Socialist Worker

Cleaning union activist sacked

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2169

Juan Carlos Piedra has become the latest victim of cleaning companies’ onslaught against employees involved in unionisation.

His employer, O&G, transferred Piedra, a member of the Unite union who is involved in the Justice for Cleaners campaign, from Barclays to University College London (UCL) last month.

His new manager called him into a meeting two days later to tell him that he had investigated his role in campaigns.

Piedra was then told that there was no job for him at UCL. Earlier O&G had suspended Piedra from his job at Barclays after he was accused of “poor cleaning standards”.


But evidence from Piedra’s disciplinary hearing reveals that there may have been another motive.

One manager said that the “cleaning is no problem” and that “you are in some sort of trade union… Everyone can be in a trade union – there is no problem about it – but the only problem is that you tell everyone.”

Many workers have been involved in fighting for better pay and conditions at high profile workplaces.

But the last year has seen a number of attacks on activists, who are mainly migrant workers.

The branch secretaries of the three trade unions at UCL have written to the provost of the university and an O&G manager expressing their anger that Piedra has been victimised for his trade union activities.

O&G was unavailable for comment on Tuesday of this week.

Protest in support of Juan Carlos Piedra and justice for cleaners, UCL Quad, Monday 21 Sept, 1pm

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Article information

Tue 15 Sep 2009, 19:34 BST
Issue No. 2169
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