1 September 2022 at 11:00:00
Meta office cleaner and CAIWU union representative, Guillermo Camacho, takes agency to Employment Tribunal following discrimination and unfair dismissal
The Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union (“CAIWU”) is next week (7th – 9th September) supporting its elected union representative, Guillermo Camacho, in his Employment Tribunal case against Churchill Contract Services Limited (“Churchill”) for unfair dismissal and discrimination arising from his trade union activities. CAIWU are working with Amnesty International to ensure companies such as Meta cannot outsource workers to breach human rights standards and avoid their own stated commitments to workers.
CAIWU will be protesting alongside Amnesty International outside Meta’s offices at 10 Brock Street, London, NW1 3FG tomorrow between 5pm and 6pm.
Mr Camacho was an employee of Churchill. Churchill have a contract with Jones Lang Lasalle Ltd (“JLL”) to clean Meta’s London office.
Mr Camacho’s case for discrimination arising from his trade union activities and unfair dismissal is based on the following facts:
• Mr Camacho was dismissed in August 2021 by way of third-party pressure, a reason companies use to ‘fairly’ dismiss their employees (see notes to editors for a detailed definition).
• The grounds upon which the client, JLL, demanded Mr Camacho’s removal from the Meta/Facebook site were based on poor performance and alleged anonymous Meta/Facebook complaints.
• Instead, Mr Camacho will argue that he was dismissed due to his trade union activities with CAIWU and that the third-party pressure was a coordinated sham orchestrated by JLL and Churchill.
• From May 2021 to Mr Camacho’s dismissal, he had been organising fellow cleaners following an increased workload (obligations to undertake pandemic-related touch point cleaning and an increase in the number of office floors from 5 to 12) despite no increase in the number of cleaners on site (22-24).
• On 21 July 2021 Mr Camacho and CAIWU’s organising culminated in the first of a series of protests outside Meta’s/Facebook offices. During the protest, senior employees from both JLL and Churchill walked past the protestors, filmed the protests, and conducted a meeting inside the Meta/Facebook offices of which they took no notes.
• That same afternoon, whilst the protest was still ongoing, JLL sent their request for Mr Camacho to be removed from the Meta/Facebook site based on the reasons given above.
• Following their own investigation, Churchill found no need to discipline Mr Camacho let alone dismiss him.
• As per their legal obligations Churchill allegedly made efforts to find Mr Camacho alternative employment, however, these were all unsuitable, such as a role in Scotland.
Despite Mr Camacho working in Meta’s offices, Meta have failed continually to take any ownership of the situation and have instead passed responsibility over to their subcontractors (JLL and Churchill), who have acted in a way as to undermine workers’ rights. The effect of the dismissal on other cleaning staff has been a hammer blow for any collective bargaining for better working conditions.
Mr Camacho’s case is due to be heard by the London Central Employment Tribunal by video hearing, press wishing to attend should contact the Central London Employment Tribunal citing the case number 2200246/2022.
Alberto Durango, General Secretary of CAIWU, stated:
“Guillermo’s treatment is all too familiar to us. It’s a blatant and classic tactic to intimidate other workers by making a brutal example of a trade union leader. Third-party pressure disproportionately impacts precarious workers who are too often outsourced and allows the employer to hide behind their client as workers’ rights are eroded.
Our members who still work at Meta’s offices tell us they continue to live under the cloud of Guillermo’s dismissal and the implicit threat that they too could be dismissed for speaking out.
We need to see real change and that should start with an apology and compensation for Guillermo. Employers should have to justify the dismissal of their employee in a fair and transparent way and not supress the rights of workers to collectively bargain for fair working conditions.”
Further reading and resources can be found via the links below:
Amnesty Take Action - www.amnesty.org.uk/CleanUpFacebook
Amnesty Briefing - https://www.amnesty.org.uk/meta-workers-rights-matter
Amnesty Press Release - https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/uk-meta-accused-breaching-workers-rights-over-dismissal-cleaner-who-organised
Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/sep/01/facebook-contractor-accused-of-sacking-office-cleaner-over-protests
Morning Star - https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/meta-accused-breaching-commitments-labour-union-rep
City AM - https://www.cityam.com/meta-accused-of-breaching-workers-rights-over-union-rep-cleaners-dismissal/