Lancaster Office Cleaning Company has caved in to a campaign by cleaners and their supporters in London and Edinburgh demanding union recognition and a living wage.
The Kent-based company provides cleaners for several major financial houses, such as the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Merrill Lynch.
The cleaners’ protests have been organised by the T&G union. Its strategy has been to bypass the agencies to directly lobby or embarrass the huge corporations that contract out their cleaning to them.
In the week that the campaign switched its focus to Lancaster, RBS announced pre?tax profits of over £9 billion. Protests were organised outside the RBS’s plush offices in London and Edinburgh.
Mike Brider, T&G regional secretary for Scotland, was at the picket in Edinburgh. “A fraction of the money top executives are in line for would ensure the cleaners are able to work with dignity and respect,” he said.
The T&G’s Justice For Cleaners campaign is fighting for all cleaners in the city of London to get a living wage of £7.05 an hour, sick pay, 20 days holiday plus bank holidays, a pension and union recognition.
This week saw the campaign move on to target Mitie and Greencrest, whose clients include the Bank of England and Dutch bank ING.
Sources say ISS, the cleaning agency first targeted by the T&G, has also agreed to the campaign’s demands, though union officials decline to comment.
The victory at Lancaster is a great achievement. But the campaign would be more effective if the T&G was willing to back cleaners who want to take strike action.
It is vital that cleaners across the City all receive decent pay and conditions—and this requires united action by cleaners employed by all the major agencies.