Socialist Worker

Indefinite strike demands justice for City cleaners

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2510

Strikers and their supporters protesting last week

Strikers and their supporters protesting last week (Pic: Candy Udwin)

City of London cleaners have been on all-out strike for four weeks.

The United Voices of the World (UVW) union members are fighting Thames Cleaning bosses’ decision to sack half of the workforce to save money. They also demand the London Living Wage.

The firm spent £20,000 on an injunction to stop the strike but failed.

Petros Elias, general secretary of UVW, said, “We’re going to stay out until we get the London Living Wage. The cleaners are already on poverty wages and now get half the number of cleaning hours to get the same amount of work done.”

Strikers marched with supporters last week on the offices of CBRE Ltd, which manages the 100 Wood Street building where it contracts Thames Cleaning.

CBRE is one of the largest real estate companies in the world.

Alan Gibson from the National Union of Journalists spoke to the crowd.

“For 15 years the cleaners have been cleaning up rubbish and after all this time half of them are fired and the rest are threatened with the sack,” he said.

“What kind of a way is that to treat people?”

Candy Udwin from the PCS union said that at her workplace, the National Gallery, CBRE has a cleaning contract. She said, “I’m going to be asking questions of them about why they’re letting this happen in Wood Street.”

Victor, one of the strikers, was defiant and angry, “There may be few of us, but we are quality. There may be few of us but we are fighters and we have hot blood!

“We’re going to carry on this strike and we will do whatever’s necessary to win.”

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