Cleaners at London Elizabeth Hotel have won back £4,733 furlough wages they were denied by outsourced cleaning company Pridegreen after protesting on 2 October. One cleaner, Miluska, was denied five months wages by the company while it continued to claim public money from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
On 2nd October, cleaners staged a demonstration on the hotel premises. The protest, organised by the IWGB, involved 25 cleaners and supporters chanting “London Elizabeth, pay our wages now!” in the lobby of the hotel and then on the steps outside.
HMRC public records show that Pridegreen Ltd. applied for the CJRS, claiming between £10,000-25,000 per month between December 2020 and June 2021. During this time, cleaners were left without a livelihood at the height of the pandemic.
Mildre, cleaner at London Elizabeth said, “It has been very tough for us during the pandemic since London Elizabeth refused to pay our salary. We’ve had to fight every day to get them to pay our wages. Only the protest finally forced them to keep their word. The support and collaboration from the IWGB has been amazing in this fight for our rights. Together we are one!”
The IWGB first intervened in June 2020 after cleaners were not paid furlough wages, and the case was escalated to an Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) claim. The wages for April to June were eventually paid but IWGB has been forced to intervene several times since with Pridegreen repeatedly failing to pay wages on time or at all.
Wilson Ayala, Chair of the Cleaners & Facilities Branch (IWGB), said: “We are very pleased that the workers have been paid the wages that were unlawfully retained by the hotel. However, this would not have happened if we had not resorted to our campaign and shamed them on their doorstep. During the pandemic we have helped to recover thousands of pounds of furlough wages that were denied to low paid workers by exploitative employers like Elizabeth Hotel, and this only goes to show that the current law enforcement is not fit to protect these precarious workers who need it most.”
Image by IWGB Cleaners and Facilities Branch.