demo this friday in solidarity with berns salonger cleaners

A protest in solidarity with cleaners in Stockholm forced to work 22-hour shifts and receive illegally low wages by a subsidiary of British firm London & Regional. From 4pm this Friday 13th August from 4pm at L&R’s 55 Baker Street, London offices.

This demo was called by Cleaners’ Defence Committee, established earlier this year to organise solidarity with migrant cleaners at UBS bank in the City of London. For more details, email cleanersdefencecommittee@gmail.com.

The protest is also supported by the Latin American Workers’ Association; Colombia Solidarity Campaign; Hands Off My Workmate; Industrial Workers of the World; Solidarity Federation; The Commune, National Shop Stewards Network and 0543 RMT Finsbury Park Branch.

What’s happening with cleaners at Berns?

London & Regional Properties owns the Berns Salonger company that the cleaners and their union the SAC are in dispute with.

For months now the SAC union in Sweden has been locked into a fierce confrontation with the Nightclub “Berns”. Berns have a notorious record for mistreating cleaning staff, which it has avoided responsibility for through subcontractors. Cleaning staff work inhumane hours, sometimes up to 22 hours a day 7 days a week, sleeping on cardboard boxes in the workplace. With the main Swedish union LO, unwilling to organise these paperless workers, the Swedish Workers Central Organisation (SAC), have successfully organised the cleaners of the nightclub, campaigned for better conditions, higher pay, less hours, and above all, dignity for the staff. The result of each struggle (won by blockades of the night club) has been that Berns bosses have moved the cleaners form one staffing company to another.

The SAC organised cleaning staff have worked now for seven years and for three different companies. All the time, conditions have been criminal. The SAC have argued that Berns has a responsibility for these people, from Bolivia, Peru, Mongolia and Chile, since they have moved them from one staffing company to another only to avoid responsibility for their exploitation. Now the employing company NCA (sub-contractor for Berns) has fired all the cleaners at Berns’ nightclub due to “economic problems”. Berns still needs cleaning. Berns has attempted to look respectable by saying it would hire back some of the staff directly, and offered them continued work, however all the union-organised cleaners have been left out. This is good old fashioned union busting.

After months of blockading, the cracks are starting to show. Booked DJs and Artists have refused to play at Berns, forcing them to cancel events. An outrageous media offensive has labeled the SAC a mafia for having ‘pressured’ the business.

A message from the SAC reads:

“We write to you with a call for international solidarity. SAC in Sweden is involved in the biggest blockade struggle for at least the last ten years in Sweden. Hundreds of people have been involved in the picket lines two times a week since 26/2. The company that we are in conflict with is Berns Salonger, owned by the British concern London Regional. We need your help in this fight.”

Show your solidarity with these cleaners under attack by Berns and London Regional. Join the demo this Friday, complain by telephone to 0207 563 9000 or send an e-mail to enquiries@lrp.co.uk