demo to support berns salonger cleaners

An IWW member reports on a recent demo in London in solidarity with migrant cleaners at Berns Salonger, a Swedish night club which has seen a long-running dispute over victimisations, low wages and 22-hour shifts.

On 13th August 2010 the Cleaners Defence Committee, London IWW Branch, and other supporters demonstrated outside the offices of London Regional [the club’s owner] in solidarity with the SAC [the workers’ union] for two hours, handing out information to the staff and passers-by.

The turnout was good and was supported by other groups including branches of The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMT) Solidarity Federation, Feminist Fightback, Latin American Workers Association, London Coalition Against Poverty amongst others.

Letters of support were read out from comrades in Germany, in the FAU and German IWW, who were engaging in similar solidarity action.

London Regional has so far denied all responsibility and association with Berns, a Swedish Nightclub/company responsible for severe mistreatment of its cleaning staff, having made some cleaners work up to 22 hour shifts six or so days a week. The dispute between Berns and the SAC continues, though London Regional will not engage in dialogue with the IWW, CDC, or any of the individuals and groups who have phoned up with their complaints.

But the message to London Regional / Berns is loud and clear, we will never ignore the mistreatment of workers anywhere, and will stand with our brothers and sisters when they need our help. The battle is not over, and we will be back as often as need be to win this dispute. These demonstrations will grow unless the stubborn managers of Berns and London Regional agree to negotiate.

We once again thank everybody who has been supporting this campaign so far and who turned up to make the demonstration on the 13th the success that it was. We once again send our message of solidarity to the SAC, who we stand with, and wish all the best in the struggle ahead.

« This demo was called by the Cleaners Defence Committee, a network established early in 2010 to organise solidarity with migrant cleaners at Swiss bank UBS in the City of London. If you would like to know more about its activities, email cleanersdefencecommittee@gmail.com