London cleaners win living wage

Submitted by Matthew on 29 July, 2010 - 11:05 Author: Ira Berkovic

ISS, the last cleaning contractor operating on London Underground to refuse to pay its workers the London Living Wage (£7.85), has finally caved in, meaning that all cleaners on the Underground will now be paid at least that amount.

Cleaning workers are amongst the most exploited in the capital, facing not only low pay but constant intimidation and bullying from management, including having their often-precarious immigration statuses used against them to keep them in line. Their years-long struggle has seen them organise and take action in a way that conservative forces in the labour movement claimed low-paid, migrant workers were incapable of, and has inspired activists from a range of movements to become involved with labour movement struggles.

Cleaners’ struggles are by no means over, though, as casual (and not-so-casual) exploitation is still rife on the Underground, and because £7.85 – while a distinct improvement on the pitiful minimum wage — is still a very difficult wage to live on (much less support dependants) in London.

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