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6 June:The Cleaners and Facilities branch of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) are protesting the poor treatment and pay of kitchen porters at 5 Hertford Street, one of London’s most exclusive restaurants, on Friday 7th June at 8pm. The downstairs nightclub, LouLou’s, has played host to Hollywood A-listers George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as royals Prince William and Princess Eugenie.
The IWGB will demand that the Mayfair-based establishment reverse its decision to outsource the porters, who are mostly migrant workers, and increase their pay to the London Living Wage of £10.55 per hour and offer decent occupational sick pay. Despite working for one of the most expensive clubs in London, which values membership at £1,800 per month, the porters are on £9 per hour with poor sick pay conditions.
The union began the campaign on 25 May with a protest to stop the outsourcing planned for 1st June, which the workers fear will worsen their already threadbare conditions. They are now under contract with cleaning company ACT Clean but will continue to fight against outsourcing.
Ongoing IWGB campaigns at the University of London’s central buildings, such as Senate House, and Goldsmiths University, highlight how outsourcing is often used to undermine the terms and conditions of workers and facilitates abusive cultures toward migrant workers. Outsourced workers from both sites are mostly migrants, unlike those who were directly employed, and are subject to inferior conditions because they are outsourced, such as worse holiday pay and pensions.
The ability of 5 Hertford Street’s porters to fight back is already limited; they are forced to sign non-disclosure agreements that stop them from speaking to the media.
Henry Chango-Lopez, President of the IWGB, said:
> “It is unfair that the porters who allow billionaires to wine and dine in luxury and secrecy are left hung out to dry. The porters can see straight through 5 Hertford Street’s bribes and know that outsourcing will only lead to further exploitation. The restaurant needs to give justice to its workers and put them all under the same banner.”
For more information:
Sebastien Flais, IWGB Central Union Co-ordinator