London IWW GMB — Last Friday, 10th February, the IWW IU 640 Cleaners and Allied Trades Industrial Union staged a lively two-hour demonstration outside Heron Towers to protest the unfair sacking of their Branch Secretary, Alberto Durango, and demand his reinstatement. In addition to numerous IU 640 members, the demonstration was attended by large number of supporters from the London IWW General Membership Branch as well as other sympathetic organisations and individuals.
Further images of the protest can be found on the Demotix website by clicking here.
Last August, IU 640 secured the London Living Wage for cleaners at Heron Tower, London’s tallest building. LCC was the cleaning contractor at that time, but since then the contract has been taken over by Incentive FM Group Ltd. Prior to the transfer IU 640 negotiated an agreement with LCC that there would be no compulsory redundancies and any staff reductions would be by managed by redeployment. According to legal requirements governing employment transfers, the TUPE regulations, Incentive should have honoured this agreement. Instead, on Monday 30th January they sacked Alberto Durango, the IU 640 Branch Secretary who worked at Heron Tower. This is a clear act of vengeance and union busting on the part of management against a prominent and dedicated union activist.
Cleaners and supporters staged the two-hour demonstration outside Heron Towers this Friday to send a clear message that the IWW has a zero tolerance policy towards union busting. They braved the bitter London winter chanting slogans demanding the reinstatement of Alberto and the immediate cessation of compulsory redundancies. The IWW Cleaners’ Branch Samba band, Rhythms of Resistance, attracted the attention of passersby and kept everyone’s spirits up. Despite freezing weather conditions, at least 10 members of the London GMB turned out including a raft of new members on their second demo in less than a week! The previous weekend had seen them gather in front of the Pizza Hut restaurant on the Strand in solidarity with the Sheffield IWW Pizza Hut Union Branch campaign for better wage and work conditions. Further protests in support of Alberto are expected and the demo finished with ‘we’ll be back and that’s a fact’.