|picket outside Kensington & Chelsea town hall|
By New Worker correspondent
Cleaners at Kensington & Chelsea Council, HealthCare America and the Ministry of Justice, at five different sites, started three days of strike action on 7th August to demand the London living wage, currently set at £10.20 per hour, and decent sick pay.
The action was organised by the United Voices of the World (UVW), a small independent union that represents low-paid, predominantly migrant workers in Britain. Although small, the UVW has already won the living wage, sick pay and holiday pay for cleaners all over London, including at the Daily Mail, Sotheby’s and the London School of Economics (LSE).
On the day the new strike started, Kensington and Chelsea Council announced that it would be bringing all outsourced contracts with Amey back in-house. Senior local Labour Party sources in Kensington & Chelsea told the New Worker that the council is rapidly implementing huge changes in order to stave off the threat from Labour and shake of the “Grenfell effect”. The Tories lost the parliamentary seat for the first time ever in 2017, and both the chief executive and council leader resigned after Grenfell. They also said similar changes were taking place in Wandsworth, where there is also a growing challenge from Labour.