*Cleanzine-logo-10a.jpgCleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 13th June 2024 Issue no. 1118

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Victory for migrant cleaners at South London private school

* Cleaners-strike.jpgMigrant cleaners at a private school in South London have won an inflation-busting 15% pay rise, full pay sick pay and improved working conditions after they returned a unanimous vote to strike if they were not able to secure a suitable deal with their employer.

The workers, who hail from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Spain and Colombia, won all their demands - made in March this year, following successful negotiations with Blackheath Prep and cleaning contractor Westgate Cleaning. United and determined to down tools, they negotiated a deal which averted strike action.

They now have 15% more money going into their pockets every month, as well being able to take sick leave without loss of pay. The cleaners also won a paid 30-minute lunch break and the same, improved contracts for all cleaners regardless of their start dates.

“I am so happy for this win!" says Santa Pérez, a Dominican cleaner at Blackheath Prep and United Voices of the World Union member. This is not only a victory for us but also for other cleaners who come and work at the school. I am so happy with my union and what we have achieved together. The London Living Wage is important for me, a mother with four children. I will be able to do a bit better financially and now when I am sick I don’t have to worry about recovering or not being paid!”

Ecuadorean cleaner Judit Morales adds: “We never had sick pay before; this is a big win for us. Full respect to my union. I was involved in the negotiations, and I told the bosses what we needed. It felt like facing a lion and now I feel so strong and powerful.” 

The UVW members at Blackheath followed simple, tried and tested steps... made sure everyone joined the union, made sure everyone voted to strike and got ready to have the fight of their lives. They leafleted parents and teacers about their struggle to put food on the table on the minimum wage of £11.44 per hour while Blackheath Prep school fees are up to £18,000 per year.

Representatives from the school in met with UVW officials alongside representatives from the contractor Westgate Cleaning to negotiate a settlement to the dispute.



6th June 2024

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