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Justice for the Canary Wharf cleaners!

IMC-Cambridge funsters | 15.10.2004 18:56 | European Social Forum | Free Spaces | Repression | Social Struggles

Led by the Samba band, a group of protesters turned up at Canary Wharf today to shout their support for a fair wage for the workers in the Canary Wharf buildings. An injunction had been obtained in the days leading up to the protest by the owners of the Canary Wharf complex to prevent the protest taking place. This may have diminished the numbers in attendance but it did not make the issue, or the protest, go away... As a spokesman for the Transport and General Workers Union said before the protest: "Canary Wharf is home to some of the most successful and powerful banks in the world. But it is content to let its contract cleaners be paid poverty wages, no sick pay, 15 days holiday and no pension. This demonstration will allow workers to show their support for Wharf cleaners."

Samba band craziness
Samba band craziness

The police look on in trepidation
The police look on in trepidation

Initially there were speakers outlining the dire conditions under which Wharf cleaners have to work; these included the film maker, Ken Loach. The protesters then proceeded around the Canary Wharf area waving banners and banging drums. An alarming feature of the Canary Wharf area (highlighted by the injunction) is that the roads and pavements around the main building are legally private space. Add this to the list of sins that the Canary Wharf group are responsible for.

Back in May, the Transport and General Workers' Union, the cleaners' union, welcomed HSBC and contract cleaner OCS's decision to increase pay and conditions for its cleaners at Canary Wharf. However the T&G warned then that it would be continuing its campaign with The East London Community Organisation (TELCO) urging all companies at Canary Wharf to pay their cleaners a living wage and for union recognition - at present, some cleaners at Canary Wharf are paid as little as £5.20per hour. Today's protest was part of this ongoing campaign and part of the ESF fun as well..

Jack Dromey, T&G Deputy General Secretary said in May "This is a step in the right direction, but make no mistake, the benefits have come about because cleaners at Canary Wharf have begun to organise into an effective union." It is to be hoped that these efforts will be allowed to continue unmolested by the behemoth corporations which occupy the Canary Wharf complex. We should be ready to defend the cleaners' right to unionise at every turn...

IMC-Cambridge funsters


Hide the following 4 comments

Dwarfed by the tower and outnumbered by massive police presence

15.10.2004 22:22

arriving at canary wharf
arriving at canary wharf

a handfull of protestors managed to effectively shut down canary wharf

unuprisingly the management refused to comment, no doubt to scared to show there swollen greedy faces from behind a police presence that numbered a thousand easily.


where where the cleaners?

16.10.2004 07:40

crowd assemble
crowd assemble

welcomed by police
welcomed by police

a handfull of activists joined by samba band effectively shut down canary wharf due to the fat cats being so terrified by any kind of dissent.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, there where no canary wharf cleaners who joined this action.



17.10.2004 23:06

The cleaners did not come as the injunction served to the T+G which only GR tried to fight apparently, as T&G members didn't even turn up in court, extended to the cleaners aswell.
And as their union could not officially back the demo (although with a bit of backbone inserted Iam sure they could have) they where not made very aware of the protest that did take place.

I hope that answers the question as to where were the cleaners?


Where were the cleaners? The cleaners weren't bothered....

01.05.2007 17:52

You ask where the cleaners were... I'll tell you where the cleaners in my building (overlooking the "protest") were. They were happily at work, unaware of the protest. When I asked a few of them about it they laughed and thought it was a joke. The contract cleaners I spoke to in this building advise they are satisfied with their wages and conditions and are surprised at the protest being staged on their behalf.

I suspect the protest was actually staged by a group of do-gooders who insist on protesting about something as it is May day, whether or not the protest is actually valid.