Archive for Mitie

Bristol Based Mitie Enter Immigration Detention Buisness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on Sunday, 13 February, 2011 by bristolnoborders

Mitie are a fairly large[3] “outsourcing company”; anything from providing security guards at courts[4] and nuclear weapons labs[5][6] to cleaning the Scottish Parliament[4]. This is the first time they’ve tried managing a detention centre[2]. These companies specialise in taking over a service and then squeezing it for profit; finding more ways to exploit staff or cut corners.

An appropriate example: migrant cleaners are hired because their “illegal” status makes them vulnerable and easy to exploit, then handed over to the authorities when it suits management, eg if they attempt to organise[7]. In one incident, Mitie bosses were seen “laughing their heads off” while distressed migrants were intimidated and insulted by police[8].

Mitie’s CEO was one of 35 who signed a high-profile letter to the Telegraph backing the cuts[9], in the interests of “a healthier and more stable economy”. What they really mean is in the interests of their profits; as Mitie’s annual report says: “The public sector faces … considerable pressure on expenditure … this will create significant opportunities for the outsourcing market”[9].

None of this bodes well for the 200 or so people locked up in Campsfield. Mitie’s bid was selected because they offered the cheapest service[1], and though the details have yet to emerge, it seems likely that it will be the detainees who suffer the results.

There Bristol Office had previously attracted attention due to their abusive behaviour towards migrant workers:

http://bristol.indymedia.org/article/691009

http://bristol.indymedia.org.uk/article/693167

 

 

[1] http://www.publictenders.net/tender/86990

[2] http://www.mitie.com/Interim-Management-Statement_Jan

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MITIE_Group

[4] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/9732796e-2d71-11e0-8f53-00144feab49a.html

[5] http://www.awe.co.uk/Contents/Publication/347f9d9Ass%20Report%20November%2007.pdf

[6] http://www.aldermaston.net/blog/roving_reporter/401

[7] http://thecommune.co.uk/2009/07/02/alberto-durango-i-am-for-justice-and-the-truth/

[8] http://thecommune.co.uk/2009/07/29/testimony-of-a-mitie-worker-in-an-immigration-detention-centre/

[9] http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/2010/10/18/mities-conflict-of-interest/

Details of mitie-immigration raid

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on Wednesday, 29 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

“When she arrived in this room, the manager Donna Sidley and another woman called Ivon were laughing their heads off.”

Seven cleaners were detained after a raid by immigration police on 14th July, which took place with the complicity of Mitie and Willis. Among our detained sisters and brothers are Alejandro, Hermes Ayala, José Sorriso, Karina Cruz, Cintia, Sonia and Sebastián Desolsa. We are demanding that their salaries are paid and that they win 20 days holiday.

Her name is Lidia, and she said that at 4am there was going to be a meeting about chemicals in the Willis building, and that at 5 in the morning in the basement they would be given times for day-time and early morning shifts. She says that she had a bad feeling about the times of this meeting. When she arrived in this room, the manager Donna Sidley and another woman called Ivon were laughing their heads off. Everyone started coming in, with the illegal workers on one side and the legal immigrants on the other – the undocumented workers already separated out – and Donna took a chemical bottle and said for what purpose this or that bottle served.

Everyone was looking around at each other, some asking each other what was happening and why she was asking all this, and the legal workers on the other side of the room were only looking amongst themselves, knowing that immigration were coming to seize their own workmates, and said nothing. But they did tell the undocumented workers that there was a table full of drinks, things to eat and coffee, and they thought it was for them.

