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Royal Opera House workers win living wage
Victory over poverty pay
"This is a tremendous victory for the IWGB workers and it sends out a message to all low pay employers that we are not willing to tolerate poverty pay and we're coming for you". John McDonnell MP
MITIE has confirmed in writing that it has accepted the proposals of the IWGB on the London Living Wage for porters and cleaners at the Royal Opera House.
From 1st February 2014 a pay rate of £8.00 an hour will apply and from 1st April 2014 a pay rate of £8.80 an hour will apply.
The case for the Living Wage was clear and affordable, costing a mere 0.15% of ROH income. As such IWGB rejected any so-called "efficiency savings" to pay for the increase. The ballot for strike action which saw a 100% yes vote proved a commitment to fight for justice.
The IWGB members have won tremendous respect in this campaign. Ken Loach the award winning film producer called for solidarity with the strike and 25 MPs signed a motion in the House of Commons to support the workers.
Other unions including the Musicians Union and actors' union Equity, along with RMT, PCS, BFWU, and the National Shop Stewards Network supported the campaign. IWGB members on strike at the University of London came to demonstrate their support on the day of their own strike. There were solidarity protests prepared in Glasgow, New York and Los Angeles.
Divide and rule failed!
The attempt to play one union off against another failed. The vast majority of cleaners and porters are IWGB members. MITIE's recognition of another union on 13th January showed an arrogant disregard for the workers' opinions. How worthless this agreement is was shown by the fact that the IWGB strike was going ahead regardless. Only an agreement with IWGB could end the dispute.
MITIE ignored offers from the IWGB to use ACAS to achieve a constructive recognition agreement. The IWGB is committed to secure recognition and will take strike action if necessary to win it.
From a Briefing of the Independent Workers Union (IWGB)
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 3 February 2014 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.