Cleaners & porters begin their campaign at the Royal Opera House
The cleaners and porters at the Royal Opera House (“ROH”) took to the streets, to mark the beginning of their campaign, for better pay and working conditions.
The cleaners and porters at the Royal Opera House (“ROH”) took to the streets today to mark the beginning of their campaign for better pay and working conditions. The Cleaners and Porters have the following four demands: 1) Guaranteed contractual sick pay, 2) Paid rest breaks, 3) Additional holiday entitlement, and 4) 12% employer’s pension contribution.
CAIWU represents the cleaners and porters at the ROH. The cleaners and porters are employed by DOC Cleaning Ltd ("DOC"), who have the cleaning contract with the ROH. CAIWU first wrote to Alex Beard (CEO of the ROH) on 22nd April 2022, copying in DOC. However, both DOC and the ROH have since failed to meet any of the four demands as set out in that letter. Therefore, on 12th May 2022 CAIWU sent an official letter of dispute to DOC.
The cleaners and porters worked tirelessly through the Covid-19 pandemic and believe that this should be reflected in their employment contracts. They were critical in maintaining safe working practices so that customers and those involved in the production of the shows at the ROH knew they were participating in a safe environment. Furthermore, since the pandemic the cleaners and porters have continued to provide high quality and indispensable services to the ROH.
In addition, the ROH was heavily reliant on public funds during the pandemic with support from the Arts Council England, the Culture Recovery Fund, and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In his address, dated 25 May 2021, Alex Beard (Chief Executive of the ROH) commented on the ROH’s civic role in addressing racial injustice, the divide between rich and poor and contributing to a more equal society.
The cleaners and porters are all from ethnic minority backgrounds and are treated differently from their counterparts who are employed directly for the ROH. Therefore, the tiered workforce created by the ROH is only serving to perpetuate inequailty and racial injustice.
We call on the ROH to take action and act in accordance with their own purported values. Change starts at home. ROH – Clean Up Your House!