Not even 15 minutes had passed when police started to enter from doors on either side of the room, saying from immigration. No-one moved. One of the police had a file, which only had the names of the illegal workers and photocopies of their documents, but not the names of the legal workers. They called the workers’ names one by one and interrogated them, saying where they had got the documents and where they lived. Many people were crying as they were told off and insulted, and all the while Donna was smiling and jokily making comments to the other police, who smiled too. They insulted the workers and wouldn’t let them leave their seats, and they threatened those who were crying. They then forced them to sign papers which they had not even read: many did not want to, but they insulted them and frightened them, making them scared. They did not know what they were signing. The legal workers were allowed to leave but the others were left behind without being allowed to go to the toilet. Lidia was crying and said that she felt that a policeman was shouting at her aggressively, telling her to shut up. Then the police went over to eat and have the coffee and other drinks, making comments and laughing enthusiastically, making fun of the workers, and Donna and the other woman were also making fun of them, and all the time smiling. The workers watched them, eating and enjoying making fun of them, and they would not let them talk, only to stay silent. No-one gave them even a glass of water even though it was almost 11am by now: the police were enjoying themselves with the manager and gave the workers nothing to eat. Then they were taken away and put in two vans. The black workers were separated from them and the others do not know what happened to them next. They were taken to London Bridge, and then Lidia travelled throughout the whole day, to Liverpool. There, at 2am, they took her to the detention centre. She knew two women there. One woman was released because her husband had papers; the other was deported.

 A public meeting has been called by the Labour Representation Commitee on Tuesday 4th August to discuss solidarity with cleaners in struggle. This once agan raises the question of why senior figures in the Unite United Left have not so far been prepared to offer their solidarity to union members in struggle.

Download pdf leaflet here: http://thecommune.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/lrc-cleaners-forum-leaflet.pdf Tuesday 4th August, 6:30pm Somerstown Community Centre, 150 Ossulston Street, London, NW1 1EE, (5 minutes from Euston Station) In recent years brave union organising efforts have been mounted by migrant workers to demand basic rights and a living wage. A number of cleaning companies have responded by sacking union members and activists; they have colluded with the Border Agency in immigration raids to break organised workers. This is an urgent issue for the whole labour movement – come and discuss what should be done. MR Homepage: http://thecommune.wordpress.com/2009/07/29/testimony-of-a-mitie-worker-in-an-immigration-detention-centre/#more-3133

Demo Report and more details of immigration raid

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on Monday, 20 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

New Image

Over 70 people demonstrated outside the Willis Building in support of the detained Mitie Cleaners  – and the continued persecution of organised migrant labour.

More details on raid:

7 Cleaners get detain in an immigration raid with the complicity of MITIE and WILLIS.

Is very similar to what happened at SOAS University on the 12th of June where 40 immigration officers detain 9 cleaners after a suppose meeting organized by SOAS management and ISS cleaning company.

Chronology of the events of the 14th of July in the Willis Building

1. Days before, Ivon one of MITIE managers in Willis send a letter of invitation to the 2 shifts of workers for a chemical training course, some had to go at 5 am and others at 8:30 am

2. On the 14 of July the workers from the night shift (10 pm to 6 am) were receiving the training when immigration officers raid the room and detain the undocumented workers. After at 8:30 detain others cleaners at their arrival to the building.

3. As a result of the raid: 1 Ecuadorian detain, Ricardo Benites, 5 Bolivians, Hermes Ayala, Jose Sorriso, Karina Cruz, Cintia, Sonia and 1 Brazilian, Sebastian desolsa.
4. On the 15 of July some detains where taking to a detention centre in Dover. Until today we don’t know if they will be deported.

Mitie – More Migrant Cleaner Raids

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on Tuesday, 14 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

Today the Cleaners at Willis building get invite by Mitie for a chemicals training course, when all the cleaners were ready for the course, immigration officers raid the room and detain 3 cleaners, 1 Ecuadorian and 2 Bolivians. We invite every body to support the next demonstration in front of Willis building, for the reinstatement of the 4 cleaners and against the immigration raids. Friday 17 July 1 p.m. in front of Willis Building, 51 Lime street or at 12:30 in Liverpool street station in front of Macdonals. !No one is Ilegal, papers for all! Venceremos

Picket Report – Alberto Durango

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on Saturday, 4 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

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.

previous demo

previous demo

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).

Alberto’s article:

Support Alberto – Victimised for being Foreign and Unionised

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on Thursday, 2 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

SOLIDARITY PROTEST AT ALBERTO DURANGO’S APPEAL AGAINST DISMISSAL

Mr Durango, who is a prominent campaigner for migrant workers’ union rights, was hauled away by police and immigration agents after he turned up for a meeting with his bosses at the London offices of the Lancaster Cleaning Company.

