Cleaners at St Georges, University of London, have won the London Living Wage from August. But the cleaners are not celebrating yet and are still fighting as they face a threat of a wage cut by a reduction in their hour and do not have recognition of their union – IWW. The statement below has just been issued by the St Georges, Industrial Group of the IWW, in response to the management.
You the cleaners have won the London Living Wage at St Georges, University of London from 1st August 2012. You won this by being organised and fighting together in our union the IWW.
This is a great achievement and it because cleaners have stood together and remained united.The IWW and ONLY the IWW has campaigned for the London Living Wage for cleaners at St Georges,
· The IWW with its friends in Parliament has raised your case in the House of Commons
· The IWW organised the on-line petition, leaflets and demonstration
· The IWW began a high-profile public campaign for the London Living Wage
It was only after the IWW Cleaners Branch called a demonstration did Ocean and St Georges announced they will pay the London Living Wage from August along with other concessions.
However – do not be fooled. It is too early to celebrate.
Cleaners organised in the IWW have won the London Living Wage before in other workplaces and we have faced the same danger. The cleaning companies try to make the cleaners pay for the wage rise by cutting hours, redundancies and making ‘efficiency savings’.
This is exactly what is happening at St Georges University of London.
For some time Ocean has been trying to impose a cut in your hours and changes to your terms and conditions. That is to cut your wages.
IWW managed to stop some of these changes. But Ocean are still trying to cut hours at Horton Hall. Ocean refused to hold a collective consultation meeting with you, they refused to meet with our union the IWW. Ocean have failed to provide our union with full information on their changes.
On 22nd May Ocean Managing Director Andy Erskine wrote to IWW stating: ‘The Company will shortly be bringing the consultation process to a close………This is the second time the process has been extended and it will not be extended further’.
The plan to cut hours at Horton Hall been dropped? No! In the same announcement of the London Living Wage Ocean state they are to ‘keep the consultation process open throughout the summer..’. The clear danger is at the end of the summer – on August 1st just as the London Living Wage is to be paid many cleaners may now have their hours cut.
Our Union will not accept a pay rise being given with one hand and taken away with the other hand by a cut in hours.
Until we have a guarantee of no cut in hours—that is a pay cut then our campaign for the London Living Wage without any strings attached will continue.
The majority of cleaners at St Georges are members of the IWW. The IWW is an independent union that has existed for over 100 years— we are a legal union recognised as such by the governments Certification Officer. We cooperate with other trade unionists such as RMT and PCS, NUJ and UCU in campaigns. We believe that unity and solidarity makes workers stronger and our campaigns more effective.
At St Georges cleaners have decided which union they want to belong to— but management are trying ignore your decision and tell you which union can represent you. A UNION RECOMMENDED BY YOUR EMPLOYER CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO HONESTLY REPRESENT YOUR INTERESTS. Unfortunately Ocean have recognised another union who does not represent you, this union is spreading false information about IWW and is even lying that it has won the London Living Wage at St Georges.
The IWW is disappointed by their conduct—they should spend more time defending workers and less time attacking fellow trade unionists. IWW will not tolerate lies and slanders against us—we are consulting with our solicitors on this matter. We will fight for official recognition of IWW at St Georges by legal and if necessary with protests and industrial action over the Olympic period.
Ocean and St Georges need to face the reality you do not settle a dispute by ignoring the people you are in dispute with and making deals behind workers backs with people who represent nobody.