Minervina (pictured), a Portuguese cleaner, has fybromyalgia. She claims she was forced to clean areas of the hospital with only one colleague that used to be done by five people ( UVW )
This autumn, migrant workers are speaking up against exploitation. Those working as outsourced cleaners, caterers, porters, park attendants and security guards in Britain’s low-pay economy are facing off against their employers and their illustrious clients by demanding direct employment, occupational sick pay and an end to poverty wages.
These workers report being unlawfully denied annual leave and of being racially discriminated against by the public and their managers. They report being overworked to the point of hospitalisation, of unchecked sexual harassment and of having had their health and safety routinely put in danger by unscrupulous employers who refuse to comply with health and safety regulations.
They are now taking action. In July this year, park attendants joined the picket line to protest poor working conditions from their employer, French multinational VINCI. On 24 October, café workers outsourced to catering giant BaxterStorey walked out of the University of Greenwich during graduation. This wave of action spilled over to the West London hospital of St Mary’s, where over 100 cleaners, caterers and porters – brought in by French multinational Sodexo – demanded direct employment by the NHS Trust and complete equality in pay and terms and conditions with NHS staff.
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