Cleaners fight 23% wage cuts

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ANGRY GMB members are demonstrating outside the CoNEL College in Tottenham this morning against an ‘utterly shameful’ attack on college cleaners which cuts their pay by 23%.

GMB demand a London living wage for the cleaners of £8.55 per hour.

The GMB said: ‘Contractors Ocean say they must cut working time from 51 weeks to 39 as part of the college’s “efficiency savings” as they are being paid less for the cleaning contract.

‘Ocean want to reduce the cleaners’ current hours from January 2014 to “save money”.

‘That will mean cleaning staff on a £6.31 minimum wage will work term time only which amounts to a 23% pay cut for the lowest paid workers in the college.

‘GMB members will be on the demonstration with flags and banners and will be supported by students and teaching staff.’

Steve Sweeney, GMB regional officer, said: ‘If the college really want to save money they can cut the pay of senior management, some of whom are earning more than £140,000 per year, and stop hiring external consultants, some of whom are believed to be earning £700 per day.

‘CoNEL claims to be a community college and should not be paying anyone less than a London Living Wage of £8.55 per hour.

‘These cuts are utterly shameful and an attack on the terms and conditions of those who are the lowest paid in the college.

‘GMB is calling on students, the public and other trade unionists to support the campaign for the London Living Wage for cleaners at CoNEL.

‘GMB cleaners are grateful for the support of the University and College Union which represents academic and academic-related staff at CoNEL.

‘Contractors are driven by a profit motive and the way in which they resolve a crisis is by cutting pay, conditions and sacking staff.’

• Meanwhile, seven school support staff are threatened with the sack as a South London academy, Ark Putney, cuts its funding while simultaneously opening a new free school in Battersea.

GMB said: ‘ARK opening a new free school in Battersea, leading to a “rob Peter to pay Paul” situation giving rise to these job losses, was predicted and predictable.

‘GMB has been advised that seven support staff will be made redundant at Ark Academy in Putney (formerly Elliot School). This is over 25% of support staff. Members of GMB, Unison and ATL are affected.’

Paul Maloney, GMB regional secretary, said: ‘The reason given for these latest redundancies is that funding to Ark Putney has to be cut by over £750,000 due to numbers at the school being less than projected.

‘ARK recently opened the Bolingbroke School in Wandsworth at a total cost of £30m. This has 120 students in year 7 and 120 in year 8.

‘If those students were attending ARK Putney rather than ARK Battersea Free School there would be no financial difficulty at the Putney school.’