People who support migrant cleanersâ€™ struggles in London may well know of Juan Carlos Piedra, an Ecuadorian worker victimised at University College London because of his trade union activism. He has also been active in the solidarity efforts behind UBS bank cleaners in the City of London.
Juan Carlos has been called to an interim hearing for his EmploymentÂ Tribunal with LCC Services on Tuesday 25th May from 10 am.
It is to be held at:
EastÂ London Tribunal Service, 2nd Floor Anchorage House, 2 Clove Crescent, EastÂ India Dock, London, E14 2BE.
Nearest station is East India Quay DLR.
HeÂ Â is asking as many people as can come to be there from 9.30 inÂ a show of support and solidarity. A strong presence can help sway theÂ decision made.
Juan Carlosâ€™ story of victimisation begins several years back. After aÂ history of campaigning for the living wage and against deportation raidsÂ with the â€œJustice for Cleanersâ€ campaign within Unite, he was eventuallyÂ moved to University College London in August because managers at Office & General, the originalÂ employer, feared the success Juan Carlos was having in organisingÂ cleaners.
After being exiled from those he knew within O&G, he was told at UCL thatÂ there was to be no work for him, on grounds of being an active tradeÂ unionist. Eventually O&G agreed to reinstate him on fewer hours at a siteÂ in Tower Exchange in September.
O&G transferred Juan Carlos knowing full well they were about to lose theÂ contract â€“ so that he could be transferred to LCC, thus washing theirÂ hands of the problem. Managers in LCC expected the transferred cleaners toÂ take on extra duties and tasks, despite not being reflected in contracts.
When Juan Carlos refused, rightly, to perform these extra tasks, he beganÂ to suffer harassment from LCC managers. He began to be referred to inÂ registers as â€œMr Union Manâ€ rather than by his full name; other clearlyÂ intentional difficulties arose, such as being refused a security card, andÂ being refused access to cleaning equipment necessary to do his job. TheÂ managers were aggressive to him.
Juan Carlos raised a grievance with LCC for this bullying in November.Â Shortly thereafter he was suspended for, among other things, â€œmakingÂ complaints he is being bullied.â€ In other words, for taking issue with theÂ harassment and ultimately for being a trade unionist.
LCC offered Juan Carlos redeployment on unsuitable hours and at sites theyÂ knew fully well were too far for Juan Carlos to travel to. They claimedÂ the client asked for his removal, but could never supply evidence of this.Â He was dismissed in January.
Hat/tip: The Commune
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