Low-paid London workers strike together

Cleaners, carers and concierges at nine different workplaces across London are striking together for better pay and conditions. The United Voices of the World (UVW) union organises this predominantly migrant workforce and has coordinated the actions.

UVW Ogilvy strike. Photo: James Ivens

Strikers picketed Ogilvy on the morning of 15 June. The international ad agency claims its values “enable everyone to thrive”. Underpaid night cleaners chanted: “Ogilvy – walk the talk!” Here they’re demanding £15 an hour and full sick pay. Also on strike are workers at the London School of Economics, Amazon HQ, Mercedes-Benz, La Retraite Girls’ School, West End Quays luxury flats, the Department for Education, Sage Nursing Home, and Streatham and Clapham High School.

A striking concierge spoke to James Ivens:

“We’re on strike because of our pay. They don’t listen to us. My mortgage went from £450 to £980 in three months. We were due to get a pay rise in January. They’ve just started talking to us about it in June, if you can imagine that. If we didn’t strike, they wouldn’t have wanted to talk about it! They increased the offer from 4% to 8%. We say the minimum we will take is 10%. And we’re still fighting for it. We’re also asking for full sick pay — which some of us get and some of us are not getting. So we said make it all even, give all of us the same thing. If they don’t listen, we’re adding more days to the strike.”