A letter of reassurance to our members at Ofcom

Here’s the letter we just sent our members who clean Ofcom’s offices at Riverside House in Southwark Bridge Road. After some of them took part in a peaceful legal protest, Mitie threatened them with disciplinary action if they did anything like it again. So we wrote to them to try and help keep their spirits up….

Dear CAIWU Member,

I’m writing to you about the Memo you recently received from Mitie, after the protest at Riverside House on May 23rd.

I’m sure you must be feeling anxious at the moment, not just about your jobs, which are under threat from the restructuring process, but about Mitie’s claims that taking part in the demonstration means that you might be in breach of contract. The memo states that if you participate in any further demonstrations then you might face disciplinary action for breaking the terms of your contracts.

I’m writing to reassure you that this isn’t the case, and that Mitie’s memo is just empty threats.

Your right to assemble and demonstrate peacefully are written in law and enshrined in Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Mitie cannot take these rights away from you. No contract conditions or codes of conduct can change that. It is in fact Mitie who is acting illegally by attempting to impose these unenforceable conditions and restrictions on you. We are currently investigating our options for appropriate action against Mitie, and will continue to support you in your struggle against them in pursuit of your rights.

Mitie also implies in its Memo that we, your union, may have unlawfully induced you to act in breach of contract. Please let me assure you that this is also not true. It is illegal to include in a contract any terms that would lead to you forfeiting your legal rights if you complied with them. Mitie cannot therefore claim that you are in breach of such illegal terms.

We hope that this letter goes some way towards reassuring you that the action you took on May 23rd was entirely legal, and that you cannot be punished for it. If you have any questions, or are worried about any aspect of the current situation at Ofcom then please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll do our best to answer them and provide further reassurances.

Keep up the fight — you have right on your side.

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