Cleaners Xmas Protest in John Lewis
John Lewis, Oxford St. Sat 13 Dec 2014
John Lewis's flagship store on Oxford St as the cleaners were going in to protest for a living wage and equal treatment
It was in the middle of Christmas shopping and a brass quintet were playing inside the store as I made
my way up to the fifth floor
It took me a minute or two to find the cleaners who were in a group getting ready for the protest, getting out the
amplifier and banners at the side of the main counter in the restuarant area
IWGB cleaner's leader Alberto Durango spoke briefly to tell customers and staff why the cleaners were protesting
The cleaners want to be paid a living wage and to be treated like the others who work in the store
John Lewis does not employ the cleaners, but uses a cleaning contractor. The cleaners get low pay, poorer conditions
and are treated as second class citizens in the store. There work is vital but John Lewis refuses to recognise this
Although they are employed by a different company, many of the cleaners have actually worked in the store
for years. The other people who work in the store are directly employed by John Lewis and are 'partners', sharing in the company profits through a bonus
scheme, which gives them a substantial annual bonus
As well as the cleaners and IWGB supporters there were a group of John Lewis customers who had come to
support the protest with placards 'John Lewis Your Customers Say Pay Your Cleaners the Living Wage'
The IWGB have asked John Lewis to insist that the contractors pay the London Living Wage
but John Lewis refuse to do so.
After Alberto's speech, some of the customers clapped as the cleaners prepared to leave
The made their way towards the escalator across the top floor of John Lewis
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