Cleaners at the Department of Education demand equality

The cleaners at the Department for Education (DfE) are being treated like second class workers by the government and its contractors and they won’t put up with it.

“In my 18 years as a cleaner at DfE I’ve never experienced such terrible treatment. No sick pay, too much work, no proper holiday cover. We are treated with disdain, we are fed up and stressed but united in our resolve. We can’t wait for our ballot papers.”

Gloria Mancera, cleaner and  UVW member

The cleaners at the Department for Education (DfE) demand parity of terms and conditions with their their suit wearing counterparts – and they’re prepared to down tools once more! 

The DfE cleaners took three days of strike action over the summer as part of a mass strike by UVW members demanding dignity, equality and respect but ISS UK Limited have failed to respond directly to their demands. 

“We are all frustrated and overworked, our demands are fair and reasonable” says Kadijatu Jalloh, cleaner and UVW member.

The DfE cleaners, who are mainly migrant workers, say they deserve to feel valued and they deserve dignity, respect and above all, equality with the civil servants.

It is immoral that in 2024 a two tier workforce exists in a Government building, where the mainly Black, brown and migrant cleaners are overworked and treated like second class citizens.

UVW, an anti-racist union, backs the cleaners in their call for the same entitlement to family life as any other DfE colleague and their right to not work through sickness because they are paid a poverty wage and can’t afford to be off sick.


  • Civil service parity: Sick pay

  • Civil service parity: Annual leave

  • Increase in wages to £13.15 per hour, backdated to October 2023

  • Proper staffing levels to avoid stress and injury

  • Voluntary trade union recognition

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