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Student Questions and Answers

ISS Cleaners Industrial Action Friday 21 March

These FAQs are for students and are updated regularly.

  • What are the rules for picket lines? Why can’t lots of people participate?

    There are clear guidelines issued by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills about picketing. Pickets should be respectful and not in any way threatening towards staff and students or other visitors to the School.

    There should be no more than six official pickets at the entrance to the building and they should be identified by armbands in accordance with the official guidelines.

  • How do I complain about behaviour on the picket line which does not adhere to the BIS guidelines or the School’s values?

    If you wish to make a complaint about behaviour on the picket line which does not adhere to these or BIS guidelines on picketing then please contact the UNISON regional representatives, Ruth Levin (R.Levin@unison.co.uk) or Maggi Ferncombe (M.Ferncombe@unison.co.uk), and also emailinfo@uk.issworld.com, copying in Human Resources (industrialaction@soas.ac.uk). Contact details for making a complaint to ISS UK Ltd will be provided shortly.

  • Why won’t SOAS meet the cleaners demands and bring them in-house?

    The cleaners are in dispute with their employers ISS UK Ltd.  While not directly involved in the dispute negotiations SOAS is keen that ISS and Unison engage in further dialogue to achieve a resolution to their dispute. SOAS has been working to improve terms and conditions for all outsourced workers for several years. Since July 2013 SOAS has been working with other London colleges to develop a shared services model of facilities management which will improve terms and conditions for contracted staff.

    Due to the differing requirements of the organisations involved this is an extremely complex process and it is taking longer than originally envisaged.  In the meantime, to demonstrate SOAS’ commitment to improving terms and conditions for contracted staff, an interim ex gratia payment of five days’ wages will be awarded to outsourced cleaning, maintenance and security staff this Spring.

  • Who is responsible for cleaning the precinct outside the main College Buildings?

    The main precinct between the College Buildings and the Brunei Gallery building belongs to the University of London and it is their cleaning staff who will be responsible for cleaning up any additional rubbish and debris.

  • What are the terms and conditions for fractional staff at SOAS?

    You can find more information about terms and conditions for fractional staff at Fractional FAQs.

  • Can anyone take strike action?

    No. Only cleaning staff who are members of Unison could take strike action on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 March. The cleaning staff are in dispute with their employers, ISS UK Ltd.

    Policy on Dealing with Industrial Action (pdf; 28kb)

  • How do I complain about the affect of industrial action on my studies?

    In the first instance, talk to your tutor or lecturer about the classes you may have missed due to industrial action.

    SOAS has a student complaint procedure and you can find details at Student Complaints Procedure.

  • How are students views shared with senior management at SOAS?

    The Director has regular meetings with the Students’ Union sabbatical officers. The Deputy Secretary and other senior members of staff also meet with them on both a formal and informal basis to discuss a wide range of issues that affect students at the School.

    You can get in touch with the officers.