Cleaners organised with the United Voices of the World union are set to strike for a living wage at the Bank of New York in Canary Wharf while cleaners' disputes continue at the London School of Economics and Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
United Voices of the World union members who clean the plush offices of one of the wealthiest financial institutions on the planet, the Bank of New York Mellon at Canary Wharf, have just notified the bosses of their intention to strike in their fight against poverty pay and for a living wage.
The cleaners - all migrants from Latin America whose labour helps keep London running - are the latest so called 'unorganisable' and ‘invisible’ workers to stand up for dignity and respect, and demand that their measley £8.50 an hour wages be raised to at least the £10.20 an hour London Living Wage.
The UVW members who work through the night at the bank to keep the glittering glass skyscrapers of the global financial elite sparkling, have shown great courage in taking on a bank with annual revenues of $15 billion and which has just recieved an almost half a billion dollars corporate welfare tax break handout from from their friend in the White House, migrant-hating president Trump.
So whining about how they can’t afford to pay their cleaners a decent wage just isn’t going to cut it in this dispute.
Cleaners disputes continue at LSE and Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
Cleaners are set to sue the LSE University in a huge class action Equal Pay claim which could cost the LSE around £500,000.
Last year UVW won a historic victory which saw all of LSE's cleaners being brought in-house after 7 days of strike action, the first cleaners strike in the LSE's history and the largest in the UK at the time. The move in-house resulted in the early termination of a £5 million cleaning contract with the embittered company Noonan.
Since moving in-house the cleaners T&Cs in respect of pensions, sick pay, annual leave, maternity/paterniry/adoption leave pay have all been uplifted in line with other LSE staff.
However, the cleaners hourly wage has remained at least £1.90 less per hour than the lowest paid member of staff on the LSE's own internal pay scales. Why the LSE feels it can short change the cleaners - the majority of whom are women and all of whom are BAME migrants - by thousands of pounds a year is for them to answer. In meantime we'll be taking them to court for unlawful discrimination and demanding around campus Justice and Equality (yet again!) for thr LSE cleaners.
In other news, UVW members who clean the Kensington and Chelsea town halls submitted a claim for a nearly 25% wage increase from their current poverty wage of £7.83 per hour, to the London Living Wage of £10.20 per hour.
The cleaners are outsourced to Amey, the company to which cleaning services are also outsourced to at Hammersmith & Fulham and Westminster councils, which together make up the Tri-borough, a project launched in 2011 to share services across the 3 councils.
A few days after submitting the claim Amey contacted UVW to discuss it with them and confirmed that the council would be considering it this week.
Despite the prompt and positive initial response from the council the cleaners and their union are anything but complacent and are prepared and poised to strike if the council in any way disregards the cleaner's claim.
Furthermore, if RBKC pays the cleaner's the living wage, it will likely have a knock on effect for other workers including receptionists and not just at RBKC but also at Hammersmith & Fulham and Westminster councils.
Reposted and reformatted into a single article from various posts on the United Voices of the World Facebook page.