With the slogan “your cleaners are being swept out”, cleaners from London’s bus depots gathered at lunchtime on Wednesday outside City Hall with supporters including Jeremy Corbyn MP, to hand in a petition asking the Mayor and Transport for London to reverse a decision not to renew the cleaning contract for the daytime, which will leave day cleaners at 18 depots jobless from Friday. The cleaners, who work for Dougland Support Service Ltd, are from many countries and received support not only from the MP but also London Region RMT, the Latin American Workers Association and London Coalition Against Poverty. Night cleaners also expressed their support, knowing that they will bear the brunt of the extra workload caused by the sacking of the day cleaners.
The petition, in the name of the London bus cleaners committee, was accompanied by the letter reproduced below, and received widespread support from drivers across the unions.
Heavy handed police tactics included trying to prevent leaflets being given out, and preventing the use of a megaphone. It appears almost illegal for low paid Londoners to demonstrate outiside their mayor’s office now.
For more info see letter below and/or contact cleaners’ rep Guillermo Sanchez on 07930 218 976; or Jerremy Corbyn MP.
London SE1 2AA
Wednesday 16 September
We present this petition to you as the day cleaners of London buses at different bus depots across London.
This Friday we will all be made redundant because Transport for London has decided not to renew its contract with our employer Dougland Support Service Ltd.
This will have a devastating effect on our livelihoods and families. It will also have an effect on the cleanliness of our buses and as a result the health and safety of Londoners.
That is why hundreds of bus drivers and depot staff have signed the attached petition, along with ordinary bus passengers.
We also have the support of the night cleaners who have signed the petition in the knowledge that they will have to take on extra duties as a result of our mass dismissal.
We know that you support the London Living Wage but ask what will be the effects on working class families such as ours of having no wage at all?
Many of us also have family in our countries of origin that depend on the money we send home to look after them in childhood, ill health and old age. By cutting our jobs you are cutting this aid.
We urge you to meet with us and the contractor to resolve the situation.
Please contact our representative Guillermo Sanchez on 07930 218 976 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have also had messages of support from the RMT (London), Jeremy Corbyn MP and the Latin American Workers Association (email@example.com) and are sure they would help to find a solution.
Guillermo Sanchez and all day cleaners as listed below.
Latin American Workers’ Association
c/o 218 Green Lanes, London N4 2BR
For more information please call: 07930218976 and 07904329679
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Public lobby of the UCL Provost for Juan Carlos Piedra’s reinstatement
1pm Monday 21st Sept 2009
UCL Main Quad
(off Gower St, London WC1E 6BT)
Dear living wage campaign supporter,
Juan Carlos Piedra Benitez has worked for Office and General, the cleaning contractors at UCL, for 11 months. Juan Carlos was transferred to work in UCL after being called into a disciplinary meeting and warned about his union activities, including campaigning for the London living wage. He was told that his work was no problem and the only problem was his attitude—that he told people about the union, about their right to go to tribunals if they were badly treated. Two days after being transferred to UCL he was called into a meeting and told that he had been seen at SOAS protesting against the immigration raid and at union protests. Then he was told “there is no job for you here” and was made redundant.
Juan Carlos is demanding his reinstatement and that O&G be investigated. He has the support of the UCL trade unions. You can back his campaign in specific, practical ways.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Contact Juan Carlos directly (07837949884 / firstname.lastname@example.org). Offer to help build the campaign by doing any of the following:
2. Attend the public lobby. Bring a friend and make a placard.
3. Help Juan Carlos build the lobby, which means leafleting – both printing (A5) and distribution – tomorrow, Friday and early Monday. Contact Juan Carlos for the list of exact times and places (UCL, SOAS, etc). A4 posters need to be printed (ideally in colour) and UCL and Bloomsbury plastered with them.
4. Ask to add your name to the open letter (below) by emailing email@example.com. Include your full name, trade union and any position you may hold and place of work or study as you wish these to appear in print.
5. Ask others to add their names. Workmates? Someone you handed a leaflet? Anyone with a bit of profile? Union leaders, politicians, religious leaders, academics, journalists, people at the TUC conference happening in Liverpool in right now? Where else can you circulate this request?
6. Help get the open letter and the story into the media – English and Spanish language. Print, radio and electronic.
7. Join the Facebook group at http://tinyurl.com/ramfy4 and invite others.
*** OPEN LETTER STARTS ***
Professor Malcolm Grant, Provost
Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT
Cc: Fernando Martins, manager, O&G offices at UCL
Dear Professor Grant,
We are appalled that cleaning contractor O&G have illegally created a false redundancy at UCL in order to dismiss union activist Juan Carlos Piedra, a member of Unite.
Juan Carlos was transferred to UCL on 24th August and two days later was called by his manager to a meeting at which he was told that his trade union activities (organising in the London Living Wage campaign at SOAS and other sites) had been recorded and would not be tolerated. He was then told that there was no job for him at UCL. He was given a letter on 9th September (which O&G had dated 2nd September) saying he was redundant from 17th September.
As trade unionists, students and living wage campaign supporters, we will not tolerate members of our campus communities being treated in this way and victimised for exercising their democratic right to engage in legal trade union activities.
O&G are one of the major contractors in the cleaning industry who are now bullying, harassing and victimising workers, many of whom are migrants, in order to break trade union organisation and keep wages at the lowest possible levels.
All workers, including those on low pay and migrants, have an equal right to organise. We demand that Juan Carlos be reinstated, and that O&G be investigated for violation of trade union rights at UCL.
*** OPEN LETTER ENDS ***
Cities are difficult and complex to clean, and cleaning London is no exception.
However, there is a way to make things just that little bit easier. By choosing a professional to help keep the roads and streets can take the load off your feet and give you peace of mind.
Professional cleaners are thorough and can handle specific tasks. Many firms also offer weekly cleaning packages. The benefits are also great. By choosing a professional cleaning company, there is no hassle and everything is done efficiently. What more do you need?! Anything to take the pressure off and make life easier.
Is your cleaning company run as an Anarcho Syndiclist Collective? If it is I may be able to pass some business your way.
Also would you be willing to recognise either the IWW or the RMT as a contractual condition?
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