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Imagine An Employer Doing This In The United States: British Cleaning Company Suggests ‘It May Only Provide’ PPE ‘If’ Workers ‘Ditch’ Their Union - Employees Call It “Blatant Union Busting”

Published Sunday, July 19, 2020
by Ben Charlie Smoke/Vice
Imagine An Employer Doing This In The United States: British Cleaning Company Suggests ‘It May Only Provide’ PPE ‘If’ Workers ‘Ditch’ Their Union - Employees Call It “Blatant Union Busting”

(THE UNITED KINGDOM) - A cleaning company has been accused of threatening to withhold potentially life-saving Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) from Cleaners employed at a prestigious south London academy, unless they disaffiliate from their Union.

In recordings heard by VICE News, Ridge Crest Cleaning Regional Manager Emma McNabola is heard telling a Worker: "I can pick you some masks up from the office and drop them into you. If you guys feel safer with masks and it means everybody goes back and gets rid of the Union and we go back to being a nice, civil environment and everything’s OK, then yeah, OK, I can get some masks there for you, Tuesday at the latest."

The conversation came as Cleaners at Ark Globe Academy in Southwark, which uses Ridge Crest Cleaning’s services, walked out in early June over months of missing wages.

The walkouts happened amid the Coronavirus Pandemic, which has so far killed 42,288 people in the United Kingdom (UK).

On the day of the Ridge Crest Cleaning Workers' walkout, the government announced plans to make it mandatory to wear face masks on public transport.

Though not a legal requirement, government advice at the time was to wear face masks in enclosed spaces such as shops.

Under England’s Section 44.1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, Employees may legally refuse to go to work where serious or imminent danger is present.  They have the lawful right to refuse to go back to work until the danger has been removed.

It is unclear whether the threat of Coronavirus would fall under the danger referred to in the Act.

All the Cleaners employed by Ridge Crest Cleaning at Ark Globe Academy are Black or Minority Ethnic.

According to a government reportBAME people are between 10% and 50% more likely to die from Coronavirus than their White counterparts.

According to United Voices of the World (UVW) - the Union that Ridge Crest Cleaning Workers are Members of - as well as not being provided with PPE, Workers were missing up to five weeks' worth of wages in some cases, with several Cleaners reportedly at risk of eviction proceedings being commenced at their homes due to accumulated arrears.

To Read This Labor News Story In Its Entirety, Go To: www.vice.com/en_uk/article/v7g3wj/cleaning-company-suggests-it-may-only-provide-ppe-if-workers-ditch-union?fbclid=IwAR1kGSqCrcciT3AjDLo5_Q6C_78I2jf35rlLvxHjnAfJxwn4M_W6JMcVAAQ

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