uan Carlos Piedra Benitez has worked for Office and General, the cleaning contractors at University Colege London (UCL), for 11 months. Juan Carlos was transferred to work in UCL after being called into a disciplinary meeting and warned about his union activities, including campaigning for the London living wage. He was told that his work was no problem and the only problem was his attitude—that he told people about the union, about their right to go to tribunals if they were badly treated. Two days after being transferred to UCL he was called into a meeting and told that he had been seen at SOAS protesting against the immigration raid and at union protests. Then he was told "there is no job for you here" and was made redundant.
See press article: http://www.socialistworker.org.uk/art.php?id=19042
Juan Carlos is demanding his reinstatement and that O&G be investigated. He has the support of the UCL trade unions. You can back his campaign in specific, practical ways.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Attend the public lobby on Thursday, bring banners etc:
Public lobby of the UCL Provost for Juan Carlos Piedra's reinstatement
1pm Thursday 1st October 2009
UCL Main Quad
(off Gower St, London WC1E 6BT)
2. Ask to add your name to the open letter (below) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your full name, trade union and any position you may hold and place of work or study as you wish these to appear in print. Signatures needed before midday Monday when th epetition will be presented.
3. Ask others to add their names. Workmates? Someone you handed a leaflet? Anyone with a bit of profile? Union leaders, politicians, religious leaders, academics, journalists, people at the TUC conference happening in Liverpool in right now? Where else can you circulate this request?
4. Join the Facebook group at http://tinyurl.com/ramfy4 and invite others.
*** OPEN LETTER STARTS ***
Professor Malcolm Grant, Provost
Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT
Cc: Fernando Martins, manager, O&G offices at UCL
Dear Professor Grant,
We are appalled that cleaning contractor O&G have illegally created a false redundancy at UCL in order to dismiss union activist Juan Carlos Piedra, a member of Unite.
Juan Carlos was transferred to UCL on 24th August and two days later was called by his manager to a meeting at which he was told that his trade union activities (organising in the London Living Wage campaign at SOAS and other sites) had been recorded and would not be tolerated. He was then told that there was no job for him at UCL. He was given a letter on 9th September (which O&G had dated 2nd September) saying he was redundant from 17th September.
As trade unionists, students and living wage campaign supporters, we will not tolerate members of our campus communities being treated in this way and victimised for exercising their democratic right to engage in legal trade union activities.
O&G are one of the major contractors in the cleaning industry who are now bullying, harassing and victimising workers, many of whom are migrants, in order to break trade union organisation and keep wages at the lowest possible levels.
All workers, including those on low pay and migrants, have an equal right to organise. We demand that Juan Carlos be reinstated, and that O&G be investigated for violation of trade union rights at UCL.
<YOUR NAME HERE>
Latin American Workers' Association
c/o Unite (T&G), 218 Green Lanes, London N4 2BR
tel: 020 8826 2063
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