On Monday 12th November 2012 the Industrial Workers of the World union (IWW) lodged a fresh pay dispute on behalf of outsourced cleaners at John Lewis.
On Monday 12 November 2012 the Industrial Workers of the World union (IWW)  lodged a fresh pay dispute on behalf of outsourced cleaners at John Lewis. This follows an IWW cleaners' strike at John Lewis in Oxford Street earlier in the year  – the first strike in John Lewis history.
In the run up to Christmas and January sales, John Lewis can expect to see profits spike, taking in millions in sales. Meanwhile, IWW members working in John Lewis buildings are earning the minimum wage of just £6.19 per hour.
Budget cuts have seen their workloads increase, leading to stress, sickness and depression. But with no sick pay, the John Lewis cleaners have to carry on regardless. Meanwhile, poverty pay means home life is a daily struggle.
The cleaners, working at four John Lewis sites in London, including the famous Peter Jones store in Sloane Square and the company headquarters in Victoria, are not part of John Lewis’ famous ‘partnership’. Instead they are employed by a contractor, Integrated Cleaning Management Ltd. (ICM), which itself is part of the giant Compass Group Ltd.
But now these second class workers have had enough.
Following extensive attempts by the workers to improve their situation, their union IWW entered a new pay claim with ICM on 26th October. Clear, realistic and reasonable, not to mention necessary, the pay claim aims at an immediate and backdated increase to £6.72 per hour for cleaners, £8 per hour for supervisors, plus a timetable of discussions aimed at securing full London Living Wage of £8.55 per hour  and full sick pay.
ICM have not been able to respond within the agreed 14 day period and therefore on 12 November 2012, IWW moved to lodge this fresh trade dispute. If no resolution is forthcoming, IWW and their members are ready and willing to pursue any lawful action available, up to and including lawful industrial action in the run up to Christmas and January sales.
For more information, please contact: south[at]iww.org.uk
1. IWW is an independent industrial union, organising workers in all industries. Please see www.iww.org.uk for more information.
2. IWW cleaner members, employed by ICM and working at John Lewis Oxford Street took strike action in August 2012 demanding a Living Wage and an end to hours cuts. They stopped hours cuts and won an increase from £6.08 per hour to £6.72 per hour. Photographs of the previous strike at Oxford Street are available from Peter Marshall at http://www.demotix.com/users/peter-marshall/profile
3. The new London Living Wage rate of £8.55 (£7.45 outside London) was announced last week by Mayor Boris Johnson during Living Wage week hosted by the Living Wage Foundation and KPMG. In the same week it was announced that 5 million workers (1 in 5) in the UK do not earn a Living Wage, the minimum amount necessary to live properly on.
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