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”

report: latin american workers’ association conference

60 Latin American workers meet to elect a new committee for the Association.

The general assembly of the Latin American Workers’ Association began at 4:30pm on Saturday 15th August, at SOAS university.

Derek Wall, national representative of the Green Party, opened the event before the reading of messages of support from various parts of the trade union movement, such as the Unite hotels and restaurants branch and the RMT transport union. This was followed by a detailed presentation of the Association’s activities in terms of education, voluntary work and campaigns in defence of Latin American workers. Continue reading “report: latin american workers’ association conference”

exposed: soas unison, rmt and unite cleaner activists in the pay of the bosses

by Chris Kane

According to shocking information obtained by The Commune, union activists, with cleaning companies organised with UNISON (SOAS), RMT (LUL) and UNITE (Mitie and Lancaster) – are in the pay of the bosses!

This is of course a pack of lies, nevertheless it is a disgusting lie being officially circulated, in writing by a senior full-time official of UNITE, Jose Vallejo Villa un-elected organiser responsible for cleaners. Continue reading “exposed: soas unison, rmt and unite cleaner activists in the pay of the bosses”

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”

testimony of a mitie worker in an immigration detention centre

Seven cleaners were detained after a raid by immigration police on 14th July, which took place with the complicity of Mitie and Willis. Among our detained sisters and brothers are Alejandro, Hermes Ayala, José Sorriso, Karina Cruz, Cintia, Sonia and Sebastián Desolsa. We are demanding that their salaries are paid and that they win 20 days holiday.

Her name is Lidia, and she said that at 4am there was going to be a meeting about chemicals in the Willis building, and that at 5 in the morning in the basement they would be given times for day-time and early morning shifts. She says that she had an ominous feeling about the timing of these meetings. When she arrived in this room, the manager Donna Sidley and another woman called Ivon were laughing their heads off. Everyone started coming in, with the illegal workers on one side and the legal immigrants on the other – the undocumented workers already separated out – and Donna took a chemical bottle and said for what purpose this or that bottle served. Continue reading “testimony of a mitie worker in an immigration detention centre”

update on cleaner activism in london

Alberto Durango’s appeal: A very lively demonstration of trade unionists joined victimised rep Alberto Durango at his appeal with Lancaster Cleaning Company on Friday 3rd July. The demonstration was endorsed by John McDonnell MP and numerous other figures from the labour movement.

The employer was presented with a powerful case for Alberto’s reinstatement and responded saying they are re-investigating as a result of new evidence. In fact the evidence in question was predominantly Lancaster’s own company records, an indictment of their decision to sack Alberto in the first place.

LRC Supports Willis cleaners and Alberto: The National Committee of the Labour Representation Committee has added its voice in support of the Willis cleaners and Alberto. Continue reading “update on cleaner activism in london”

alberto durango: ‘i am for justice and the truth’

Alberto Durango is a cleaner activist who has  repeatedly been victimised for his prominent role in union organising. In this piece he charts workers’ attempts to get a better deal and Unite’s abandonment of their struggle.

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I came to London in 1995 running away from persecution by paramilitary groups because of my union activities with the banana workers in Uraba (Colombia).  When I was new in London, despite my sense of justice, on several occasions I had to put my head down and let bosses commit abuses and steal my salary just because of my immigration status. Continue reading “alberto durango: ‘i am for justice and the truth’”