demo against UBS – support migrant cleaners

Friday 23rd April will see a demonstration outside Swiss Bank UBS’s City of London HQ. This is the latest protest in a campaign against attacks on migrant cleaners’ pay and conditions (see here for background) and the victimisation of shop steward Alberto Durango.

The demo will take place from 5pm on the 23rd at 100 Liverpool Street, London. It follows the 19th March international day of action which saw lively protests outside UBS sites around the world. Migrant cleaners are refusing to accept attacks on their conditions from this massively wealthy bank, and need the solidarity of the whole movement.

Bring banners, bring friends, bring anything that makes a noise! Continue reading “demo against UBS – support migrant cleaners”

UCL: reinstate juan carlos, pay the living wage!

On Friday 26th March campus staff, students and activists demonstrated at University College London in solidarity with the cleaners there. The protest demanded a living wage (£7.60 an hour) for the cleaners, and the reinstatement of Juan Carlos Piedra, sacked by cowboy contractor Office and General on account of his trade union organising.

In a lively demonstration, after leafleting in the UCL Quad we made repeated – and ultimately successful – efforts to enter the building in spite of the security guards. We then chanted at delegates at an international academic conference on migration, demanding that the university support migrant workers’ rights rather than just pontificate about migration. Continue reading “UCL: reinstate juan carlos, pay the living wage!”

photo-report of 19th march day of action against UBS

19th March saw an international day of action against Swiss bank UBS, who via its contractor Lancaster has imposed an effective 10.75% pay cut on its cleaners in the City of London, while sacking shop steward Alberto Durango.

The protests were called in solidarity with the cleaners’ demands for stable working conditions, the sacking of the contractor and the reinstatement of Alberto Durango. Demos were held in London, Zurich, Edinburgh, Manchester, New York, Buenos Aires and Stockholm.

Continue reading “photo-report of 19th march day of action against UBS”

international day of action against UBS: stand up for migrant workers!

Friday 19th March will see an international day of action in solidarity with cleaners at Swiss bank UBS in the City of London. The cleaners are facing cuts in working hours – effectively an 11 percent wage cut – and shop steward Alberto Durango has been sacked. For more background see Alberto’s article on events at the bank.

The day of action follows two strong and vibrant demonstrations on 12th February and 5th March at UBS’s 100 Liverpool Street site in London (as depicted in video). Tomorrow there will be protests in London (100 Liverpool St from 5pm), Manchester (1 Marsden St from 3pm) and also in Edinburgh, Zurich, Kyiv, Stockholm, Buenos Aires and New York. Continue reading “international day of action against UBS: stand up for migrant workers!”

demo at ubs in the city of london, friday 5th

The next demonstration in solidarity with cleaners working for contractor Lancaster at Swiss bank UBS will take place from 1pm on Friday 5th March outside the bank’s 100 Liverpool Street office, in London. See below for a video of the previous protest, which attracted over 70 people.

We are demanding a reversal of planned cuts in cleaners’ working hours, as well as the reinstatement of Alberto Durango who was sacked by Lancaster because of his organising work. Continue reading “demo at ubs in the city of london, friday 5th”

solidarity with UBS cleaners: demo 5th march

The next demonstration in solidarity with cleaners working for contractor Lancaster at Swiss bank UBS will take place from 1pm on Friday 5th March outside the bank’s 100 Liverpool Street office, in London. See below for a video of the previous protest, which attracted over 70 people.

We are demanding a reversal of planned cuts in cleaners’ working hours, as well as the reinstatement of Alberto Durango who was sacked by Lancaster because of his organising work. Continue reading “solidarity with UBS cleaners: demo 5th march”

protest at UBS: defending the right to organise

by David Broder

On Friday 12th February over seventy people braved the cold to join a protest outside Swiss bank UBS’s City of London headquarters in solidarity with cleaner activist Alberto Durango, victimised by contractor Lancaster for his organising work (see here for his article on the situation).

Chants of “the workers united will never be defeated” and “Lancaster, shame on you” rang out through the cloisters of that cathedral of capital 100 Liverpool Street, despite the City police’s best efforts to keep us off the privatised pavement. Speeches from Alberto Durango, Chris Ford, UNITE general secretary candidate Jerry Hicks and representatives of the Colombia Solidarity Campaign, Bloomsbury Living Wage Campaign and Campaign Against Immigration Controls complemented a lively protest. Continue reading “protest at UBS: defending the right to organise”

update – alberto durango sacked: mobilise for 12th february demo!

by Chris Ford, UNITE Clerkenwell & St. Pancras 0694M branch organiser

At a so-called disciplinary hearing Lancaster Cleaning Services have sacked UNITE shop-steward and leader of the Latin American Workers Association Alberto Durango. The company took over the contract for the Union Bank of Switzerland on Monday 1 February; they suspended him on the Tuesday and sacked him on Thursday 4 February. This premeditated act is part of their efforts to break the union at UBS.

