“Roger Hallam - dots of spray chalk won’t be enough”
Life not Money at the LSE campaign diary. Post number 1
Okay so if this sounds familiar it’s because it is. Having in just eight weeks sorted out, as it were, King’s College on Fossil Fuel divestment, the team is moving onto pastures anew – 5 minutes away to that great prestigious forward looking institution - the London School of Economics.
It seems it has a little local difficulty on the cleaner’s front. Apart from only paying the £7-8 an hour (after compulsory unpaid breaks), the cleaners get no sick pay, no pension and restricted holiday time. To add insult to injury management force them to change clothes in the toilets, steal their wages, give the best shifts to their family and friends and bring in “illegals” to work for £3/hr (pocketing the rest of the wages themselves) at weekends. Oh and to get extra shifts you have to sleep with the supervisors. Yep welcome to the unregulated wild west of London’s casualised outsourced labour market. At the other end of the scale LSE Director (top dog) pay is around a cool £500,000 a year (more than enough for lots of high class drugs and prostitutes presumably).
We think, on balance, there is room for improvement here. Our simple feasible and wholly rational demand is that the VC pay is reduced by a 100 grand and the money goes to create decent pay and conditions for the cleaners. Seems reasonable.
As the quote from a comment on my first post about the King’s College campaign (see title) rightly points out, a few dots of spray chalk won’t be enough. But what about an (awful) lot of them! Well we have a plan (to blow minds) and on paper we will win. So sit back and await future installments of this diary to see how the show unfolds.
Alternatively get involved – we’re “recruiting” – this is an open source online campaign – anyone can get involved and join the fun, on whatever level and you are totally welcome to join us. Just message me.
And then there’s the small matter of cash. The King’s College campaign cost over a grand in materials and fines etc. Please go to Crowdpac online and chip in £3/£10/£1000 (we’re not fussy) to the King’s College Climate Emergency fundraiser to help cover costs for both campaigns.
And don’t forget to like the page: see link in comments.
Corruption at the London School of Economics – surely not!
LSE Life not Money Campaign Diary Post no 2
I have spent a good bit of time interviewing outsourced workers around London over the past year. But nothing quite prepared me for the litany of dreadfulness I got from spending two days listening to the stories of LSE cleaners. And this is a “progressive” “world class” institution whose academics endlessly produce research that saying inequality is bad bad and more bad. Here’s a typical quote:“I have been here for four years, working a split shift and they still won’t give me a full shift with no long break in the middle. Family friends and relatives get the best jobs. The outsourced management organise this. And the LSE management know about this and haven’t done anything about it.Wages have been wrong. The management steal the money from the cleaners.Women have slept with management to get extra hours. The whole thing is corrupt.And supervisors attack the women and are not even disciplined. It is totally and utterly corrupt and LSE know about this. And LSE doesn’t give a damn as long as the work is covered and they don’t have to think about it. Numerous staff come here and for the first two weeks are not paid a penny – and then another fortnight and don’t get paid and then leave with nothing.” LSE cleaner March 2017.Now for the good news: it’s all about to change with the mother of all nonviolent direct action escalations – starting on the 25th (see FB event – please come and share). Remember we have a plan! There’s no cat picture this time. I know .. sorry.
GOT ARRESTED (AGAIN)
Life not Money at the LSE campaign diary post 3.
Okay so slight delay since the last post – life got in the way.
“Life not Money at the LSE” campaign is asking something everyone wants but no one thinks is realistic and so it never gets asked (that old chestnut): that the Director of the London School of Economics takes a £100,000 pay cut (latest on the grapevine is that the new Director will get in excess of 500 grand a year) and the money goes to improve the pay and conditions of the lowest paid workers at the school (£8/hour once you include breaks). All seems pretty reasonable as well as being “impossible”. Or as a lecturer told me with a dismissive hand movement “Not a chance!”
All the more reason to ask I say. So off we went off last week to literally speak truth to power. Power was not impressed and four of us were arrested and truth (see pic) was washed off the walls the following day. Ah ha though, this is all part of the plan as we shall see.
Life Not Money at the LSE Campaign Diary Post no 4.
A while ago I helped set up King’s College Climate Emergency to get the management there to divest from all fossil fuels. We won in our demand in 8 straight weeks of weekly escalating direct actions – helped along by a 14 day hunger strike by myself. No one thought we could win but we did.
Now we are facing the Goliath of LSE’s globalised corporatized super big shot top management. Our slingshot this time is to break bail and go to prison next week if they continue to refuse to sit down and discuss our demand for a 100 grand cut in Director’s pay and the money to go to creating decent pay and conditions for the school’s lowest paid workers struggling on £8/hour (including unpaid breaks) – moderate, feasible, sensible ….. and “impossible”.
Who knows what will happen? But one thing is for sure – if LSE puts students and campaigners in prison for putting chalk on their walls in protests against gross inequality at the school … well it’s not going to make them look too good.
And we will have broken new ground on what cutting edge creative activism needs to look like in these darkening times.
So slogan time:
Speak truth to Power!
Be Brave and Act Free!
Life not Money!
.. and that all time favourite..
Lipstick not Truncheons!....