Picket Report – Alberto Durango
Alberto is a cleaners branch activist in Unite sacked from Schroders Bank by Lancaster cleaning company after a successful campaign against redundancies and for the living wage. He was entrapped by the company and UK Borders Agency – an increasingly common tactic against migrant worker trade unionists. He is also the union rep for the sacked Mitie workers.
I went up yesterday to offer Albert Durango Bristol No Borders’ solidarity and support. I almost missed meeting people outside Canary Wharf Tube as there seemed to be a bomb scare/fire practice which has all the staff from all the surrounding office building also assembiling outside the tube station. Lehman Bros, Schroders they were all there – we could have done a multiple office occupation – if we had a thousand people for the picket, rather than 30.
The picket was very noisy, and of course the chants were in both Spainish and English. I found myself holding a UNITE banner(!) which seemed strange, but it seems UNITE had made it an official picket. Without going into all the detail UNITE’s support of many of the militant cleaners campaigns has been at best ambiguous See Alberto’s article for more details on this – link below). It’s not clear when he will here the result of his tribunal – the company now have to launch an “investigation” into his sacking – like they don’t know! Alberto was very bullish – both about his chances of reinstatement – and building a strong, grassroots union movement. He’s quite an inspiring figure.
There were cleaners at the pickets from many of the city institutions, as well as people from CAIC, Latin American Workers Association and UNISON, Workers Climate Action and Bristol No Borders (me).