Lancaster were hired by UBS to replace the company Mitie, despite this banking giant making profits of $14 billion they hired a notorious anti-union firm to ensure they pay even less to their cleaners. Ignoring the protection afforded by TUPE, workers were told they are to have their wages cut via a reduction in their hours! The workers lodged a grievance; in response they have sacked Alberto their shop-steward. Continue reading “update – alberto durango sacked: mobilise for 12th february demo!”

urgent appeal for solidarity – defend alberto durango

by Chris Ford, UNITE Clerkenwell & St. Pancras 0694M branch organiser

In an act of vindictive union busting Alberto Durango, a leading activist in the campaign to achieve justice for cleaners in London, is facing the sack. Alberto, a leader of the Latin American Workers Association and member of UNITE, has been in the forefront of a series of campaigns to organise mainly migrant workers to challenge the exploitation and dire working conditions amongst cleaners. Continue reading “urgent appeal for solidarity – defend alberto durango”

cleaners are not objects to be bought and sold!

Join the protest 12 noon, Weds 18 November, Templar House, 81-87 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6NU

The cleaning contract on London Underground’s Bakerloo, Victoria and Central Lines is set to be renegotiated and a new company is expected to grab it. It is likely to demand new (and worse) conditions and will trawl again through workers’ immigration status.Cleaners, many of them migrant workers, are sick of being handed around from company to company, and continually facing poor pay and conditions. Their RMT union has called a protest in their support at the headquarters of Metronet—which is responsible for the contract. Continue reading “cleaners are not objects to be bought and sold!”

‘get this racist jack straw off the bbc’…?

Leaflet for tonight’s demo against Nick Griffin appearing on Question Time

– Labour and Tory anti-fascism is a con
– Support migrant-worker organising: no borders
– For workers’ action against racist propaganda

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The recent row over the British National Party’s appearance on BBC Question Time displays the level of anger at the rise of the far-right party. All of us have turned out today because we oppose Nick Griffin’s racist effort to blame immigrants for all of society’s ills, including the economic crisis, and do not want his rubbish to gain more of an audience. But given the level of establishment racism, a campaign to defend immigrants must not stop at mere anti-BNPism, nor can the growth of the far-right be stopped by appealing to the existing authorities to silence them. Continue reading “‘get this racist jack straw off the bbc’…?”

london bus cleaners protest at city hall

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.

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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. Continue reading “london bus cleaners protest at city hall”

anti-deportations demo highlights repression of migrant worker organising

Today around forty people demonstrated outside the Willis Group building at Lime Street in the City of London in an emergency demo called to demand justice for Mitie cleaners snatched by immigration police in a raid on July 14th (the underhand nature of the vile operation is detailed here). As well as shouting slogans against border controls in English and Spanish, protesters demanded the payment of wages and the granting of holidays to the detained workers.

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An advertisement for the protest explained “Cleaners’ campaign successes are being clawed back in a series of attacks on those who have fought for improved wages and conditions. The latest victims are a group of cleaners who work for the services company Mitie. They were asked to come to the site of Willis Insurance brokers for a chemicals training course but instead were met by immigration officers. Nine cleaners: Alejandro, Hermes Ayala, José Sorriso, Karina Cruz, Cintia, Sonia and  Sebastián Desolsa and two others were detained. This action is in the wake of months of weekly protests organised by a group of former Mitie cleaners and their supporters including shop steward Edwin Pazmino, who were sacked for refusing to work a longer night shift. Continue reading “anti-deportations demo highlights repression of migrant worker organising”

beyond mousavi: the movement of the iranian masses

by David Broder

The explosion of popular defiance following the seemingly fraudulent re-election of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad marks a turning point in the evolution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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While in the last two years there were strikes on the Tehran bus network and in isolated factories, as well as illegal student protests thousands strong, the post-election demonstrations were by far the greatest challenge to the authority of the Ayatollahs’ regime since it was established in 1979. Continue reading “beyond mousavi: the movement of the iranian masses”