CLEANERS ON HUGE MARCH
Sep 23 2004
Protesters plan to defy estate security
PROTESTERS are planning to march through Canary Wharf in the biggest demonstration against low pay for cleaners that the estate has ever seen.
Marchers from the European Social Forum (ESF) are set to join with the Transport and General Workers Union (T&G) in the Walk On The Wharf on Friday, October 15.
Organisers are set to defy estate owner Canary Wharf Group - which has refused permission for the demonstration - by chanting and holding up banners from 4pm that afternoon.
Jonathan Neale from the ESF said: "We are firmly behind this demonstration. Most of the low-paid workers in Canary Wharf are African or other immigrants who have come here and are trying to make a decent living, just like the rest of us.
"We are going to take a lot of people with us on the day to help to fight for their cause."
T&G organiser Miles Hubbard said: "We are expecting thousands of people to attend this event.
"The Canary Wharf Cleaners' campaign for better wages and conditions is showing workers everywhere that they can win against any odds provided that they are not afraid to stand up and speak with one voice."
His colleague Rhys McCarthy added: "Canary Wharf is home to some of the most successful and powerful banks in the world.
"But it is content to let its contract cleaners be paid poverty wages, no sick pay, 15 days holiday and no pension. This demonstration will allow workers to show their support for Wharf cleaners."
More than 20,000 people are expected to debate issues such as globalisation, war, the environment and workers' rights at the ESF - which sees thousands of union and social group members meet in London from October 15-17.
Police have already been informed about the march and have so far raised no objections.
But Canary Wharf Group has told the T&G that it will not allow the march to take place and won't allow the marchers onto the estate, claiming they will be in breach of public access rules.
A spokesperson for Canary Wharf said: "We are taking advice at the present time on the situation."