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26.04.2023 / Press releases /

International Workers’ Day to see mass strike ballots open for cleaners, carers and concierges

  • Members of the United Voices of the World (UVW) union from seven different workplaces across London to vote on strike action as ballots open on International Workers’ day.
  • The workers – representing cleaners, care home workers and concierges from both the public and private sectors – are all low-paid, Black, brown and migrant workers.
  • Workplaces involved in the dispute include Amazon warehouses, Mercedes showrooms, London School of Economics, a prestigious south London private school and a state school, Sage Nursing home and luxury flats.

United Voices of the World (UVW) union is to open ballots for workers across seven workplaces on 1 May, after a unanimous vote at a strikers’ assembly to coordinate walkouts across London and the South East for improved pay and working conditions.

This is set to be UVW’s biggest industrial action to date as members join the current strike wave across the private and public sectors. Strike dates will be announced soon.

UVW’s migrant, precarious and low-paid members keep both public and private sectors running. Hospitals, universities, restaurants, warehouses, nursing homes – to name just a few – would grind to a standstill without UVW members working hard to keep them clean, safe and operating round the clock. But despite making up 18 percent of the employed population and contributing to the economy, migrant workers are more likely to work shifts, particularly night shifts, split shifts and weekends, to be in non-permanent jobs and to be in jobs for which they are overqualified, while on minimum pay and dismal conditions.  

Julia from Sage Nursing home said: “We need to go out together, it doesn’t matter if you are different workers in different workplaces. The most important thing is to be united. If you don’t fight you will never have anything. You have to ask for a lot to get a little. So let’s fight but let’s fight together. It is the only way and with our union we can win. We went out on strike, we won some of what we asked for and now we are going again to get the rest.”

Francisco from Amazon: “We need to be listened to, respected and treated with dignity. In the UK, there are many of us who feel bullied and harassed on a daily basis under constant threats of dismissal… All this on top of terrible salaries. We are living in a historic moment in one of the richest countries of the world. Workers are facing abuse, rampant inflation and not being paid enough. We cannot even cover our basic expenses meanwhile the cost of living continues to rise. We hope to encourage those who are afraid to complain to step forward and to not fear anymore. They are not alone. We say enough is enough, no more exploitation of migrant workers. Justice now!”

Petros Elia, general secretary for UVW, said:

“The cost-of-living crisis has impacted everyone, including low-paid, precarious, and migrant workers who are fed up with not receiving a decent wage, equality, and respect at work. UVW members know the only way to change their situation is by building power in workplaces and communities, and the only way to win is through collective direct action. We call on the movement to stand with us and build the biggest mass strike action our union has organised to date. This summer will be our summer of dissent.”

For further information contact the UVW comms team.

Jim: 07749 765264

Cristina: 07548 759340 

Isabel: 07706 987443

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.

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