Members of the union Industrial Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) who clean the London branch in Tower Hill of the second largest bank in France, Société Générale (the bank), have had their hours slashed by 50% effective as of Monday 24th September 2012. This is despite the bank making a smidgen under £2 billion in profits in 2011, and boasting of its “resilience” to the current economic crisis.
The bank predictably claims these cuts are solely to “improve efficiency”, denying that they are cost-cutting. However, a cursory look at their proposals shows otherwise.
These cuts also come on the back of the cleaners recently securing the London Living Wage (LLW) of £8.30 per hour which effectively means that the bank will not shoulder any extra costs in paying their employees the LLW.
The cleaner’s were previously on poverty wages as defined by the Greater London Authority. Meanwhile, the Chairman and CEO of the bank, Frédéric Oudéa, makes over £1 million a year and hypocritically claims “to be a responsible employer, conscious of the well-being and professional development of our employees”.
Furthermore, the bank has ironically established the Société Générale UK Group Charitable Trust Fund aimed at “working to tackle any kind of disadvantage suffered by individuals or groups”, although when it comes to those that clean their offices the bank is single-handedly exacerbating the disadvantages suffered by individuals and groups.
In fact, as a result of these cuts the cleaners will be forced from an existence of subsistence to one of terrifying scarcity, poor health, substandard housing and crippling debt. Their salaries will no longer even suffice for certain staple food items.
The cleaners objected to the proposals during every step of the sham of a “consultation” process run by Initial Facilities, the stooge subcontractor hired by the bank. However, their objections were ignored.
The cleaner’s then valiantly took to the streets staging regular, large scale protests over the course of a month supported by students, MPs, activist groups such as Movimiento Ecuador en el Reino Unido (Ecuadorian Movement in the United Kingdom) and Worker's Liberty, and other branches of the labour movement including the rank and file of UNITE, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).
As a result of these protests all the cleaners who are members of the IWGB have been suspended!
This contravenes basic employment law and constitutes an attack not only on the cleaners at the bank but on the entire labour movement.
Please sign this petition and write to the following people at the bank demanding: 1) the immediate re-instatement of the cleaners, 2) the removal of this suspension from their employment records, 3) the sacking of the managers at Initial Facilities who authorised the unlawful suspension of the cleaners and 4) NO CUTS TO THE CLEANERS HOURS
Laetitia Maurel - Head of Group Media Relations
Saphia Gaouaoui, Head of Media Relations,
Jasvant Singh, Head of Communciation,