Low paid cleaners and their supporters occupied the plush central London offices of the huge global investment bank Goldman Sachs this Tuesday.
Wealthy bankers, who usually ignore those who clean their offices, were forced to take notice for a change.
This was part of a campaign for decent pay by cleaners employed by the ISS agency to work in the offices of some of the world’s most powerful and profitable companies.
Around 25 workers occupied the lobby of the Goldman Sachs office on Fleet Street chanting, “No wages, no peace.”
The four storey, glass fronted lobby— its shiny chrome and marble surfaces cleaned daily by people working long, hard shifts for little reward—rose up above us.
It is in corporations like Goldman Sachs that executives will be enjoying their cut of the £8.8 billion paid out in Christmas bonuses to City fat cats this year.
The T&G union’s campaign to embarrass the companies that hire ISS is turning up the pressure.
Maria from Portugal was one of the cleaners at the protest. She works two jobs for £5.35 an hour. She said, “I have been a cleaner for five years. Most of the companies I’ve worked for don’t show cleaners any respect.
“They treat us like the rubbish we’re paid to take out. These big businesses survive because the cleaners are there. They get huge raises but they won’t give cleaners holiday or sick pay.
“We’re here to fight for a little dignity. If the cleaners are paid just a little more then we wouldn’t need to take two jobs. You could have a normal life.”
When workers tried to occupy the lobby some were knocked down by security guards. After ten minutes of protesting people tried to leave but the police stopped us.
The campaign for justice continues.