Socialist Worker

House of commons cleaners win campaign for a living wage

Issue No. 1988

Cleaners at the Houses of Parliament have won their campaign for a living wage of £6.70 an hour, sick pay and 28 days holidays. The cleaners held two one-day strikes – the first strikes ever seen at the Houses of Parliament.

Evrard Ouale, T&G union shop steward at the Houses of Parliament during the campaign, said, “Cleaners stood up and demanded respect, and now we have it.

“Parliament is a different place to work in now we are more valued. The campaign showed that cleaners have the power to change their conditions when they stand together.”

Jack Dromey, T&G deputy general secretary, said, “One year ago, parliament paid poverty wages. Now the cleaners have won a living wage and respect.”

The cleaners will receive an increase in pay from £5.20 to £6.10 from 1 March, with further increases of 30p an hour in October with a view to achieving £6.70 in January next year.

Everyone will also get sick pay and 28 days holiday, with immediate effect. Negotiations over pensions continue, says the union.

This is a terrific victory – but questions need to be asked about the T&G’s overall strategy in other cleaners’ pay campaigns.

Cleaners are still battling over the same issues at the Canary Wharf office complex in London. Small concessions come from time to time, but the majority are still without sick pay or a decent living wage. Strike action could make all the difference in this campaign.

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Sat 18 Feb 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1988
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