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Solidarity Demo For Carillion Cleaners
Activists from B.A.R.F. joined Goan cleaners, GMB unionists, and members of both Swindon Anarchist Group and Bristol Anarchist Federation yesterday afternoon, the 4th of July, as they held a solidarity demonstration outside Swindon's Great Western Hospital. Between ten and 30 strong throughout the day, and receiving much honking support from passing motorists, the protest was held in support of the ten Carillion whistle-blowers currently subject to disciplinary procedures.
For background, Carillion, who run the domestic cleaning contract for GWH and elsewhere, have been criticised for the culture of institutionalised racism that has infested the company for years. One element of this racism is their informal tradition of 'gift giving', in which the mainly South Asian workforce are required to offer either cash or goods to their supervisors in order to attain the holidays, shift changes or overtime to which they are lawfully entitled; when this corruption was reported back in 2009, the staff were not believed. Then in December 2011, when 109 workers filed the same grievance, the company conducted a sham investigation before straight-facedly claiming there was nothing to investigate. It was only after the GMB union carried out their strike (now having racked up 20 days of strikes), and another five months of renewed investigation, and three sacked managers, that the company partially admitted their error.
Adding insult to injury, now, after all the cover-ups and foot-dragging, Carillion have had the gall to take the ten workers brave enough to give evidence about the company's shake-downs, and accuse the cleaners themselves of offering bribes!
But these dirty bastards have more skeletons in their closet; their hatred of unions led them to dismiss and blacklist engineer Dave Smith –former UCATT safety rep – after he raised concerns about asbestos and poor toilets. His name was added to an unlawful blacklist of 3,000 trade unionists, preventing them from securing future work. For their trouble, he took the company to court.
In the future, in the case of the Carillion cleaners, expect more strikes, and more lost contracts and embarrassment for Carillion. The campaigners refuse to back down!
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