Union hopes to force banks to sweep away poor pay for cleaners

The
Transport and General Workers’ Union (T&G) is holding a publicity event
this evening at Canary Wharf as part of a campaign to force banks and cleaning
contractors to "clean up on low pay".

It is
launching the campaign to win improvements in pay and holidays, and introduce
sick pay and pensions for the cleaning staff at Canary Wharf.

The
cleaners, many of whom are of African and South American origin, earn as little
as £5.40 an hour, which the union contrasts with the £2.1m HSBC boss Sir John
Bond was paid last year.

The
cleaners are employed by contractors, and the union maintains that it is the
responsibility of both the contractors and the banks to ensure they are
employed on a decent, living wage with fair terms and conditions.

T&G
general secretary Tony Woodley said: "Canary Wharf is a prime illustration
of the gap between rich and poor in modern day Britain. The cleaners are
struggling on a poverty wage while the bank bosses and shareholders cream off
billions in profits. A small fraction of this money could be used to ensure that
cleaners are paid a decent wage.

London
T&G organiser Rhys McCarthy added: "We believe that £6.70 per hour
should be an absolute minimum for all cleaners. This figure is based on
research by the Family Budget Unit, which showed that a London living wage was
£6.68 per hour."

By
Mike Berry

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