The Unite union member, who helped organise other cleaners on Lancaster’s contract at Schroder’s Bank in the City earlier this year, was arrested on suspicion of using false documents – despite having worked for the company for more than 10 years.

Immigration officials and police then raided his home, confiscating union leaflets and newspapers, before releasing Mr Durango with a caution.

Mr Durango insisted that the company had called in the police “in a clear case of victimisation.

“I had first come to Britain in 1995 and have worked for Lancaster as a cleaner almost since then,” he related.

Mr Durango alleged: “The company had no problems with this for many years, but as I became more involved in the union and helped to organise the cleaners at Schroder’s Bank – where we even won a pay rise – Lancaster tried to move me to other contracts.”

After helping to organise demonstrations of migrant workers sacked by another cleaning privateer, Mitie, Mr Durango said that he was suspended under a clause in his employment contract called “third-party pressure.”

He claimed that “this allows management to stop you working for any reason and they don’t even have to give you a reason.”

Lancaster, which was taken over by the huge multinational services privateer Rentokil Initial in 2007, has many cleaning contracts at prestigious buildings in London, including the landmark Tower 42 and Swiss Re buildings.

A spokesman for Rentokil Initial said last night that the company was looking into what had happened, but Mr Durango insisted that the police officers who arrested him had already told him that he wouldn’t have a job to go back to.

“I was told by the police that I’ve lost my job, but I’ve heard nothing from the company,” he said.

Friday 3 July
Meet 10.30am outside Canary Wharf tube exit for picket at 11am at 31 Beaufort Court, Admirals Way, London E14 9XL.

Supported by: Latin American Workers Association, Coordinadora Latinoamericana, National Shop Stewards Network, Clerkenwell & St Pancras Unite branch, John McDonnell MP and more

Note: the weekly Willis/Mitie cleaners picket has been suspended in order to support Alberto.

CLEANER ACTIVIST ARRESTED IN COMPANY ENTRAPMENT

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on Thursday, 7 May, 2009 by bristolnoborders


Many of you will know Alberto, a Colombian activist who worked as a cleaner at Schroders in the City of London who has recently been involved in the Mitie/Willis dispute and has spoken at various union branches and forums in recent months including the NSSN.

This morning after attending a construction workers’ demo at the Olympic site he was called to a meeting at his employer, the cleaning contractor Lancaster, at 9.15am. Upon arrival he was met by four policemen, inxcluding immigration police, and arrested on suspicion of working under false papers.

The police took Alberto in handcuffs to his house, questioning him on why he had socialist papers in his bags. He also had a DVD about the Tamil struggle about his person (having been given it for free on a demo) and the police said that they would have to consider this “terrorist” material in his case. All these materials were confiscated and his house searched before he was taken to the Peckham police station.

In reality, Alberto had come to the UK in 1998 on a student visa, and when it expired in 2002 his employer Lancaster told him to assume a false name. Only now after he has become a leading labour activist has this same employer chosen to raise the issue of his immigration status, involving the police.

Fortunately Alberto escaped with a caution and was released by 8pm. But this was a clear case of victimisation and Alberto has now lost all the benefits accrued during 10 years’ employment, such as the right to redundancy pay, as well as his job itself (he was until recently on suspension with pay).

Alberto is adamant that “the fight is only just beginning”.
WILLIS BUILDING CLEANERS: 3 MONTHS AND STILL FIGHTING

3 women – 1 man

2 Latin Americans – 2 Africans

1 shop steward – 3 union members

4 FIGHTERS

All four have now been holding demonstrations with supporters for 3 months now! Four cleaners against two huge companies: Willis (global insurance brokers) and Mitie Cleaning & Support Services.

The next one tomorrow will start at Wilis and will head off around 13.30 to HBO, 33 Old Broad Stret EC2 where all four had been working for Mitie as well.:

Friday 08 May

1300 hours

Willis Building, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ

(tube: Liverpool Street / Bank; bus 25)

Information: Edwin 07931 464 890 or Alberto 07803 634 319