Clara Osagiede, the secretary of the cleaners’ grade of the RMT,
and Mary, another union rep, have been called in for disciplinaries this
Thursday January 8th. Both face immediate sacking. This is an open attack on
all the cleaners on the underground. Clara was one of those who led a strike against
cleaning firm ISS that won cleaners the London living wage last summer. Clearly
the cleaning companies want vengeance.
Conditions faced by cleaners are appalling. Work often involves toxic chemicals
and fumes. At least one cleaner died this year as a result of working with
unsafe chemicals in an unventilated space. The drive to organise was given
impetus when a cleaner was found the morning after she had died in a cupboard.
Last year one rep was sacked for taking and wearing a safety hat out of the
"free issue" store. The bosses have used the powers immigration
controls give them to launch targeted attacks on some of the best trade union
activists in the RMT and in this country. Three cleaners were deported by a
trap laid by the GBM cleaning company.
An RMT spokesperson commented, “The cleaning companies on the underground have
already had a really effective purge of the reps they could get rid of through
immigration clampdowns and have now found a ridiculous excuse to try and sack
Clara, a key organiser among the cleaners.”
Clara has played the single biggest part in the struggle of the cleaners. She
has taken on some of the biggest multinationals in the world, backed up by TFL,
the Mayor of London and the Home Office. Don’t let them get rid of her! For a
start, gather at London Bridge station outside WH Smith at 10am on Thursday
January 8th and show your support.