On Monday 12 November, the Industrial Workers of the World union (IWW) launched a fresh pay dispute on behalf of outsourced cleaners at John Lewis.
This follows an IWW cleaners’ strike at John Lewis in Oxford Street earlier in the year — the first strike in John Lewis history.
In the run up to Christmas and January sales, John Lewis can expect to see profits spike, bringing in millions of pounds. Meanwhile, cleaners working in their buildings are earning minimum wage of just £6.19 an hour.
Budget cuts have seen their workload increase, leading to stress, sickness, and depression. But with no sick pay, they have to carry on regardless. Meanwhile, poverty pay means home life is a daily struggle.
The cleaners, working at four John Lewis sites in South London including the Peter Jones store in Sloane Square and the company HQ in Victoria, are not part of John Lewis’ “partnership”. Instead, they are employed by a contractor, Integrated Cleaning Management Ltd. (ICM), part of the giant Compass Group Ltd.
But now these second-class workers have had enough.
Following extensive attempts by the workers to improve their situation, their union entered a new pay claim with ICM on 26 October. The pay claim aims at an immediate and backdated increase to £6.72/h for cleaners, £8/h for supervisors, plus a timetable of discussions aimed at securing full London Living Wage of £8.55 an hour and full sick pay.
ICM have not responded within the agreed 14 day period and therefore IWW has lodged this fresh trade dispute.
If no resolution is forthcoming, IWW and our members are ready and willing to pursue any lawful action available, up to and including lawful industrial action, in the run up to Christmas and January sales.
• More here