Justice for Emanuel


Emanuel Gomes was a loving father and husband. A member of UVW, he passed away of suspected coronavirus on April 23, 2020.

Emanuel was born in Guinea Bissau and moved to London a few years ago where he worked as a cleaner at the Ministry of Justice. Emanuel had worked at the MoJ since February 2018, where he was outsourced to the cleaning company OCS. As an agency worker, he was not entitled to holidays, sick pay, and had no security when taking strike action or engaging in other union organising. Despite the risks, Emanuel bravely chose to go on strike twice in order to demand a living wage and sick pay. 

When he fell ill, he only continued to attend work because the MoJ and OCS refused to offer him any sick pay, despite Emanuel and his co-workers fighting for years to get a proper sick pay scheme. 

It’s reported that Emanuel hadn’t eaten at all, or had barely eaten, during the 5 days before his death and was so weak in the hours before his death that he barely knew where he was or how to get home. You can read a testimony from the coworker who helped Emanuel home the night he died here.

Emanuel should not have been at work. He should have been able to take the time off to rest, recover and seek whatever medical treatment he needed. But with OCS and the Ministry of Justice refusing to offer anything other than Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), he risked getting nothing for the first 3 days of sick leave and then only £19.17 a day after that. Like millions of workers across the country, Emanuel simply couldn’t afford to get sick. Doing so would have left him unable to buy food or pay his rent. Forcing him to make that choice ended up costing his life.

MoJ and OCS’ repeated refusal to give Emanuel and his colleagues occupational sick pay killed him. We call on the Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland, on the MoJ and on OCS, and all employers out there to step up and to pay all their workers full pay sick pay from day one of illness.

Help continue Emanuel’s fight.

Emanuel bravely went on strike two times as an agency worker over a living wage and occupational sick pay.

Contact the bosses at the Ministry of Justice and OCS the outsourcing company that employed Emmanuel.

Demand a living wage, occupational sick pay, and proper health and safety protections for all of their employees.

Peter Tierney, Account Director – Ministry of Justice & Home Office OCS Group UK Limited
Phone: 07738 481164

Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC – Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
Phone: 020 7219 7168 / 01793 533393

Here are some template emails addressed to OCS and MoJ.

Send solidarity photos and videos holding placards with messages for the MoJ and OCS.

These can be as simple as a sign saying ‘Justice for Emanuel: End Statutory Sick Pay at the MoJ’ or as creative as you would like to be. Please tweet your photo tagging @UVWunion and @MoJGovUK demanding sick pay, a living wage and better health and safety conditions for their workers.

Help Emanuel’s family

We are fundraising to help Emanuel’s family with the cost of repatriating his body to Guinea Bissau, funeral costs and to tied them over in the immediate aftermath of his death. Please share and donate if you can .You can find the Crowdfunder here

Hear from Fatima, a colleague of Emanuel’s and cleaner at the MOJ


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