Cleaners take on Canary Wharf bank to fight for living wage

Cleaners take on Canary Wharf bank to fight for living wage

Cleaners organised with the United Voices of the World union are set to strike for a living wage at the Bank of New York in Canary Wharf while cleaners' disputes continue at the London School of Economics and Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

United Voices of the World union members who clean the plush offices of one of the wealthiest financial institutions on the planet, the Bank of New York Mellon at Canary Wharf, have just notified the bosses of their intention to strike in their fight against poverty pay and for a living wage.

The cleaners - all migrants from Latin America whose labour helps keep London running - are the latest so called 'unorganisable' and ‘invisible’ workers to stand up for dignity and respect, and demand that their measley £8.50 an hour wages be raised to at least the £10.20 an hour London Living Wage.

The UVW members who work through the night at the bank to keep the glittering glass skyscrapers of the global financial elite sparkling, have shown great courage in taking on a bank with annual revenues of $15 billion and which has just recieved an almost half a billion dollars corporate welfare tax break handout from from their friend in the White House, migrant-hating president Trump.

So whining about how they can’t afford to pay their cleaners a decent wage just isn’t going to cut it in this dispute.

Cleaners disputes continue at LSE and Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

Cleaners are set to sue the LSE University in a huge class action Equal Pay claim which could cost the LSE around £500,000.

Last year UVW won a historic victory which saw all of LSE's cleaners being brought in-house after 7 days of strike action, the first cleaners strike in the LSE's history and the largest in the UK at the time. The move in-house resulted in the early termination of a £5 million cleaning contract with the embittered company Noonan.

Since moving in-house the cleaners T&Cs in respect of pensions, sick pay, annual leave, maternity/paterniry/adoption leave pay have all been uplifted in line with other LSE staff.

However, the cleaners hourly wage has remained at least £1.90 less per hour than the lowest paid member of staff on the LSE's own internal pay scales. Why the LSE feels it can short change the cleaners - the majority of whom are women and all of whom are BAME migrants - by thousands of pounds a year is for them to answer. In meantime we'll be taking them to court for unlawful discrimination and demanding around campus Justice and Equality (yet again!) for thr LSE cleaners.

In other news, UVW members who clean the Kensington and Chelsea town halls submitted a claim for a nearly 25% wage increase from their current poverty wage of £7.83 per hour, to the London Living Wage of £10.20 per hour.

The cleaners are outsourced to Amey, the company to which cleaning services are also outsourced to at Hammersmith & Fulham and Westminster councils, which together make up the Tri-borough, a project launched in 2011 to share services across the 3 councils.

A few days after submitting the claim Amey contacted UVW to discuss it with them and confirmed that the council would be considering it this week.

Despite the prompt and positive initial response from the council the cleaners and their union are anything but complacent and are prepared and poised to strike if the council in any way disregards the cleaner's claim.

Furthermore, if RBKC pays the cleaner's the living wage, it will likely have a knock on effect for other workers including receptionists and not just at RBKC but also at Hammersmith & Fulham and Westminster councils.

Reposted and reformatted into a single article from various posts on the United Voices of the World Facebook page.

Comments

R Totale
May 25 2018 12:49

Would also be worth editing in that cleaners at the MoJ are apparently set to start balloting for strike action (that link's not the most helpful, but mentions it): https://m.facebook.com/uvwunion#!/story.php?story_fbid=1770162429718655&id=703269199741322&__tn__=-R

R Totale
May 29 2018 18:43

Well, that didn't take long: https://www.facebook.com/uvwunion/photos/a.726558427412399.1073741828.703269199741322/1773552156046349/?type=3

" Remember our post (copied below) from two days ago that 'United Voices of the World union members who clean the plush offices of one of the wealthiest financial institutions on the planet, the Bank of New York Mellon at Canary Wharf, have just notified the bosses of their intention to strike in their fight against poverty pay and for a living wage."

Well, the threat worked. Last night the bank's cleaning manager announced to all the cleaners that as of next month they will all receive £10.20 per hour equating to an extra £4,000 per year per worker!

This victory was achieved within just 30 hours. To be precise it was the 23rd May at 5.17pm that we submitted our formal claim for the living wage putting the company on notice that if they did not commit to paying it within 7 days, and implementing it within the month, that we would ballot the cleaners for an all-out strike. The cleaners, who work the night shift at the bank, were told at 11.30pm on 24th May that as of next month they will all receive £10.20 per hour.

This victory was achieved is record time for UVW, breaking our previous record which was achieved at Withers Law firm in Fleet Street where within 96 hours the company capitulated to our demand to pay their cleaners the London Living Wage who were formerly on the minimum wage, and backdate it too.

This is yet another example of the so-called 'unorganisable' and ‘invisible’ workers getting organised, fighting for dignity and respect and winning!"

The spam comment above is proper class as well.

Ed
May 30 2018 10:11

R Totale, do you think you could add that as a news article?

Rob Ray
May 30 2018 10:24

You could cut and paste the Freedom one if you like wink.

R Totale
May 30 2018 10:24

Not on my phone, but will try and throw it up when I get home.

Ed
May 30 2018 10:49
Quote:
You could cut and paste the Freedom one if you like wink.

Ha! Don't have time myself just now but if R Totale could do it later that'd be great! smile