The IWGB has formally entered into dispute with the Royal College of Music over the unfair and prolonged suspension of Cristobal Barzallo Maldonado, the inability of Ocean cleaners to accumulate enough holidays to return home on a regular basis, and Ocean’s failure to stick to its deal with us to sign a recognition agreement.
If these issues are not resolved we will be balloting for industrial action and the RCM workers will go on strike.
See full letter below:
I am writing to give you formal notice of a dispute between the IWGB and Ocean over the unfair and prolonged suspension of Cristobal Barzallo Maldonado, the inability of Ocean cleaners to accumulate enough holidays to return home on a regular basis, and Ocean’s failure to stick to its deal with us to sign a recognition agreement. Please find the notice attached. If these issues are not resolved we will be balloting for industrial action and the RCM workers will go on strike. To be fair, each of these three issues has been months in the making and the IWGB has bent over backwards to try and resolve each of these through dialogue. For example:
- Cristobal was suspended over one month ago and there is still no word on his reinstatement. I understand that he was suspended due to a request from the Royal College of Music as the RCM was not happy that an area had not been cleaned for some big event and deemed Cristobal responsible. I must say, I find surprising that an academic institution did not have a more inquisitive attitude to the problem before ordering you to suspend him. Indeed had the RCM and you been a bit more curious about the matter you would have discovered that when Cristobal arrived on site he realized that the area in question had not been cleaned as the day shift cleaner had not cleaned the area. Cristobal called his manager, Francisco to report the matter and Francisco told him he would come to the RCM to resolve the issue. Cristobal therefore carried out his duties as normal as well as particular areas he had been instructed to clean (which didn’t include cleaning the area in question). However Francisco didn’t show up. Fracisco later admitted that he didn’t show up because he had fallen asleep! He even apologised to Cristobal about this but Cristobal miraculously remains suspended. Needless to say, a suspension of over one month, with the implicit threat of him losing his job, has caused an incredible amount of stress on a worker who prior to this had never had problems at work. The IWGB has cooperated with your “investigation”- indeed both Cristobal and I have met with you or other managers from Ocean and we have repeatedly inquired about the progress. But enough is enough. I understand you might be in an awkward position because RCM is demanding you do something unreasonable but that is not our problem Cristobal needs to be reinstated immediately, failing which the RCM workers will go on strike and the strike will be greatly publicized. Also, if any disciplinary action is taken against Cristobal we will pursue the matter to the full extent of the law. And I will most certainly be applying for orders from the employment tribunal to compel the relevant RCM managers to appear in court over the matter.
- We have been discussing, for over 3 months, our request for Ocean employees to be able to use all of their holidays in one go so that they can return home and visit their family (most of whom are in Latin America). Adjusting the holiday policy to allow them to do this costs you nothing and is a simple matter of humanity. We have even made some proposals as to how you could implement this change which you yourself said were reasonable. Yet the issue keeps getting kicked back from month to month, with one broken promise after another and a persistent effort on the part of Ocean to remove the item from discussion. This is precisely the sort of behavior that generates so much bad will amongst your employees.
- We agreed about four months ago to sign a recognition agreement by the end of March. Yet like so many other things, after months of negotiations you are now stalling and seemingly attempting to back out. I have requested meetings to discuss the matter which have not been granted. We had a meeting schedule for last week which you cancelled with less than 48 hours notice and have not responded to my attempt to reschedule. I made clear from the very beginning that we are interested in serious recognition for the purposes of collective bargaining with regard to the worksites where we are the biggest union for your employees. We have tried to resolve matters for months through dialogue, but as I made clear from the very beginning, if dialogue does not produce results then you cannot expect us to just give up on pursuing the interests of our members.
Thank you very much in advance for your attention on this matter.
Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee