LATIN AMERICAN WORKERS ASSOCIATION AND UBS CLEANERS SUPPORT GROUP PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CITY BANK TAKES MONEY OUT OF CLEANERS’ POCKETS
Reinstate Alberto Durango http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ku4K7cbq9U0&feature=sub
As Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) announce quarterly profits of £772 million this week, cleaning workers and their supporters will be demonstrating at UBS’ London offices on Friday 12th February. The demonstration is in protest at attacks on workers’ pay and the dismissal of Alberto Durango, the cleaners’ now former shop-steward. Alberto and his supporters believe that his sacking is directly related to his workplace union organising and campaigning work.
Many of the cleaners – who are members of the Unite trade union and are predominately migrants from West Africa, Latin America and some European countries – were involved in a campaign in 2008 to win the "London Living Wage" at UBS, currently £7.60 per hour. Despite this victory, most workers still have to work multiple shifts in order to make ends meet. UBS has encouraged a race to the bottom resulting in their cleaning contractors cutting cleaning staff hours – therefore pay – or make redundancies. This in contrast to UBS’ announcement on 9th February reporting a 34% increase in their bonus pool to £1.72 billion and their decision last year to increase their London banking staff wages by 15%-20%.
"Maria" has been cleaning desks and toilets at the UBS Lombard Street offices for over 3 years. She said, "The Company has broken their promise that they would not change our hours or conditions after we won the ‘Justice for Cleaners’ campaign. A year after getting an agreement on the living wage, we are still fighting. I just want to earn enough to be able to spend time with my family during the weekend."
Unite Clerkenwell & St. Pancras 0694M Branch Organiser and Alberto Durango’s Union representative Chris Ford said "The public are outraged by the continued and undeserved bankers’ bonuses since banks like UBS, Goldman Sachs and Royal Bank of Scotland have been bailed out by public money across the world. What’s the bankers’ excuse for attacking the subsistence wages of the people who wipe their computer screens and clean their toilets?"
Friday 12th February’s "Defend Living Wage – Justice for UBS Cleaners" demonstration is at 1pm outside UBS Capital, 100 Liverpool Street, London EC2M 2RH.