Thursday, February 15, 2007

City cleaners' success

HALF THE cleaners who hoover the City’s trading floors and scrub the toilets in the Square Mile have won union recognition, after months of vociferous campaigning.
The Justice for Cleaners campaign, organised by the TGWU union has been demanding a “living wage”, sick pay and pension rights for the cleaners, many of whom do second jobs in their spare time to make ends meet.
Some of the cleaners have already seen their pay rise as a consequence of the campaign, and the TGWU described the victory as a “landmark step in ending the shameful treatment of cleaners in Europe’s financial centre”.
“The past was shameful, with that grotesque contrast between cleaners on the minimum wage and Christmas City bonuses of £8.8 billion,” said TGWU deputy general secretary Jack Dromey. “The future will see fair treatment of workers, employed by reputable contractors, with the clients accepting their moral responsibility.”
Giant contractors such as Mitie and ISS are hired by City firms to provide cleaning services – but the TGWU has insisted companies in the Square Mile can’t shirk responsibility for their cleaners’ working conditions by arguing that they don’t employ them directly.
“We will now focus on the contractors who have yet to engage with the cleaners and their union, as it is vital that no company undercuts those who do the decent thing by their workers,” said Dromey.