IWW victory! John Lewis cleaners win pay rise

The industrial Workers of the World are proud to announce their victory in their latest John Lewis cleaners' campaign. On Friday 16 November, the IWW-unionised John Lewis cleaning staff employed by contractor Integrated Cleaning Management won a 9% pay rise as a result of their campaign.

Submitted by IWW Europe on November 23, 2012

Outsourced John Lewis cleaners have won an immediate and backdated 9% pay rise following their pledge of industrial action. The increase, backdated 5 months, takes their pay to £6.72 per hour at three central London sites, and £6.50 at one outer London site. Supervisors will now get £8.00 per hour and £7.84 respectively.

The cleaners work at four different John Lewis sites in London and are employed by cleaning contractor Integrated Cleaning Management (ICM).

United in the IWW trade union [1], the cleaners notified their employer, ICM, last week of the trade dispute [2] and impending ballot for industrial action [3]. This ballot could have seen visible and noisy industrial action by cleaners at four John Lewis sites in London in the run up to Christmas.

John Lewis has seen pre-Christmas profits increase on last year already. The company are proud of their partnership structure, where all staff are ‘partners’ who share in the company’s profits.

But John Lewis’ cleaning contract is outsourced to MML, who outsource it again to ICM. The cleaners have seen their hours reduce and workload increase, while they were paid minimum wage of £6.19 – and they don’t share in the profits.

This increase, including a backdated lump sum just before Christmas, will make a real difference to our members’ lives. ICM further pledged to look at the potential to pay a Living Wage of £8.55 as they enter contract talks early in 2013 [4].

IWW National Secretary Frank Syratt said:

“It is our members’ unity, solidarity and courageous stance that has won this increase. They are an inspiration and a lesson to other workers”

“There is still work to do. John Lewis needs to ensure all their workers – whether partners or outsourced - take home a Living Wage of £8.55 and receive full sick pay, lifting them out of poverty and insecurity. IWW pledges to continue organising and campaigning to make this happen”.

Contact: south[at]iww.org.uk for more information.

Notes :

1. IWW is an independent industrial union, organising workers in all industries. Please see www.iww.org.uk for more information.

2. For details of the trade dispute, please see the press release of Monday 12th November, which can be found at http://iww.org.uk/node/814 and on Libcom.org at http://libcom.org/blog/iww-cleaners-john-lewis-new-pay-dispute-12112012

3. For details of the call to ballot the John Lewis cleaners for industrial action, please see the press release on of Wednesday 14th November, which can be found at http://iww.org.uk/node/819 and on Libcom.org at http://libcom.org/blog/iww-cleaners-john-lewis-ballot-industrial-action-14112012

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

4. 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.