cleaners

Tribute to Ernesto Leal, a founder of the London migrant cleaners' movement

Tribute written by members of the Latin American Workers' Association (LAWAS) in 2009 after the death of Ernesto Leal (11 January 1938 - 22 October 2009), Chilean communist exile who eventually moved to London, working as a cleaner and founding LAWAS. In the same days of Leal's death, Unite the union purged LAWAS, leading cleaners to join the IWW and eventually founding IWGB and UVW, which continue to organise cleaners and other low-wage migrant workers in London's service sector. We republish it here from The Commune (now defunct) in light of the recent historic victories of migrant cleaners at LSE and SOAS.

UK: A Promising Hospital Strike

Cleaners manifesting during London hospital strike 2017

Since the Spring of this year in several London hospitals about 750 cleaners, security personnel and porters have been in dispute with their employer, Serco. They are part of the lowest paid workers in the U.K.

Coalition representing 350,000 announces May 1st strike

Picture from the May 1st 2006 "Day Without Immigrants" strike

Workers will strike on International Worker's Day to protest worsening conditions across the country

Mississippi's first labour union - Ken Lawrence

Washerwomen at work in 1910

A short account of the first trade union in Mississippi, which was created in 1866 by African-American washerwomen.

Atlanta's washerwomen strike, 1881

African-American washerwomen, 19th-century

A short history of the strike of overwhelmingly African-American women laundresses in Atlanta Georgia. Coming only shortly after the abolition of slavery, the strike was successful in raising wages and establishing a union.

Letter on the IWW Domestic Workers Union, 1917 - Jane Street

Women members of the IWW lead a march in Manhattan

Fascinating letter from the secretary of the domestic workers' section of the Industrial Workers of the World union in Denver, 1917 about their activities and the sexism they faced from other union members. The letter was illegally seized by the government and only discovered nearly 60 years later.

Jolting memory: Nightcleaners recalled - Sheila Rowbotham

Frames from Nightcleaners

Sheila Rowbotham recalls both the campaigns to organise female night cleaners in London from 1970, and the 1975 film by Marc Karlin about the same.

New foundations for struggle and solidarity: The culmination of development and privatization on a Guangzhou Island

Guangzhou Sanitation Strike

An in-depth look at a strike by sanitation workers in Guangzhou and the new terrain of class struggle developing in China.

Finance Ministry cleaners protest mass firings

Several hundred cleaners previously employed by Greece's Finance Ministry have been protesting their mass firing.

The struggle of the Belchatow hospital workers: why it is so important

The ZSP union in Poland is currently involved in several important struggles against the exploitation of especially vulnerable categories of workers such as the elderly and people with disabilities. The union is taking on the exploitative practices of outsourcing and the way of conducting public tenders.