Search

< News

28.03.2024 / News / /

Cleaners at the Department for Education launch second strike ballot over equality

“No sick pay, too much work, no proper holiday cover. We are treated with disdain and we are fed up and stressed but united in our resolve. We can’t wait for our ballot papers.”

Gloria Mancera, cleaner of 18 years service at DfE, and UVW member

The brave United Voices of the World (UVW) members who clean the Department for Education (DfE) have had enough of being ignored by their bosses and treated like second class citizens. Yesterday they instructed UVW to launch their second strike ballot in a year over parity of terms and conditions with civil servants.

Despite working in the DfE’s Sanctuary Buildings, the cleaners get worse annual leave, and sick pay entitlement than the civil service workers they clean-up after. Although they live and work in London, the cleaners get poverty wages below the recommended Real Living Wage of £13.15 per hour. As their wages stagnate, there has been a considerable increase in workload over recent years due to cuts to staffing levels, which has left the workforce exhausted and demoralised. 

Gloria Mancera, who’s been a cleaner at DfE for 18 years, said “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 and we are fed up and stressed but united in our resolve. We can’t wait for our ballot papers.”

The outsourced cleaners at the department took three days of strike action over the summer as part of a mass strike by UVW members demanding dignity, equality and respect. But as the cleaning contractor, ISS UK Limited (ISS), has refused to negotiate following numerous attempts by UVW, they’ve had no option but to call for a strike ballot again.

The cleaners at Sanctuary building deserve the same entitlement to family life as any other DfE colleague, they deserve to address their health needs as they arise, they should not have to work through sickness because they can’t afford not to work. The DfE cleaners deserve to feel valued and they deserve dignity, respect and above all equality with the civil servants, their suit wearing counterparts. It is unconscionable that in 2024 a Government department is being run by a two tier workforce where the mainly Black, brown and migrant cleaners are treated like second class citizens. UVW is an anti-racist union and we will back the courageous DfE cleaners all the way

The cleaners demand a pay rise to £13.15 per hour, backdated to October 2023, parity with civil servants for sick pay and annual leave, appropriate staffing levels and voluntary trade union recognition.

Support these brave workers. Keep your eyes peeled for updates on actions!

SHARE  

09.04.2024 /

Cleaners descend on The Dorchester Hotel over the sacking of Peruvian cloak room attendant 

28.03.2024 / /

Cleaners continue their epic battle against historic racial discriminatory outsourcing at Great Ormond Street Hospital in legal appeal

28.03.2024 / /

Cleaners at the Department for Education launch second strike ballot over equality

28.03.2024 /

United we are strong!

27.03.2024 /

Choose kindness over ruthlessness

26.03.2024 /

Outsourced migrant cleaner sacked for trying to do her job well

Newsletter

Stay up to date with our latest news, campaigns, trainings and events