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CLEANERS at Kensington and Chelsea council claimed a major victory today after the council finally committed to pay them the London living wage (LLW).
The United Voices of the World (UVW) union announced that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) had agreed that its cleaning staff, currently paid the legal minimum wage of £7.83 an hour, would receive the LLW rate of £10.20 an hour from January 2019.
During a meeting attended by council leader Elizabeth Campbell and chief executive Barry Quirk, RBKC also pledged to “review their current terms and conditions on early termination of a 10-year contract with Amey who the cleaners are currently outsourced to,” the union said.
It added that Ms Campbell had “personally agreed to try to bring about a retrospective payment of the difference in wages from October until the cleaners are paid the LLW.”
In a statement, UVW said: “VICTORY! Last night, UVW met with Kensington and Chelsea council and secured a full commitment to pay all cleaners the London living wage and improved working conditions from January 2019. Direct action works! All power to the workers!”
Former UVW general secretary and current rep Petros Elia said: “UVW has done it again. We have beaten RBKC through unprecedented co-ordinated strike action, which has led to the cleaners securing a 30 per cent pay rise to the [London] living wage.”
Kensington MP Emma Dent-Coad said: “Solidarity with the employees of Amey to RBKC. Your determination (and a bit of salsa) has earned you an impressive victory. Now we fight for justice at the Ministry of Justice! Respect.”
The cleaners’ victory follows three days of unprecedented co-ordinated strike action last month by cleaners at RBKC and the Ministry of Justice, which was well supported by other unions and Labour politicians.
Shadow justice minister Richard Burgon told striking cleaners on the picket line that it was “an absolute scandal that you are not being paid £10.20 an hour.
“£7.83 an hour is the legal minimum they can get away with paying you. They should value you more than that.”
An RBKC spokesman said the council had held “positive talks and we hope that the dialogue continues,” but he was unable to confirm any details of proposed changes to pay and conditions.
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