On Monday 7th November at 10am, the cleaners of the prestigious London Guildhall will be holding a noisy and lively protest against their direct employers, Sodexo, and also the City of London Corporation, who control the cleaning contract. Their demands are: dignity and respect at work from management, the reinstatement of victimised union rep Wilmer Cardenas and to receive the London Living Wage which is currently set at £8.30.
There will be other solidarity demonstrations taking place by other cleaners, workers and students in France, Colombia, USA and around the globe protesting about workers’ rights abuses by Sodexo in solidarity with the US based “Kick out Sodexo” campaign. This protest will be the third demonstration staged by Guildhall cleaners this year, whom have been unionised by the IWW, following a period in July where several migrant cleaners had not received weeks of pay and the contracting company Ocean failed to resolve it in a timely manner until successive organised protest demonstrations were held.
Raquel, a mother of two explains why she is taking part:
“Every day I wake up at 5:00am and get home at 12:00 pm. I receive £6.08 per hour, and my life is spent if not at work then travelling on the Underground going from one job to another. The money I receive after tax and travel costs is not enough for me to survive and support my family, I have no extra help. Often I get more than 20 hours of work, I am one of the lucky ones as many of my co-workers struggle in misery on 4 to 6 hours.”
Chris Ford, an IWW organiser says:
“The City of London Corporation has had plenty of bad publicity due to other recent protests. How can they ‘highly commend’ the GLA Group for its Sustainability Procurement Award in 2009, but fail to apply those standards to its own procurement now in 2011? It should give itself a good news story by ending its hypocrisy on procurement and pay these cleaners the London Living Wage.”
John McDonnell MP for Hayes and Harlington supports the protest and says:
“Low paid workers across the world are demonstrating that they’ve had enough and are not talking it anymore. Workers are on the march again and are demanding their rights and I am with them all the way.”
Protest details: Monday 7th November 2011, 10am – 12pm, The Guildhall, Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HH
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