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Clean up at Canary Wharf

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Union recognition at Canary Wharf, anti-deportation, TGWU hackney carriages, Connect conference
Issue 1908

SOME 150 cleaners have won union recognition with one of Europe’s major cleaning companies, ISS, at Canary Wharf in east London.

The low paid workers’ union, the TGWU, is now recognised. The TGWU has launched a recruitment drive for all cleaners at Canary Wharf.

Many of the cleaners are South American or African and can earn as little as £5.40 an hour. The TGWU, along with the TELCO organisation, is campaigning for a living wage of £6.70 in London.

TGWU leader Tony Woodley says, “This agreement represents a significant breakthrough in our campaign for modern, fighting-back trade unionism.”

Showing support for Tham Sarki

SUPPORTERS OF asylum seeker Tham Sarki are cranking up their campaign to win his right to stay in Britain.

Tham, who fled the civil war in Nepal which has claimed the lives of 8,000 people since it began in 1996, is due to appear at an immigration appeal hearing in the next few weeks.

The Tham Must Stay campaign is mobilising supporters to lobby that hearing.

An open letter will be sent to David Blunkett and to the national press in support of Tham.

Signatories so far include George Galloway MP, actor Maureen Lipman and local figures.

  • You can get copies of the letter by e-mailing [email protected] and you can sign a shortened version of the letter online at


    Driven towards new tactics

    WATFORD TGWU union hackney carriage drivers were evicted from their taxi rank at Watford Junction in January by rail company Silverlink and replaced by a minicab firm. The drivers have kept up a picket line since.

    On Friday of last week at Hemel Hempstead magistrates’ court they heard that their case against the minicab firm’s use of the taxi rank has again been adjourned. A court date is now set for November.

    Their patience has finally run out and it is unlikely that the drivers will be prepared to put up with Silverlink’s and the local authority’s manipulation of local by-laws.

    Connecting round strategy

    SOME 80 delegates from Connect, the telecoms union, met for its annual BT sectional conference in Coventry last week.

    There was anger at BT’s imposition of a 2004 pay offer that will mean pay cuts in real terms for many, despite the offer being rejected in a ballot by 97 percent of members.

    It was agreed to protest at BT’s Annual General Meeting in Cardiff in mid-July and to take the campaign to major BT buildings around the country.

    The main issue for the union is how to develop a strategy which deals with this and other attacks in a coordinated way.

    Keith Flett, Connect BT Committee (personal capacity)

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