10 April: The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is to ballot cleaners working at three Ernst & Young (EY) offices in London for strike action over proposed redundancies.

The 65 cleaners contracted out through outsourcing company ISS, the vast majority of which are IWGB members, were informed on 14 March that the cleaning services for the offices at 1 More London Place, 6 More London Place and 25 Churchill Place would be restructured, resulting in redundancies. The IWGB will today send ISS notice of strike ballot.

These redundancies will put additional strain on an already stretched workforce and not only result in a poorer cleaning provision, but also in a significant increase in stress among the remaining cleaners. This is being done in the name of “cost effectiveness” and in agreement with EY, according to letters sent my ISS to the cleaners.

These meagre cost savings that will be made off the backs of some of the UK’s most vulnerable workers are being sought by two companies that made USD 31bn and USD 13bn respectively in revenues last year.

ISS has also denied the cleaners representation by their trade union, the IWGB, in the redundancy process, opting for the cleaners to select reps among a workforce that is untrained and unprepared for redundancy negotiations.

Yesterday evening the IWGB led a surprise protest at Ernst & Young offices at 1 and 6 More London Place, entering the workplace to distribute leaflets informing other employees at EY about the deeply unjust redundancies being faced by the cleaners. Photos can be found here.

The company reacted by evacuating the building, preferring to shut down its own operations rather than allow its workforce to be informed on how the company treats its cleaners.

IWGB President Henry Chango Lopez said: “These are companies that have revenues in the billions but put the strain of their cost savings on their most vulnerable workers. Ernst & Young, which is already complicit in depriving our public services of billions of pounds through aggressive tax avoidance, has now added another item to its charge sheet – exploiting vulnerable workers.”

For more information:

Emiliano Mellino, press officer