31.05.2023 / News /
“We are slowly losing all of our rights. We want our bosses to see that they have made the wrong choices because we are not prepared to give up our rights.”Carlos Llerena, cleaner at Streatham and Clapham High School and UVW member
Some 145 low- paid and migrant cleaners, carers and concierge workers, UVW members, across the public and private sectors, will walk out of their jobs simultaneously on the 13, 15 and 20 June to demand dignity, equality and respect. The brave strikers and their supporters will kick off the three-day strike action through central London aboard a double-decker open-top bus!
The seven workplaces involved in the dispute include billion-pound global giants Amazon and publishing powerhouse Ogilvy, the prestigious London School of Economics and the private Streatham and Clapham High School in South London, the Department of Education, Sage Nursing home and West End Quays luxury flats.
The low-paid, Black, brown and migrant workers- many of them outsourced to third party companies paying them poverty wages by these financially-sound companies and institutions- are joining forces because they’ve had enough of being treated like second class workers.
“We do not want to be outsourced because it’s almost like being sub-employed. This has a very negative effect on us workers, as we are slowly losing all of our rights. We want our bosses to see that they have made the wrong choices because we are not prepared to give up our rights,” says UVW striker Carlos Llerena, cleaner at Streatham and Clapham High School.
Among the demands, the workers want a pay rise to cope with the increased cost of living. In some cases they are asking for a modest increase to the London Living Wage (LLW) of £11.95 per hour, such as at Amazon, while some are demanding £13 and even £15 an hour. Others are asking for their lawful entitlement to annual leave pay and amended contracts which is being denied such as at the LSE; at Streatham and Clapham High School the cleaners are calling for full sick pay and an end to outsourcing; and in the Department for Education the workers are demanding parity with civil service benefits.
All of these strikes form part of 11 disputes, with nine workplaces balloted for strike action in May. Two of the 11 disputes were already won on the threat of the strike ballots alone with pay rises of 19.5% and 11% for cleaners at the Mercedes showroom in Dartford and at the Condé Nast offices in the Adelphi Building, respectively. Cleaners at a third workplace, the Mercedes showroom in Colindale, won a 25% pay increase after voting massively to strike.
Talks are at an advanced stage at La Retraite Catholic school with a settlement avoiding redundancies looking likely before the scheduled strike dates. UVW has been invited to negotiations for the Amazon cleaners and the West End Quays cleaners and concierge workers, with talks at both workplaces scheduled for the week starting Monday 5 June.
José Francisco Mora Varón, UVW striker and cleaner at Amazon, says the choice for ALL low-paid, migrant workers is clear. “To those workers that are already union members, don’t let your bosses divide you, and to those who are not, join the struggle without any fear in the knowledge that there are those who are going through the same situation. Do not allow fear to defeat you. This is the strategy that all companies use to make us believe that they are in the right, so that we let ourselves be trampled on, so that we let ourselves be pressured. Don’t be afraid of losing your job, because at the end of the day this is happening everywhere in the UK.”
In response to the strike ballot result, Streatham and Clapham High School has made an initial offer on 26 May. The workers want to see this offer increased and the contractors and the school to recognise their union for the purposes of collective bargaining, if strike action is to be averted.
If you want to support these brave workers, you can DONATE and or SHARE their strike crowdfunder.
You can also JOIN their action group for updates on the campaign.
Ge to know the workers and their demands here and SPREAD THE WORD!
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