SOAS needs stop outsourcing workers and making profits for Goldman Sachs


02 May 2014

Humanity cannot afford the greed of Goldman Sachs. Steve Rushton from Occupy.com reveals how the investment bank reaps profit on exploiting London cleaners and speculating on food.

Humanity cannot afford the greed of Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs is a global leader in crisis capitalism, a key player in global tax evasion, food speculation and corrupting democracy. The investment bank is an engine of injustice.

However, the ‘vampire squid’ has its tentacles in one of Britain’s most progressive universities: SOAS, University of London. Even though SOAS staff and students often imagine a world where workers’ rights are more important can corporations, it makes profits for Goldman Sachs by outsourcing a vital part of its labour force.

Justice for Cleaners SOAS
The Justice for Cleaners campaign asserts that all workers should be treated equally: with respect and dignity.
In their long running campaign, they have recently secured improved conditions for holiday, sick pay and pension provisions. These were gained through strike action taken throughout this spring. Running since 2006, the campaign has already secured the cleaners the London Living Wage and union recognition. It aims for more: the cleaners want to be brought in-house.



SOAS management outsources its cleaning to ISS, a global company with profits of £480,000 per year. This includes security services carried out in the occupied territories in Palestine. Danish ISS is majority owned by Goldman Sachs and EQT Partners AB, a northern European private equity investor. The cleaning company is raising money through selling new shares, although both the major investors are expected to retain their combined majority stake.

The Justice for Cleaners campaign also highlights the poor treatment of the cleaners at SOAS, not least bullying and harassment. Over the winter holiday, they were forced to work in temperatures below the safety at work guidelines. The campaign has been successful as a worker-led campaign, with support and engagement from the students, academics and other staff. 98% of the SOAS community balloted to bring the staff in-house; it is only management that want to continue the current status quo.

By ending the outsourcing contract and bringing the cleaners in-house, SOAS management could end the maltreatment of its vital workers, and stop creating profits for Goldman Sachs and ISS.

Goldman Sachs: Global leaders in crisis capitalism
“The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money,” asserts cutting edge journalist Matt Taibbi about Goldman Sachs. In 2010, the Rolling Stone journalist explained how they initiated the bubble of toxic subprime mortgages that burst in the 2008 causing the financial crisis, which the world is still suffering from today.

Taibbi details a repeating trend, in which Goldman Sachs inflate bubbles only to make billions when they burst, he tracks their activities back through crisis of the last century beginning with Ponzi schemes that led to the Wall Street Crash in 1929.
Taibbi describes how Goldman Sachs ruthlessly dominates America; these mechanisms are also applied around the globe.
European debt crises or ‘debt traps’ were caused largely by the spreading of junk sub-prime assets from America. Goldman Sachs played a direct role, for instance in a complex debt swaps deal in 2001 that created billions in for Greece and profits for the investment bank.

The story is similar around the rest of Europe, including selling junk bonds to British bank RBS, then betting these assets would crash. Toxic assets such as these caused RBS to need a bailed out by the British taxpayer, likewise Northern Rock was bailed out after buying junk assets. In the later case, Goldman Sachs were even employed by the UK government to create the bailout deal, they also retain the intellectual copyright for this deal.

Goldman Sachs: Food speculation
Food speculation means betting on the future price of essential nourishment, for speculators such as Goldman Sachs who do not touch a grain of food physically, this is solely about profits. Their ‘input’ drives food prices up, in a world were 1 in 7 people are starving.

Late last year, WDM reported how Goldman Sachs (and Barclays, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley) are the banks most engaged in food speculation. New figures announced this year, reported Goldman Sachs itself created quarter of a billion pounds, gambling on food.

Goldman Sachs: Tax evasion
The Global Tax Justice Network, estimate there is at least $21-32 trillion in tax havens, which amounts to between a third and a half of the global GDP. A recent LSE report asserts how this is a core cause of poverty, denying countries the chance to adequately build vital public services.

In Britain, Goldman Sachs was reported to have paid 1% of its tax bill in 2012. On one single occasion in what became known as a ‘sweetheart deal’ with HMRC, it managed to dodge between £6 to 20 million.

Goldman Sachs: corrupting ‘democracy’
A crucial aspect in how Sachs was able to create crisis capitalism in America, was its cozy relationship with government and the state. Former executives from the Sachs often are given high office, and the chance to let their old business get away with all that it does.

Again this is repeated beyond the United States. In a list that could continue onwards Senior Goldman Sachs men now in mainly often unelected positions of political power include: the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney (2013- present); the unelected Prime Minister of Italy Mario Monti (2011-2013); President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi (2011-present); Carlos Moedas, who is in charge of pushing neoliberal reforms on Portugal (2011-present). This revolving door spins both ways former Goldman Sachs turned World Bank President, Robert Zoellick must me getting dizzy; he is now chairman of its international advisory board.  

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