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”

UBS worker detained by UK borders agency

by Chris Kane

We have received shocking news that Lancaster Cleaning Services, a contractor for Union Bank of Switzerland, has once again colluded with the UK Borders Agency against cleaners. On this occasion Lancaster, having taken over the contract at UBS, has provided the Borders Agency with information on one of their workers who had just left their employment.  Acting on this information the worker’s home was raided and he is being held at an as yet unknown location.

The only crime this worker has committed is coming to this country and getting a job!  This is not first time Lancaster and cleaning companies have utilised the Borders Agency to attack migrant workers and attempt to intimidate others from organising to improve their working conditions. Deportations have taken place at SOAS and Willis specifically against union organised workers. UNITE activist Alberto Durango was arrested at the behest of Lancaster Cleaning company. This is however the first time it has been used by Lancaster’s in connection with the contract at UBS contract. Continue reading “UBS worker detained by UK borders agency”

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”

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!”