Migrant workers at Brexiteer millionaire's club victimised following trade union activity


19 August 2019

  • IWGB is launching a petition calling for an end to victimisation, the London Living Wage, occupational sick pay and an end to outsourcing
  • 5 Hertford Street is owned by millionaire Brexiteer Robin Birley, who donated over £250,000 to UKIP and £20,000 to Boris Johnson.

19 August: At least seven kitchen porters working at a private members' club owned by millionaire Brexiteer Robin Birley have been suspended on trumped up charges, after the launch of a campaign for a living wage and occupational sick pay.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is today launching a petition calling for the immediate reinstatement of the kitchen porters, all of whom are migrant workers. The petition also asks that the workers be paid at least the London Living Wage, be given occupational sick pay and that the club cease outsourcing these essential services.

Prior to the launch of the IWGB's campaign in May, kitchen porters at 5 Hertford Street were only paid £8.65 per hour, barely enough to survive in London. Under the pressure of the campaign the club was forced to increase their pay to £9 per hour, but that is still far below the London Living Wage of £10.55 per hour.

The porters are also denied occupational sick pay, so they get no money at all the first three days they are off work with an illness and then are only paid £94.25 per week. This means many of them are forced to work while they are ill, just to be able to pay their rent and keep the light on.

The campaign was triggered by 5 Hertford Street's decision to outsource the kitchen porters to subcontractor ActClean.

5 Hertford Street is one of the most exclusive clubs in London, where annual membership allegedly costs £1,800 and it is reported that even some billionaires don't make the cut. Owner Robin Birley recently donated £20,000 to Boris Johnson's leadership campaign and had previously donated more than £250,000 to UKIP. The other directors of the club are Ben Goldsmith, James Adam Reuben and Clive Stuart Richardson.

IWGB President Henry Chango Lopez said: “The 5 Hertford Street kitchen porters had a very simple and fair demand: to not be treated like the dirty dishes they clean. Management's response has been to intimidate workers with suspensions on absurd grounds. If Robin Birley can hand over £250,000 to racists like UKIP and Boris Johnson, he can pay his workers a living wage. We demand an end to all victimisation and that these workers be employed on fair terms and conditions.”

For more information:

Emiliano Mellino, press officer

[email protected]