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Cultural workers and cleaners: Striking back to back

(1) Henry Broome

(1) Writer and Cultural Policy Researcher

[excerpt] Autumn 2023 saw lecturers and cleaners at University of the Arts London (UAL) strike back-to-back for a combined 10 days. Represented by University College Union (UCU), UAL’s teaching staff were out on industrial action from 25- 29 September. The following week GMB union cleaners walked out, 2-6 October. Over the same period, there were UNISON cleaner and support staff strikes 21 universities across England and Scotland including Glasgow School of Art and Arts University Bournemouth. Over the last decade in the UK, the culture sector has become increasingly radicalised and workers have been organising across occupational divides to together win better pay and conditions. United by a shared experience of exploitation, low pay and precarious employment, more and more, we’ve seen artists and curators, writers and journalists and university and college lecturers standing in solidarity with so-called “ancillary workers”, like gallery front of house staff, exhibition technicians and museum [...]

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