other supporters marched along Kingsway to the building where LSE and the cleaning company Noonan which the LSE had outsourced the cleaning to have offices and held a rally outside.

Alba again spoke, as did others, and there was a great deal of chanting ‘Reinstate Alba!‘ as well as drumming and blowing of vuvuzelas to ensure that everyone around knew what was taking place – and why. It was a demand repeated on many further protests and strike rallies.

Alba was one of the longest serving members of the LSE cleaning team, having worked there for 12 years and had become one of the cleaning supervisors.  Noonan claimed they were making her redundant because they needed fewer supervisors – and the number has halved in the past few years. The UVW have taken her case to an  employment tribunal but that cannot not guarantee her reinstatement even if the judge accepts that she was unlawfully dismissed.

The UVW say that after an agreement has been reached in the dispute, “Noonan’s newly appointed Account Director is keen to see Alba return, but his efforts to bring that about are being blocked, without justification, by the chest-beating director of LSE Facilities, Allan Blair, who is callously using Alba as a political football which is cruelly at the expense of her livelihood and well-being.”

Obviously the UVW as well as Noonan want to see this matter resolved without delay, and the union are now threatening a further 3 day strike during the LSE student graduation which begins next week on Wednesday 12th July.  I sincerely hope the LSE will see sense and settle before then, but otherwise the strike will go ahead, I will be there taking more pictures of the cleaners, and support from others will be welcome – check the Facebook event page for details.

Justice for LSE cleaners


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