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21.04.2020 / News /

Dispute at Spotify headquarters intensifies in row over mistreatment of cleaners

Dispute at Spotify headquarters intensifies in row over mistreatment of cleaners

  • Cleaners allege their health has been put in danger at headquarters of Spotify and The Economist

  • Despite the building being empty, cleaners are being forced into work

  • JPC Cleaning Services Limited refuses to furlough employees or pay those who have had to self-isolate

  • Trade union United Voices of the World (UVW) has vowed to begin immediately escalating the dispute

Trade union United Voices of the World (UVW) has vowed to escalate its dispute at the Adelphi Building owned by Amancio Ortega – one of the richest men in the world – and home to the headquarters of Spotify and The Economist. Multiple cleaners employed by cleaning firm JPC Cleaning Services Limited have alleged that they’ve been left without sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and had their health knowingly put in danger by management, with some of the most shocking allegations being that managers misled staff over confirmed cases of COVID-19, and had them unknowingly disinfect infected areas.

Cleaners have also complained of being forced to attend work (and therefore take public transport) despite the building being empty and neither they nor the building’s tenants being defined as Key Workers. The Adelphi Building is managed by real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of 16.3 billion dollars and whose CEO, Christian Ulbrich, enjoys a 9,548,080-dollar income.

UVW Caseworker and Rep, Petros Elia, said the following: ‘Today, we’ve managed to force JPC to backdate these workers’ pay and to pay them the London Living Wage, but this isn’t enough. It is disgraceful that these cleaners are having their health and the health of their families and the wider public put at risk. They are not Key Workers, something which JPC have acknowledged, so there is no reason for them to be risking their lives cleaning the empty offices of multinational firms. We will not stop until JPC does the right thing and furloughs these workers.’

One worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said the following, ‘I have no idea what they [JPC Cleaning Services] are on about when they talk of having implemented safety measures. When I got to work this morning there were no gloves and we’ve had to reuse the same masks all week. There aren’t even enough masks to go about. There’s only 10 available, but 17 of us work here. The quantity of hand sanitiser is pathetic, if we’re meant to wash our hands continuously, how can 50 millilitres of sanitizer do the job? The tubes of disinfectant are so small they look like they’ve been made for a doll’s house. We’re stressed, because not only are we not protected when we’re in the building, we’re also putting ourselves and our families at risk having to travel to and from work. Bus drivers have died from COVID-19 and we’re being asked to risk our lives coming to clean a building which is completely empty! This isn’t fair’.

Another worker, who also wished to remain anonymous, said the following, ‘ It’s clear as day they don’t value us or our health. If they did, we wouldn’t be here. We believe they’ve lied to us about floors which were infected with COVID, at the moment floors 8 and 9 are completely shut off. And they’re refusing to pay colleagues who’ve had to self-isolate to protect themselves and their families. One of our colleagues has a serious health condition but is being forced to work. He is in grave danger’.

-Ends-

Notes

If you would like to speak directly with the workers, please contact:

Kane Shaw, Editorial Lead – Campaign Communications. Tel. 07950 927798 Email. kane@uvwunion.org.uk

Petros Elia, Caseworker and Rep. Tel. 07884 553443. Email. petros@uvwunion.org.uk

Correction: Blackrock was incorrectly listed as a tenant of the Adelphi Building.

Correction dated 24 April 2020: It was originally listed that JPC Cleaning employed engineers at the Adelphi site and had sent these engineers home. However, it has since been confirmed that these engineers are employed by a third-party company.

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