The tranquillity of Canary Wharf was shattered by a group of cleaners with a siren protesting outside HSBC’s tower over planned staffing cuts.
Workers from the Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union (CAIWU) held a loud demonstration outside the bank’s headquarters in Canada Square after the decision to cut down the workforce was made by HSBC’s management company GLL and facilities support services company ISS .
Leader of the CAIWU chapel at HSBC, Alberto Burango, said ISS was planning to cut 10 full-time day workers and leave approximately 15 remaining cleaners to pick up their work.
He also accused ISS of refusing to recognise the union or allow representation from CAIWU in the consultation process.
Mr Burango said: “They say they will only recognise Unite, but all of the workers are in our union. No-one is in Unite.
“It’s human beings against profit. I’m sure HSBC has more than enough money to pay its cleaners.”
He added: “People around Canary Wharf have been very supportive of our protest. Everyone is suffering cuts all around so they support what we are doing. Workers need to get together and fight back.”
The union, which is currently balloting on whether to go on strike on June 6, held a protest with placards, whistles and a siren outside the bank’s headquarters on Wednesday, May 17.
A spokesman for ISS said: “ISS is currently working in partnership with our client at 8 Canada Square in relation to the re-allocation and transfer of labour resources from day or afternoon shifts to night shifts.
“This has been driven by changes in occupancy levels and working hours restricting the ability to carry out core cleaning throughout the building during the afternoon and early evening.
“As such we have started a collective consultation process with elected employee representatives at this site.
“We are working productively with the official union for the site and the whole process is currently due to end on June 10.
“Where some employees are unable to change their working hours, we have given a commitment to ensuring that we will do all we can to find alternative and suitable employment with ISS for them elsewhere in the Canary Wharf or central London area.”
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