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Royal Opera House Protest
Royal Opera House Protest

10 June 2022 at 17:00:00

CAIWU protests outside the Royal Opera House for better Pay and Working Conditions.

On 10th June 2022, CAIWU carried out a protest at the Royal Opera House (“ROH”). The protest was against the actions of DOC Cleaning Limited (“DOC”) in their refusal to stop victimising individual CAIWU members over the dispute for better pay and working conditions at the Royal Opera House.

CAIWU represents the cleaners and porters at the ROH. The ROH contracts out the cleaning to DOC Cleaning Ltd, which means that CAIWU members are employed by DOC Cleaning Ltd. The ROH have stated that the dispute is the responsibility of DOC, but DOC have informed CAIWU that any movement in the pay and working conditions of the cleaners and porters will have to be approved by the ROH. It therefore appears that both organisations are simply passing the buck between one another.

The cleaners and porters at the Royal Opera have four demands, which are set out below:
1. Contractual Sick Pay, on the same terms and conditions as the Security Guards and other outsourced workers such as the Engineers. CAIWU is aware that other outsourced workers are in receipt of 12 weeks contractual sick pay. The cleaners and porters are currently on Statutory Sick Pay.
2. Paid Rest Breaks. The cleaners and porters are not paid for their hour-long lunch break.
3. 7 days additional days of annual holiday and a system that after 5 years of employment the employee is entitled to an additional day for every subsequent year worked. The current holiday entitlement is 24 days holiday entitlement plus bank holidays.
4. 12% employer's pension contribution. The current employer pension contribution is 3%. CAIWU understands that there is a ROH pension scheme which "in-house" employees are entitled to, but the Cleaners and Porters are denied access.

CAIWU General Secretary, Alberto Durango, commented on the protest: "it was in the form of a party with music from the countries of origin of the cleaners and porters of the Royal Opera House. We danced around the entrance of the Opera House and people expressed support as they entered. The samba band arrived around 7pm and created a workers opera, as we demanded to be treated the same as the direct workers of the Opera House."

Further reading on the protest can be found below:

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