soas occupation challenges immigration raid with mixed results

An article by activists involved in the recent SOAS occupation covering the story of the dispute and the lessons learnt from its results

Even for those well used to the low standards and dirty tricks of private contractor ISS and the UK Border Agency (UKBA), the brutal immigration raid on cleaners at the School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London last month came as a shock. It sparked a protest movement and occupation which – for 48 hours at least – constituted a significant show of strength against the university management and promised to win real concessions from those directly involved in the shameful intimidation of workers who – the timing was not coincidental – had only recently won union recognition and the London living wage.

That SOAS Director Paul Webley eventually managed to get his office, the Directorate and two conference rooms back without having made any real concessions proved a disappointment for many involved in the action. As activists continue to assess ‘what went wrong’, and rue an opportunity missed, it remains to be seen whether future gains made by the ongoing campaign will vindicate the strategy of those who wanted to end the occupation early. Continue reading “soas occupation challenges immigration raid with mixed results”