Cleaners are staging a sit in at the Corporation of London’s Guildhall in protest at the inadequate response of their employer, the contractor Sodexo over the abusive treatment of women employees.
Friday 23rd December, 6am onwards
The Guildhall, London, EC2V 7HH
Cleaners staging sit in at Corporation of London’s Guildhall over abuse of women!
The cleaners who are organised by the independent workers union, the Industrial Workers of the World say their action comes after a growing frustration with Sodexo (and their predecessor Ocean) following persistent complaints regarding the conduct of certain members of the management team at Guildhall. Repeatedly complaints have been raised with respect to varying degrees of the mistreatment especially women, including extreme acts such as bullying, confinement of individuals, intimidation and assault.
The cleaners say the last straw was an incident involving a manager and one of the union representatives on Monday 21 November. The rep Isabel Martin was followed to a room in the basement of Guildhall, where she was blocked from leaving with the door closed, then it is alleged a male supervisor subjected her to an outburst of aggression and intimidating behaviour, the terrified women felt was under threat of real physical violence.
The IWW London Regional Secretary Chris Ford states that ‘the union has raised concerns and complaints of the treatment of employees on enough previous occasions with the employers to warrant sufficient preventative measures to safeguard the safety employees and to ensure no further mistreatment may occur. In the summer a mass meeting of cleaners had called for the removal of those managers responsible for ill-treatment of workers.’ The last incident the IWW insists could have been avoided if the concerns of workers were respected and acted upon beforehand. One cleaner stated: ‘These big companies need to put the safety of the workers before the reputation of the City of London Corporation’.
The union feels Sodexo have dragged their feet over this incident – they raised a complaint in letters of 22/11/2011 and 29/11/2011 but it took twenty days before the women worker was formally interviewed. Her complaint of such a serious matter has been treated as a mere grievance.
For the last two days a number of workers have refused to undertake their cleaning duties and are staging a sit in at the reception of the Guildhall. They are demanding robust action that can protect women workers from such ill-treatment occurring again.
Anyone give an update on
Anyone give an update on this?
As far as I know, this sit in
As far as I know, this sit in is still going on from 6 to 10 am every morning when Guildhall is open, and the workers would welcome people coming to show their support.
The police came down today in
The police came down today in force and intimidated the cleaners into leaving, they were upset but still united and up for it.
I feel guilty, I never even
I feel guilty, I never even saw this :oops: . Will try and make it down, but I think it is going to clash with my work!
it was literally 'get out or
it was literally 'get out or we will arrest you', coupled with standard macho bullshit and pushing.
For anyone wanting to come down to support them, the nearest tube station is St.Pauls or Bank
Heres a map
Folks, as far as I know they
Folks, as far as I know they are not carrying on with it next week, will check and update asap.
Report about Friday Guildhall
Report about Friday
Guildhall cleaners intimidated by police and forced to leave their sit in.
Cleaners at the Guildhall have been holding a sit in and stopping work since the 22nd of December because of mistreatment and intimidation. Early this morning management called the police, who came and intimidated and threatened the cleaners. The cleaners protested that they were holding a completely peaceful sit-in. They finally left due to police threats to drag them out physically.
The cleaners started organising in the summer, striking against unpaid wages. Since then they have been fighting for union recognition, better pay and an end to bad working conditions. After a new company, Sodexho, took over the cleaning contract, their union rep was suspended and they have been subject to all kinds of intimidation and abuse. The workers say there is one supervisor in particular who is abusive to them and there are currently various complaints by different cleaners against him, but Sodexho are refusing to do anything about his behavior. Sodexho are trying to drive out the organised cleaners by continually changing their work areas, giving them the worst jobs, increasing their workload and, now, using intimidation and harassment.
Four of the cleaners currently have injuries to their arms or shoulders due to the work they are being told to do. They feel they are working in a climate of fear. Today a cleaner told us, “What seems incredible to me is that we live in England which they say is a country which defends human rights, and because I protest for my rights at work they call the police on me. And this supervisor, who is bullying and threatening all the workers, he is untouchable. They call the police on me, and him they send on holiday.” Another cleaner said “For standing up for my rights at work, they have subjected me to constant threats and bullying. For two hours I was shut in an area, two days running, alone in an isolated area and they are carrying on punishing us every day, because every day they give us different work and every day it is harder and harder.” Another said “you know what their aim is? Everyone who worked for Ocean [the previous company that Sodexho took over from] and is in the union and who fights for their rights, they are on our backs until we leave. A lot of people have left and those of us who are still here they are hurting us all the time.”
The cleaners forcefully pointed out to the police the difference between how they were treated for having a peaceful sit in and how the company were allowed to get away with injuring them and threatening them, and left with their heads held high after maintaining their sit in for several days.
The sit in isn't carrying on,
The sit in isn't carrying on, so don't come next week, but hopefully Guildhall haven't heard the last of this, so keep your eyes peeled and we will try to get info out properly if there is a protest soon.