In a bizarre attempt to transfer responsibility for their own incompetence, Kingdom (the company to whom the Royal College of Music, the Royal College of Art and Heythrop College outsource their cleaning services) has threatened legal action against the IWGB after we brought to the attention of college senior management their failure to pay some cleaners for two weeks.
The sorry saga began on 23 September, when IWGB members at the colleges reported that they had either not been paid, or had been paid only a fraction of their normal wages.
Mistakes happen – and so we assumed that all we would need to do would be flag up the issue and it would be resolved.
Instead, two weeks later, and following innumerable complaints and emails from the IWGB, and complacent assurances from Kingdom, many workers have still not been properly paid.
This is a disaster for low-paid workers living from one wage packet to another – indeed, one of our members reported today that she will be evicted tomorrow if she does pay her rent.
However, rather than concentrate on paying their workers, or even answering our phone calls, leading Kingdom managers instead took umbrage at the IWGB’s email to RCA, RCM and Heythrop staff and started texting our General Secretary instead:
“Jason I hope we are the platform you desperately require. I also hope that all information published is indeed factual as if there is just one anomoly [sic] we will be legally pursuing.”
Later, in an email mistakenly sent to all staff (and subsequently ‘recalled’) the same manager stated:
“Kingdom will act accordingly to uphold its reputation as a moral and ethical UK employer.”
Veiled threat or not, we would suggest that the best way to do this is to pay your staff.
The legal boot may in any case be on the other foot, as the IWGB has just written to HMRC presenting evidence of Kingdom being in breach of minimum wage legislation, as well as commencing an ET claim for unlawful deduction of wages.
Hasta la victoria siempre!