Socialist Worker

Sotheby’s auction house warned of escalation

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2465

Protesters demanding reinstatement of victimised cleaners

Protesters demanding reinstatement of victimised cleaners (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Two out of four victimised workers have been reinstated at Sotheby’s auction house in central London.

Their supporters held a noisy march around the Mayfair block where Sotheby’s is based last Friday, demanding the reinstatement of the remaining two workers.

Following a number of protests outside their premises, Sotheby’s allowed two workers to return, telling them that it has restored “trust and confidence” in them. 

However the two workers, Percy Yunganina and Barbara Rocha, who were more active in the union United Voices of the World (UVW) are still kept out.

The UVW is a volunteer-run trade union that organises among migrant workers

Petros Elia from the UVW told Socialist Worker, “The treatment of Percy and Barbara has been absolutely deplorable. 

“They have been dragged through four supposedly informal meetings—but they are more like interrogations.”

Servest which employs them says Sotheby’s said it did not want them on site. 

This is because they went on a peaceful protest to demand sick pay and an end to victimisation of union members.

The cleaners are demanding to be given contractual sick-pay with better conditions from Servest.

In February this year a campaign by the workers won the London Living Wage.

 In the meetings Petros says the workers have been accused off “inciting violence” and “associating with extremists”.

Servest says they have “no case to answer”.

Protesters held up a banner saying “We’ll be back” to remind Sotheby’s that they will keep holding regular protests until the workers are reinstated.

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