by Chris Kane
We have received shocking news that Lancaster Cleaning Services, a contractor for Union Bank of Switzerland, has once again colluded with the UK Borders Agency against cleaners. On this occasion Lancaster, having taken over the contract at UBS, has provided the Borders Agency with information on one of their workers who had just left their employment. Acting on this information the worker’s home was raided and he is being held at an as yet unknown location.
The only crime this worker has committed is coming to this country and getting a job! This is not first time Lancaster and cleaning companies have utilised the Borders Agency to attack migrant workers and attempt to intimidate others from organising to improve their working conditions. Deportations have taken place at SOAS and Willis specifically against union organised workers. UNITE activist Alberto Durango was arrested at the behest of Lancaster Cleaning company. This is however the first time it has been used by Lancaster’s in connection with the contract at UBS contract.
Who can help cleaners from the intimidation of the Borders Agency? One would expect their union. But these workers were organised in UNITE, and the unelected Regional Secretary Steve Hart has written to an elected UNITE Branch Organiser involved with the UBS campaign stating: ‘You suggest that there are widespread deportations – when in the main this is not true. Again the effect of your campaigns is to frighten people off from union membership and activity.’
So whilst cleaners are being deported, including UNITE members, those who publicise such inhuman acts are to blame and ought to remain silent. This is nothing short of treacherous. Meanwhile full-time officials who claim to represent the cleaners are busy doing photo-shoots and campaigning for Harriet Harman calling on Latin American workers to vote for New Labour! The same sort of politicians who are responsible for such arrests and the deportations of migrant workers.
Migrant workers are under attack – they need our solidarity. On Friday 23rd April a demonstration will be held at UBS 100 Liverpool Street, London, from 5pm. Make this the biggest protest yet.