Cleaners have been at the forefront of efforts to contain the virus. Yet for too long the companies who rely on their work have tried to cut costs by cutting them out of decent pay.
Cleaners at the offices of a UK government depratment took a stand. By coming together in their union PCS Union, they built power. Rightly so: governments shouldn’t be in the business of creating poverty jobs for essential workers. These workers are challenging that and have won a hero pay bonus of ₤1200. They are still going strong and working to address health and safety issues they continue to face.
#EssentialRights – This key example highlights the importance of improving public procurement requirements. Public money must not be used to drive working people’s conditions down. Instead, unions are pushing for public contracts to work towards improving conditions across whole sectors.
Awarding public contracts only to companies that have signed collective bargaining agreements with their workers, would be a simple step but would go a long way to addressing poverty pay and health and safety risks too many of these workers face.