Petition update

Cleaners at Ferrari / Maserati dealerships to strike for London Living Wage

Maria Susana Benavidez Guaman
Londres, ENG, United Kingdom

Sep 26, 2017 — The cleaners at HR Owen's Ferrari and Maserati dealerships in South Kensingon have just voted 100% in favour of strike action.

This Saturday 30th September there will be a solidarity protest in the build up to the start of their strike - https://www.facebook.com/events/295822924157524/

BACKGROUND:

For the last 5 years the cleaners - originally from Ecuador - have been cleaning and polishing the Ferrari and Maserati dealerships in South Kensington run by H.R. Owen - Britain's leading luxury motor dealer, and the world's largest retailer in Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti.

Despite a turnover of around £400 million HR Owen chooses to outsource the cleaners to a company called Templewood where they are condemned, like millions of other workers, to the indignity and impoverishment of the minimum wage.

Furthermore, they have been for years systematically underpaid even the miserable wages they were owed which has led to legal proceedings being instigated against Templewood and HR Owen for unlawful deductions from wages and breach of minimum wage legislation.

Having finally decided enough was enough the cleaners joined UVW union and asked for a wage increase from £7.50 per hour to the London Living Wage of £9.75 per hour. However, both Templewood and HR Owen have denied responsibility for setting the cleaners' rate of pay. This is a common occurrence in the world of outsourcing where the Bermuda-like-triangle between the worker the client and the contractor swallows both employer's responsibilities and workers' rights.

Unwilling to entertain Templewood and HR Owen's excuses or endure the indignity of the minimum wage for any longer the cleaners asked UVW to ballot them for strike action.

Following a 100% Yes vote a strike will commence in October.

Please also consider making a donation to their strike fund if you can - https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/hr-owen/

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Here is a letter from the Roger Godsiff to HR Owen:

Dear Denise Grimston of HR Owen and Gordon Hulley of Templewood,

I am writing to you to express my concern about the sub-living wage pay received by cleaners who work at your Ferrari and Maserati showrooms in South Kensington. I understand that these cleaners are currently asking to be paid the London Living Wage of £9.75 per hour. I am contacting you to express my support for this request, and to urge you to engage with the cleaners and their union to reach a fair deal on pay of at least the LLW, plus paid holiday and sick leave.

Everyone deserves a wage that they can afford to live on with dignity. Unfortunately, the cleaners' current wage of £7.50 per hour – which the Conservative Government has disingenuously branded a 'living wage' - simply doesn't provide them with that opportunity. Earning only the minimum wage can often leave workers with so little money at the end of the month that they are forced to choose between heating their homes or eating, as their wages simply don't cover both. It is clearly unacceptable that anyone should have to make such a horrific choice, and it is astounding that those who perform he vital function of cleaning your showrooms, which have an annual turnover of £400 million and where cars worth hundreds of thousands of pounds are sold every day, are in that position.

The real London Living Wage rate of £9.75 per hour is independently calculated by the Resolution Foundation based on the best available evidence about living standards in London and what employees and their families need to live. That is why it is so important that companies ensure that a real living wage is paid to all their staff and those who work through outsourced contracts.

I do appreciate that HR Owen chooses to outsource its cleaners to Templewood Cleaning Services Ltd. However, it is still HR Owen, as the client, which negotiates and pays the cleaning bill and could and should ensure that all their outsourced contracts guarantee that staff receive at least the London Living Wage, as many other companies already do across the capital.

I also note with concern that the contractor Templewood has unlawfully withheld large proportions of the cleaners' wages over a substantial period of time, and that this is now the subject of legal proceedings. Paying your cleaners the minimum wage with a turnover of £400 million is unjustifiable, but hiring a contractor which systematically withholds these already low wages owed to them is illegal, as well as immoral.

Lastly, whilst I fully support the cleaners in their decision to take strike action, it is regrettable that they have been compelled to do so, rather than HR Owen and Templewood simply agreeing to the proposals made by their union UVW to implement the living wage within an agreed reasonable time frame.

I therefore urge you to sit down with your employees and their union and resolve this dispute to ensure justice and a decent living standards for these employees—who do essential work without which the showroom would not function.

Kind regards,

Roger Godsiff MP
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Hall Green


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