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01.07.2022 / Press releases /

Strike averted as cleaners at luxury apartments win 16% pay rise

  • Cleaners at Riverside Quarter, a large luxury residence in Wandsworth, London, have won the London Living Wage, a 16% rise from the national minimum wage
  • This comes after the cleaners, who are United Voices of the World (UVW) members, voted to take strike action, with 100% of the UVW cleaners balloted voting to strike
  • The cleaners have also won 6 weeks half pay sick pay, a significant improvement on the statutory sick pay they were getting, which stands at £99.35 per week.

Latin American cleaners at Riverside Quarter in Wandsworth have won a pay rise above inflation and will now get more than the statutory minimum sick pay. These wins come after the cleaners won statutory union recognition earlier in June.

The cleaners, all full time workers from Bolivia and Ecuador, had been willing to strike to win their modest demands. The workers said the statutory minimum was not nearly enough to get them through the cost of living crisis in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Ernesto Suarez Velarde, a cleaner and UVW member, said:

It is truly proven that when a group is united and all are in the same mindset, victory will be achieved in the end. This is the case with us, we never gave up even though we had our concerns of being victimised for being trade unionists at the beginning. Yet thanks to our union UVW, they never abandoned us but rather gave us strength with their words to continue in this struggle. To all the comrades who are fighting at this moment for a better salary, don’t lose heart, be united, victory will come in the end, you just have to be determined.

Manual Callau Vidal, a cleaner and UVW member said:

“I am very happy for the victory that we have achieved after so much struggle, many thanks to our representatives at UVW for their support, and for giving us encouragement and confidence in this struggle, which at the beginning seemed impossible, but when one remains united everything is possible. To the comrades who are fighting, stay united and don’t lose hope that in the end you will come out with the victory.”

Chris Hudson, a union representative for UVW, said:

“This dispute was won through the determination of the Riverside cleaners, standing together, to take strike action if necessary to win a better deal. And the disparity was stark. Despite being key workers and working at a luxury residential complex with two-bedroom flats going for close to £800,000, they were only being afforded minimum wage and statutory sick pay, even though they worked throughout the pandemic.

“Their victory will put an extra £3,000 a year into the cleaners’ pockets, constituting an inflation-busting pay rise of over 16%, and also means they will receive a further pay rise come 1 January 2023. Having also won trade union recognition earlier this month via the Central Arbitration Committee, we will now finalise the details of a collective bargaining agreement which will oblige their employer to regularly come to the table to negotiate with the workers on their terms and conditions. This is another example of migrant workers leading the way in wage hikes.”

For further information contact the UVW comms team.

Jim: 07749 765264
E-mail: comms@uvwunion.org.uk

Notes for editors

United Voices of the World is an anti-racist, member-led, direct action, campaigning trade union and we exist to support and empower the most vulnerable groups of precarious, low-paid and predominantly BAME and migrant workers in the UK. We fight the bosses through direct action on the streets and through the courts and demand that all members receive at least the London Living Wage, full pay, sick pay, dignity, equality and respect.

Riverside Quarter is a large private luxury residence located in Wandsworth, London. The development comprises around 650 flats across nine residential buildings, with commercial uses on the ground floor, one, two and three bedroom apartments and penthouses.

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