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Insourcing the Cleaners: Inter-University Brainstorm

In 2020 the UGent Women’s Strike and ACOD UGent joined forces in launching an insourcing campaign to ameliorate the working conditions of the cleaning staff. Since the early 2000s, UGent and other Belgian universities have started outsourcing the cleaning to private facility management companies, as it saved costs for what was not considered to be a core activity of the university.

Despite the corona discourse on the essential role of cleaning in keeping our universities hygienic and safe, many outsourced cleaners report how their work is still un(der)valued, taken for granted, badly paid and made invisible.

During this roundtable discussion we would like to map the situation of the cleaners at different Belgian universities, and collect/share ‘good practices’ from cleaners, feminists, syndicalists and student collectives in Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK on how we can improve the working conditions of cleaners and other care workers at universities

Tim Joosen from ACOD UGent will give an overall introduction to the situation of outsourced cleaners at Belgian universities, followed by interventions from 8 March Collective at University of Antwerp (Devanshi Saxena, Dominique Kiekens), the UGent Women’s Strike (Siggie Vertommen), Roberto Mozzachiodi from the Goldsmiths Insourcing Campaign, and two cleaners.

These interventions will offer plenty of food for thought on whether and how to kick-start an inter-university campaign to insource the cleaners.

All feminists and/or syndicalists, cleaners and other university staff and students are warmly invited to join this event! Please do fill in the google form, so we can arrange the language/translation issues, and can send you a zoom invitation: