Facebook cleaners face escalating workloads crisis


Churchill Cleaning, the employer of the Facebook London cleaners, has escalated the growing workloads crisis.

Churchil has doubled the workloads of the cleaners at the social media giant's 10 Brock Street offices since taking over the Facebook cleaning contract in January from Bidvest Noonan. The company has also removed the cleaners' CAIWU trade union reprresentative Guillermo Camacho. And now it is trying to implement similar changes at Facebook's London HQ in Rathbone Square.

Monica Arribasplata, the kitchen cleaning supervisor at Rathbone Square, tells us that she returned from annual leave this week to be told she is to be moved to Facebook's Shaftesbury Avenue offices because of changes to the arrangements of another cleaning team. Arribasplata says she was belittled and laughed at by Churchill's contract manager when she expressed her unhappiness about the move and pointed out that her contract is to work inthe kitchen at Rathbone Square. Arribasplata has suffered from fragility and vulnerability since suffering a severe electrical accident at work two years ago, and the episode triggered a panic attack which ended with her being hospitalised by ambulance. It is deeply revealing of Churchill's underlying attitude towards its employees.

The cleaners remain determined to resist Churchill's plans by all legal means at their disposal. Successful protests at both Brock Street and Rathbone Square on September 3rd will be followed by more this Friday, September 10th, and again on 17th. Workers say the protests will continue indefinitely until their concerns are addressed.

Meanwhile, Camacho, the removed trade union representative, continues to face an uncertain future. JLL, Facebook's facilities management company, has refused outright to consider his return to site, meaning that he stands to lose his job altogether unless Churchill can find him a suitable alternative. They have not done so at the time of writing, and Camacho faces another hearing next week at which his dismissal on the grounds of SOSR — Some Other Substantial Reason in the obscure language of HR — appears increasingly likely.

CAIWU intends to bring Camacho's case to the employment tribunal, where it holds high hopes for a successful outcome. But a victory will not give Camacho his job back, his probable dismissal being yet another to add to the growing list of back-door dismissals of trade unionists as a result of third party pressure from outsourcing clients.

Read CAIWU's latest Facebook press release.

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