UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

International Justice Day for Cleaners – A Labour Movement Event – 17 June 2013

On 17 June Cleaning Workers from all over the world will be holding protests and events to mark their own International Justice for Cleaners Day. Covering airports across Europe, the US and Australia, over 35 International airports and national railway networks will be taking part in the action.
    The events have been organised by the ISS Cleaners Activists Network. The activists have been meeting with the assistance of UNI Global Union and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI).

They have called for this action in order to raise awareness of the fact that Cleaners are often abused and exploited in casualised, low pay companies but who provide a vital service. They have drawn up a Cleaners Charter which is now to be presented to companies across Europe asking them to sign it and support its aims. The Charter is designed to prevent a `race to the bottom` on cleaning contracts whereby contracts are awarded only on price.

This `cost only` approach often means Cleaners working with clothing and equipment that needs replacing, Cleaners taking health and safety risks, Cleaners not receiving the benefits of other workers, lots of night and early morning shift work and is mainly part time. Most Cleaning staff are women and a large minority of them are immigrant workers which bring their own level of problems.

The date is chosen as it is close to the 15 June which is the anniversary of the Police attack on the Justice for Janitors campaign in Los Angeles in 1990, an event that is still remembered across the US. In return SEIU members in the US will be holding protests to link up with the European workers and the United Voice trade union in Australia will doing the same as part of their `Clean Start`campaign.

In the UK Cleaners will be on strike – PCS members who are employed by the Law Courts and Tribunals Service. Also Unite will have Cleaners on strike at Manchester airport. Danish Cleaners are currently on strike. There is a generalised feeling that Cleaners are now beginning to get organised in unions and have plenty of issues to organise around.

For up to date information on International Justice Day for Cleaners visit their Facebook Page