Migrant and Precarious Workers are Winning Britain a Pay Rise!

17 October 2017 - 3:00pm
News

Migrant and precarious workers are winning Britain a pay rise. Migrant and precarious workers are leading the fights to get organised. They are tackling precarious work, outsourcing and privatisation, the real drivers of low pay and insecurity at work.  Despite facing stigmatisation by a media that too often blames them for low pay and insecurity at work, they are standing up for themselves and winning. Their struggles tell an important story about how Britain can win a pay rise: by standing with migrant workers and ending precarious contracts. Together we can win rights at work for every worker. 

Here are their stories:


Sports Direct Shame: Unite the Union’s award winning 'Sports Direct Shame' campaign brought the appalling conditions at Sports Direct’s Shirebrook warehouse to national attention. Undercover reports highlighted the appalling conditions at the warehouse, where overwhelmingly Eastern European agency workers make up over 90% of all staff. The campaign highlighted Sports Direct’s business model that depends on precarious contracts across the business. 

War on Want supporters took action across the country in support of the campaign. And War on Want attended Sports’ Direct’s 2016 AGM to offer our support to workers fighting for their rights. They also used 'Sales tags' to bring workers’ conditions to the attention of shoppers. 

Sports Direct’ promised review of activities has so far failed to deliver the end to zero hour contracts promised to its shop workers. 

The campaign continues… 


LSE Cleaners: Following seven days of strike action earlier this year, cleaners at the LSE have achieved a historic victory by attaining the commitment from LSE to being brought in-house by “Spring 2018” as well as parity of working conditions with other staff at LSE. 

 

The cleaners’ 10 month battle for dignity and equality was waged with the support of the United Voices of the World Union. At the time this was the largest number of cleaners ever to go out on strike from a single workplace in the UK. All of the cleaners were migrant and BAME workers and most of them had never been unionised before. 

Read more here or here.


Barts Hospital Cleaners:  St Barts NHS Hospital Trust Cleaners, and porters went on strike to demand a 3% pay rise. The largely black and migrant cleaners, porters and security staff are employed by Serco. Serco is a multimillion pound company that has profited from outsourcing and privitisation in the NHS.

The low paid workers took 24 days of strike action, which resulted in increased pay and protection from shift changes. This campaign built upon previous campaigns where the workers had already won the London living wage and an end to zero hour contracts. Read more here


SOAS University Cleaners: Cleaners at SOAS University in London are organised in a Unison branch. This year they won their campaign to be brought back in-house. This followed 11 years of campaigning. In 2008, the cleaners won sick pay, more holidays, and a London living wage. In June 2009, after their union was recognised by outsourcing company ISS, cleaners were invited into a meeting only to be surprised by immigration officials who arrested workers based on their immigration status. Nine members of staff were arrested and deported.

This year, after a SOAS internal report stated that bringing the cleaners in-house would be cost neutral, the cleaners won their fight to be on the same terms and conditions as other staff. 

Read more of the inspirational story here:


McStrike:  On 4 September 2017 workers at two McDonald’s stores made history by going out on strike for the first ever time in the UK. They were supported by the Bakers' Union (BFAWU). They took to the airwaves to explain why they were striking for £10 an hour, an end to zero hour contracts and for their right to join a union to be respected. 

Here Shen explains why she was going on strike: 

The 'McStrikers' joined US and fastfood workers across the globe in fighting to make the world’s 2nd largest employer respect fast food workers' rights. 

Read more here:


University of London: The University of London currently has around 250 outsourced workers including cleaners, security officers, receptionists, porters and post room workers, employed through several companies. They have launced a “Back In House” campaign to address the fact that outsourced workers receive worse pensions, holiday pay, sick pay and parental leave pay entitlements than their in-house colleagues. Outsourced workers are also more vulnerable to bullying, harassment and discrimination. They took their first day’s strike action in support of the campaign on 27 September 2017. This campaign builds on demands that the university implement pay increases promised in 2011. 

More info here:


London Underground Cleaners: Cleaners on the London underground have also been demanding that they be brought back in-house. On 11 October 2017 cleaners, who are members of the RMT union, went to City Hall to demand that: cleaning services be brought back in house; £10/hour minimum wage; Travel passes; sick pay, and holiday pay for Tube cleaners.

They called on the London Mayor Sadiq Khan to keep promises made during his election campaign to address the cleaner’s poor working conditions 

Read more


Despite decades of privatisation, deregulation, austerity and outsourcing, it is still possible to tackle low pay and the precarious contracts that disproportionately affect black, women and migrant workers. Migrant, black and women workers are at the front and centre of the struggles against low pay and precarious work. They deserve our solidarity.

Keep upto date on our Stand With Migrant Workers: End Precarious Contracts campaign and hear ways for you to take action in solidarity with migrant and precarious workers here:

 

Read more about the campaign here


NB We know there are many more workers across the country who are organising and taking action to improve their conditions. Please do let us know about any migrant and precarious worker campaigns in your area: support [@] waronwant.org  

#SportsDirectShame #LSECleaners #BartsStrike #McStrike #UoLStrike 

 

ASK YOUR MP TO END PRECARIOUS CONTRACTS

Help ensure the government guarantee basic rights at work for all workers.

Latest news

MPs across parties call for suspension of arms sales to Israel

24 May 2018 - 10:00am

A cross-party group of MPs have called for a suspension of arms sales to Israel in an Early Day Motion tabled on 23 May 2018.

MPs from across political parties have expressed dismay over the UK Government’s response to Israel’s killing of unarmed protesters in Gaza, with particular questions on the legality of UK arms sales to Israel.

Read more

Reaction: UK abstention from UN Gaza vote makes a mockery of commitment to international law

19 May 2018 - 9:00am

Trusting that Israel can fairly and neutrally investigate its own war crimes is an insult to any common sense definition of justice, and makes a mockery of the UK’s stated commitment to international law, human rights, and accountability

Read more

Join the conversation

Key question from about UK Gov. licences for arms sales to Israel. The UK Gov. has said that it do… https://t.co/fH3FzM8Z49 10 hours 36 min ago
Important intervention from about Palestinians' right to life and accountability over Palestinian… https://t.co/3xDdXsXxrm 10 hours 40 min ago
Important question from about how Israel could be trusted to conduct an independent investigation into it… https://t.co/NSEQXQkt8u 10 hours 55 min ago