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More Demos At NE London colleges

Thursday, November 14, 2013

GMB Members Demo In Enfield On 21 Nov And Tottenham On 27 Nov To Oppose 23% Cut In Cleaners’ Pay At Haringey, Enfield And North East London College

The claims that are being made by CoNEL and Ocean that there is an agreement are misleading at best and unhelpful ahead of talks on Friday 15 November to try and resolve the issues says GMB.

GMB cleaners employed by contractor Ocean at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CoNEL) will stage two further demonstrations over a cut to their hours of work.

The next demonstration will be on Thursday 21st November at 6.30pm at the Enfield Centre when they lobby the college Governors. After that they will protest on Wednesday 27th November at 8.30am outside the college in Tottenham. This follows a demonstration at the Tottenham site on Friday 8th November.

Ocean want to reduce the cleaners current hours of work 51 weeks per year to 39 weeks in the year from January 2014 to “save money”. That will mean cleaning staff on £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 is refuting claims made by the college in the press on the issue. GMB made clear that there had are clear that there has been no agreement to detrimental changes to cleaning staff terms and conditions and no meaningful consultation with the union or staff.

A statement from CoNEL printed in the local press claimed that “The college faced considerable budget cuts of £3.17million this year. We have successfully avoided making significant job cuts by reducing expenditure where we can without affecting teaching and learning, such as rationalising cleaning in the holiday periods.

The college has confirmed with our cleaning contractor that there is no reduction in the hourly rate of pay and that, following consultation with the staff and the GMB union, all the staff have agreed the changes.”

GMB are disappointed that this statement has been released ahead of talks that are scheduled to take place on Friday 15th November.

The details of the demonstrations are as follows:

From 6.30pm on Thursday 21st November

Outside Enfield Centre

College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London
73 Hertford Road
Middlesex EN3 5HA


From 8.30am Wed 27th November

At Tottenham Centre

The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London
High Road
London N15 4RU

Steve Sweeney, Regional Organiser, said ‘The claims that are being made by CoNEL and Ocean that there is an agreement are misleading at best and unhelpful ahead of talks to try and resolve the issues.

GMB have not been consulted in any meaningful way, and the cleaning staff face having these cuts imposed by mean and miserly employers who refuse to even pay them a living wage.

If the College and Ocean want the dialogue to be meaningful and constructive then they need to retract this statement. We are clear that neither staff nor GMB have agreed to the changes and we will continue to oppose them and fight for a living wage”.’

The CoNEL cleaners spoke at a meeting at London Metropolitan University last night (Weds 13th November) highlighting the campaign. They said ‘We are cleaners at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, employed by Ocean. We work hard, but only get the minimum wage of £6.31 per hour. This is not enough to live on anywhere, but in London it is really difficult.

The college told Ocean it needed to save money, so Ocean told us they wanted to cut our contracts from 51 weeks a year to 39 weeks. They said we had no choice. Some of the cleaners said we had no choice too, but some of us decided to fight.

We are now GMB members and then on Friday 6th November we had our first protest outside the college. There were about 15 cleaners and more than 60 college staff, students and local people. It was very noisy! We were so happy to see other people supporting us, it made us feel strong.

Because of our demonstration, they are at last listening to us. College and Ocean managers have asked for a meeting on Friday with our GMB reps.

We are not going to stop fighting. Until they agree to give us the London Living Wage and not cut our hours, we will continue to protest and demonstrate. We need your support”.


Contact: Steve Sweeney, GMB Regional Officer on 07703 469 403 or GMB press office 07974 251 823



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