Cleaners at chanel

In 2019, Latin American cleaners at Chanel’s flagship New Bond Street store (neighbouring other fashion giants) threatened to protest and strike, winning themselves the London Living Wage and the reinstatement of a colleague who played a leading role in organising the workers.

Cleaners at a Chanel store were Latin Americans employed by Bayleaf Cleaning. Their dispute was over low pay and understaffing, but soon included the unfair suspension of a colleague who had been a leading organiser of the cleaning group.

A partial victory in March saw the cleaners awarded a 10% pay rise, from £8.21 to £9.10 per hour, after they made it clear they were willing to strike. This was still well short of the £10.55 plainly within reach (not to mention the £2,000 price tags on some of the handbags), so with the other demands still not forthcoming, the cleaners subsequently decided to ballot for strike action.

The placards and a large banner were ready and waiting, along with drums and (rumoured) stink bombs, to be deployed on the narrow New Bond Street where Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Hermes have gleaming storefronts.

Naturally, Chanel’s managers did not want to be embarrassed in front of their glitzy neighbours — all for the sake of skimping on their own cleaners.

At last, a decision was made by Chanel to concede most if not all demands. The evening before the protest, emails then phone calls put a stop to the dispute. The London Living Wage of £10.55 was confirmed in writing. Negotiations were then concluded to mutual agreement in July 2019.