Google: Treat Your Cleaners Properly!

Trouble at Google 3

Mary Hanbury has written about the Google situation at length for the Business Insider:

https://www.businessinsider.com/google-london-cleaners-threaten-strike-over-working-conditions-contractors-2019-10?r=US&IR=T


The case of the missing phone
The ongoing dispute at Google over the suspension of CAIWU members Henry Ramirez and Jorge Nelson Cardona has taken a turn for the sinister.

On September 20th, Ramirez was suspended and placed under investigation regarding a mobile phone which had allegedly gone missing from a disabled toilet. CAIWU understands that the initial enquiry into this incident was conducted by an investigator employed by Google, despite Ramirez being a Principle employee. This move is apparently at odds with ACAS codes of practice. Ramirez remained on suspension for a month though no evidence has been produced to support the allegation.

Cardona was suspended briefly following unspecified allegations which were subsequently withdrawn. In a letter dated September 19th, Principle wrote to him confirming that ‘you are no longer on suspension and that we will not be proceeding with Disciplinary action against you.’ However, the letter went on to state: ‘Unfortunately, you are not able to return to Google’. No reason is offered for this expulsion.

Both Henry and Jorge were formally dismissed by the end of October, despite none of the cited evidence being offered by Google or Principle.

At last we understand that the case against Cardona amounts to the word of a Google employee that they accidentally left their phone in the toilets and that it had gone when they went back to look at it. Circumstantial evidence is also said to have been provided by CCTV recordings of Henry visiting the same toilet in between the phone’s owner leaving, allegedly without it, and returning to look for it.

Plus the fact that, according to a Google investigator, Henry’s general behaviour as recorded by CCTV was ‘suspicious or excitable’.

We can’t help wondering what kind of credentials qualify Google’s investigator to determine suspicious and excitable behaviour from an individual’s body language on a silent CCTV recording.

Henry’s own phone was taken from him for inspection, and retained for a short time by the investigators while Henry was out of the room.

How would you feel about giving your employer unrestricted access to your phone?

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A couple of days after Henry’s investigation, a colleague of Henry and Jorge on the Google cleaning team in St Giles was led from her workplace, put in a car, and driven across London to Google HQ at Number 6 Pancras Square. She says she knew right away something strange was going on. She felt like she was receiving a special kind of attention. People who’d barely acknowledged her before were suddenly treating her like their best friend.

She was brought into a meeting room, where she was confronted by a selection of managers – some from Principle, her employer, and others from Google itself. Was she willing, they asked, to make an incriminating witness statement against Henry Ramirez?

Why they chose her, she has no idea. As she told them at the time, if they have any evidence to support their allegations against Henry, all they have to do is produce it.

They still haven’t done that.

It looks to us as though they don’t have any – so they’re trying to persuade his friends and colleagues to incriminate him instead.

So much for a fair and transparent process.

Our message to Principle and Google is simple: If you believe a crime has been committed, report it to the police.

At the moment, they’re acting like judge, jury and executioner.


Google Protest Planned for Kings Cross, October 1st

Google cleaners and CAIWU members and supporters will be protesting against the removal of Henry Ramirez and Jorge Nelson Cardona on October 1st.

The protest will begin at 9am at Google, 6 Pancras Square, London N1C 4AG

Please join us and show our support for Henry and Jorge!

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Workers’ Reps Removed from Google Kings Cross

In a shocking move, Google and its cleaning service provider Principle have removed two workers’ reps from Google’s Kings Cross HQ.

Henry Ramirez and Jorge Nelson Cardona were removed on the eve of talks between CAIWU and Principle aimed at resolving a number of long-running issues at Google including cuts to the workforce, increased workloads and the lack of cover during absences.

Ramirez is suspended and required to leave the Google site after allegedly being involved in the disappearance of a mobile phone. To date we have seen no evidence to justify the accusation. We understand he was investigated by a Google investigator, despite being an employee of Principle. This would appear to be a clear breach of the ACAS codes of practice governing disciplinary procedures.

Meanwhile, Cardona was briefly suspended on unspecified charges which have now been dropped. In a letter dated September 19th, Principle wrote to him confirming that ‘you are no longer on suspension and that we will not be proceeding with Disciplinary action against you.’

However, the letter goes on to state: ‘Unfortunately, you are not able to return to Google’. No reason is offered for this expulsion.

Principle is trying to claim that these actions are not an attack on the union, though such claims are scarcely credible under the circumstances.

This looks to us like a direct attack on this union, and one we are not willing to simply accept. A series of protests is being planned along with a publicity campaign. And the Google Cleaners intend to begin a formal trade dispute leading in all probability to industrial action.

Watch this space for more information!

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Google is one of the most recognisable brands on the planet.

It’s also one of the wealthiest. In 2018 its parent company, Alphabet, reported a profit of over US$30 billion.

To put that in context, the cost of completely eradicating malaria from the world by 2040 is estimated at around US$100 billion.

Just think – with three year’s profits, Google could virtually eliminate a disease that currently claims over a million lives a year.

So why can’t they look after their cleaners properly?

Google’s cleaners are planning to go on strike to try and resolve their difficulties with their employer, Principle Cleaning.

Principle has been withholding bonus payments from a number of cleaners without good reason. Principle also refuses to provide contractual sick pay, or to allow workers to take four weeks consecutive annual leave to visit their families and friends, who live all over the world.

To add to that, Principle has steadily reduced the number of cleaners on the Google team over a long period of time – but without any reduction in the cleaners’ impossible workloads.

And Principle is failing to provide cover for absences due to sickness or annual leave.

After trying and failing to discuss these issues with Principle, the cleaners have decided that going on strike is their only option. They’ve already begun a formal dispute, and the ballot will be held in the next few weeks.

Here’s how you can support them:

  • Join the protests – check this page for full details of our forthcoming protests at Google’s London offices in Buckingham Palace Road, Pancras Square and St Giles
  • Share on social media – Please share the strike event pages on your accounts. You’ll find the links on this page or at facebook.com/cleanersbranch
  • Donate to the strike fund – Every donation helps the cleaners to continue their campaign for justice. Please donate what you can. To donate please click the link at the bottom of the page or visit bitly.com/caiwupp

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