precarious work and solidarity

Tawanda Nyabango reports on discussions among cleaner solidarity activists

At this year’s Anarchist bookfair the Industrial Workers of the World organised a discussion around the issue of solidarity with cleaners. Speakers included a Cleaners Defence Committee regular, a leading organiser in the University College London Living Wage Campaign and a member of The Commune.

The meeting began with the speaker from the Cleaners Defence Committee giving a brief outline of the struggles and solidarity actions that took place earlier on this year. These included the Willis insurance and School of Oriental and African Studies cleaners’ disputes in 2009, and more recently the struggle UBS cleaners and the campaign to reinstate victimised shop steward Alberto Durango. The Cleaners Defence Committee has sought to assist and build links between these disputes. Continue reading “precarious work and solidarity”

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berns salonger demo 22nd october; cleaners’ defence committee meetings

Call-out from the Cleaners’ Defence Committee

On Thursday 21st October the Cleaners Defence Committee will hold a mass meeting covering cleaners struggles in UK and Berns, at UCL. After the demonstration on Friday 22nd October there will be a social in aid of the Berns workers at LARC, and there will be 3 meetings that will include coverage of these struggles at the Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday 23rd October. Continue reading “berns salonger demo 22nd october; cleaners’ defence committee meetings”

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. Continue reading “demo to support berns salonger cleaners”

migrant cleaners and organising solidarity

by David Broder

The recession has seen increasing anti-immigration sentiment in British society, but also many in the labour movement advocating ‘keeping our heads down’ until the economy picks up – these two factors, combined with the inefficacy of Justice for Cleaners and the concomitant attacks on migrant cleaners’ conditions, sharply pose the need for better organisation.

After the partial success of the dispute at Swiss bank UBS in the City of London, it is worth considering the way ahead for the migrant cleaners’ campaign, which in its various forms has challenged border controls, casualisation as well as the established unions. For more background see this article on Latin American cleaners in the UNITE union and this report on the UBS campaign. Continue reading “migrant cleaners and organising solidarity”

gains from UBS cleaners’ dispute

by Chris Kane

The cleaners’ struggle at Swiss bank UBS has extracted some significant concessions from the bosses, thanks to a determined campaign.

As reported in previous issues of The Commune, in February UBS switched to cut-price contractor Lancaster, effectively meaning a 10.75% pay cut for cleaning staff in its City of London offices. When the immigrant workforce protested this injustice, their elected shop steward Alberto Durango was fired by Lancaster in a blatant act of victimisation. Continue reading “gains from UBS cleaners’ dispute”

putting the bank managers on the back foot

by Jack Staunton

On Friday 23rd April the traditional St. George’s Day celebrations returned to the City of London after a 425-year gap: but the streets of this capital of capital also witnessed events more internationalist in character.

As many as 100 people turned out for the latest in a series of demonstrations in solidarity with the migrant cleaners at Swiss bank UBS. The widely-supported campaign against an effective 11% pay cut and the victimisation of shop steward Alberto Durango has put management on the back foot (more details soon) and also served as a rallying point for a number of inter-related struggles. Continue reading “putting the bank managers on the back foot”