‘It is crucial that cleaners and security workers’ voices are heard’ – UNI Europa Property Services elects new Vice Presidents

Friday 22 March 2019

On 21 March, UNI Europa’s Property Services Steering Committee met to discuss the strategic priorities for the coming year. These include building solidarity with cleaners in Portugal, developing a project on recruitment, retention and labour turnover across the two sectors, and developing our work on the Best Value Guide across different countries.

The Steering committee also elected two new Vice Presidents, who will represent the Cleaning and Private Security sector respectively. For the Cleaning Sector, Jesús Fernández Béjar from the Spanish CCOO Servicios was elected.

Fernández Béjar said: “I’m happy to have been elected Vice President. We’re going to fight for the respect for cleaners and make them value the sector. We’ll defend wages and workers’ rights with the goal to recover what they’ve cut. We’ll get fully involved in the fight for the cleaners in Portugal. We say NO to precariousness and YES to a quality cleaning service with properly valued workers.”

Terje Mikkelsen from the Norwegian General Workers Union – Norsk Arbeidsmandsforbund was elected Vice President for Private Security. He will also be representing the Property Services sector in the preprations for UNI Europa’s 2020 Conference.

Mikkelsen said: “As an active participant in the EU Social Dialogue in Private Security, I’m happy to serve security workers at the European level. We have achieved some victories but have a long way to go. I will continue to fight for security workers’ rights across Europe. The best way to achieve good working conditions for security guards is that they join a union and work together for a better future.”

Mark Bergfeld, Director of Property Services thanked Unite the Union’s Benson Akpoedafe for his time in office as one of the Vice Presidents. It is a testament to the work of the sector that a lay member with immigrant background represents cleaners at the European level. Bergfeld said: “We are glad that Benson Akpoedafe will continue to serve on our Steering Committee. While politicians fight over Brexit, we are building unity and solidarity among Europe’s workers and trade unions. It is more necessary than ever that workers and their trade unions in Britain and the European continent work closer together.”

The day ended with a discussion on the EU elections and trade unions’ role.

As we head toward the European Elections, it is crucial that cleaners and security workers’ voices are heard. These are some of the lowest paying jobs in the EU. Cleaners and security workers deserve respect and MEPs who will fight for them” concluded PAM’s Jaana Ylitalo and the European President of UNI’s Property Services sector.

For more information on UNI Europa’s Property Services work, contact mark.bergfeld@uniglobalunion.org