Five City cleaners are planning to starve themselves next week outside the offices for the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) as part of a campaign for better pay, even though they are not employed by the bank or its cleaning contractor.
The cleaners, represented by the Transport & General Workers’ Union (T&G), are planning to refuse food from Monday and camp overnight outside the bank in London’s Square Mile.
The union said City cleaners can earn as little as £5.35 per hour and typically receive no sick pay, no pension, the legal minimum holiday allowance of 12 days a year plus bank holidays.
The protest follows RBS’s announcement of £9bn in profits earlier this week, according to a report in the Times.
One of the cleaners said: “They [RBS] can afford to treat their cleaners with dignity, but do not, and they employ a contract cleaning company that refused to recognise our union.”
While the cleaners do not work at RBS or its main contractor Lancaster Cleaning, they do work in the City.
A spokesman for RBS described the protest as “not our issue”.
Lancaster Cleaning said: “We have a stable and contented workforce and the lowest rate of staff turnover of any major cleaning company.”
The T&G has warned City banks to expect more direct action to make them pay cleaners higher wages.