City cleaners demo and new calloutTagged as: workers_struggles
Neighbourhoods: city london of
Sacked cleaners and their supporters gathered for the second time outside the Willis Building in the heart of the City of London, where they used to work until forced out by cleaning contractors Mitie, apparently determined to use the recession to break union organisation. 'We'll back and that's a fact" they chanted at the end, and they will be - this Thursday 26th of February at 1pm.
This protest was self-organised, as their slogan 'Cleaners for Justice' indicated. Armed with our own placards, leaflets, and whistles, we made a right noise.
Cleaners from nearby Schroders investment bank were among those who came to show their solidarity. Workers from countries as diverse as Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Poland, the UK and Sao Tome (Africa) joined together to show their anger, chanting in English and Spanish.
We appeal to everyone to come and support the next protest to increase the pressure on Willis to tell its cleaning company to behave.
This Thursday at 1pm at 51 Lime Street London EC3M 7DQ.
Bring union and other banners and music and noise...
The cleaners worked for Mitie Cleaning and Support Services, who are under contract to global insurance brokers Willis Group Holdings. This month Willis recently reported a net income for 2008 of $303 million. They are the only global insurance broker with a UK headquarters and clients range from governments to multinationals.
This dispute started a few months ago when Mitie, without consulting the workers as it ought to have done, established new contracts with Willis Group forcing workers to work full time at night. A situation which the cleaners could not accept.
This attack was successfully confronted at the time by the workers, at the same time as they were involved in a campaign for the Living Wage. But today the struggle needs fresh support, because five Unite union members have since been made forcibly redundant, including the shop steward Edwin Pazmino. It is clear that the company is using restructuring to attack the workers' organization.
Negotiations between the union and Mitie on matter broke down, following which the workers wrote to both Willis Group Holdings and cleaning contractors Mitie on the 9th of February 2009 to say:
"We are 5 cleaners dismissed from your building because we were trying to get better conditions to all the workers. MITIE Cleaning and Support Services Ltd. After we asked for increase of wages they changed the working shifts from 7 to 11 pm to work overnight 10 to 6 am, that change was a clear move to attack and stop us claiming our rights. After the change an interchange of emails with the company and before any appeal the company illegally send us the P45 dismissing us on grounds of redundancy.
Following our letter dated 26th January we would like to let you know that we decided to suspend demonstrations on 30th January at the request of MITIE to negotiate. But unfortunately we could not get our jobs back as requested, and even we did not get any alternative or answer, so we have decided to start a series of demonstrations outside Willis's building starting from Thursday 12th February 2009 until we get our jobs back.
We are appealing to your common sense in order to get our jobs back; we have families to support and children to feed. We are completely sure about the unfairness of the company decision..."
Report of the first demonstration at http://thecommune.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/demo-in-the-city-against-unfair-dismissal-of-cleaners/
The demonstrations are supported also by Schroders bank cleaners, London Coalition Against Poverty, Ecuadorian Movement in the UK (MERU)....
These sackings are taking place in various workplaces, so we must be on the alert and fight back in unity to guarantee our rights at work.
Contact Willis cleaners at the email below. Messages of support welcome.
For general info write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact email: http://email@example.com