#Civil Rights
j.black@lse.ac.uk, a.blair1@lse.ac.uk, andrew.young@lse.ac.uk
United Kingdom

The London School of Economics have threatened to arrest or issue injunctions against protesters and striking cleaners who are fighting for equal conditions with in-house staff. Cleaners have been striking once a week demanding equal maternity/paternity pay, sick pay, holiday pay and pensions with in house staff. LSE management have been contemptuous of their demands and pushed the dispute into exam season.

Now LSE have engaged in a vicious smear campaign, claiming that protests are aiming to “deliberately disrupt exams,” and are heavily policing actions. During their first strike days in March, an LSE academic was arrested and this crackdown has continued. Over the last two weeks, at times, there have been more police at the picket lines than cleaners themselves. Most worryingly, in an email to all students and staff at LSE on Thursday it was stated that “We have taken legal advice on our rights to issue injunctions against protesters – on-campus arrests have been made in previous demonstrations and the police will carry out such actions again as they see appropriate within the law.” This is a direct threat from management to all students and staff who wish to stand with the cleaners in their fight for equal rights and is a clear infringement of the democratic right to protest.

More significantly still, the school is criminalising strike action by claiming that there were “unlawful protests”. Cleaners have given notice of strike action through their union United Voices of the World and followed the procedures stipulated in the law; none of their actions can be disqualified as “unlawful”. This is an active policing of an industrial dispute and intimidation of striking workers and their supporters.

We call on the LSE to urgently:
- respect our right to campaign and workers' right to strike
- refrain from any intimidation or threats of getting campaigners arrested
- guarantee that the university remains a safe space for students and staffs to express their opinion
- address cleaners' demands for equality.

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The Cops off Campus! petition to j.black@lse.ac.uk, a.blair1@lse.ac.uk, andrew.young@lse.ac.uk was written by Louisa Acciari and is in the category Civil Rights at GoPetition.