A group of cleaners working at the London offices of global media business Condé Nast, which owns Vogue, Vanity Fair and Tatler, among other brands, have won an 11% pay rise, backdated to 1 April.
The employer outsources the cleaning of its offices at the Adelphi Building in Central London to international facilities provider Samsic.
The cleaners, who are primarily Latin American and members of trade union for migrant workers United Voices of the World (UVW), threatened strike action over their pay rates. The business agreed to pay them the London living wage of £11.95, which is calculated by the Living Wage Foundation based on the cost of living.
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Samsic, which has a total revenue of £75 million for its UK division, has committed to automatically increasing the workers’ wages in line with the London living wage rate every year.
Petros Elia, general secretary at UVW, said: “While we are thrilled that the cleaners have won a historic and retroactive pay rise, the fact that they had to threaten to go on strike is an indictment of the exploitative hypocrisy of big businesses who are happy to make massive profits on the back of outsourced ancillary workers on poverty wages, while trumpeting ethical values of equality of treatment and opportunity, fairness and diversity. Strike action and the threat of it proves yet again to be the only way to ensure decent pay and conditions for workers.”
UVW also represents cleaners, carers and concierge workers at Amazon warehouses, Mercedes-Benz showrooms, the Department of Education and the London School of Economics, among others. Earlier this month, it represented a group of outsourced Amazon cleaners at a Dartford, Kent warehouse in negotiating a voluntary recognition deal with the union.
Samsic was contacted for comment prior to publication.