We want your money and your labour but we don’t want you

The story of the University of London’s cleaners ought to be a modern Made in Dagenham. Immigrant women were scraping a living on a poverty wage from an employer who wanted them to clean up other people’s mess and get out of sight when they’d finished. They fought back and, in a rare uplifting moment in these dismal times, won. They forced the university to raise their pay from £6.15 to £8.80 an hour and give them decent holidays and sickness leave.

But no one will make a film about the university cleaners because it lacks the prime ingredient for a feelgood story: a happy ending.

Carry on reading

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