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Threat of strike action secures pay rise for cleaners at Mercedes-Benz

Low-paid, migrant workers at Mercedes Showroom in Colindale, London, have won a 25 per cent pay increase after returning a strike mandate alongside 150 cleaners, carers and concierge in eight workplaces across Greater London in June.

The United Voices of the World (UVW) members, outsourced to commercial cleaning providers SBFM Limited, that clean the Mercedes-Benz luxury car showroom were due to announce simultaneous strike dates in coordination with eight other workplaces after their demands for a living wage were ignored. Their win comes hot on the heels of an 11 per cent pay rise earlier this month for cleaners at the offices of global media company Condé Nast in the Adelphi Building in Covent Garden after UVW members threatened to take strike action. And closely follows another UVW win for a Mercedes showroom cleaners in Dartford following the threat of a strike ballot.Mercedes-Benz confirmed an astronomical net profit of €23.4 billion in 2021. The current assets for Mercedes-Benz Retail Group UK Limited (MBRE) stood at over £217,000,000, while the directors’ remuneration soared at £257,000, over 10 times the cleaners’ annual income. Synter Group, which recently bought the site, reported an 18 per cent increase in revenue in 2021 to £5.4 billion, with a profit before tax of £178.1 million.

SBFM informed UVW members they had managed to secure the uplift after discussions with the client on the Mercedes contract at Colindale.

Maritza Bolívar, a UVW Member and Cleaner at Mercedes Benz said: “Receiving that letter with the news of the pay increase was truly wonderful! This is a huge achievement and without the support of the union it would not have been possible. To my colleagues in the other workplaces; continue the fight, do not give up, if we are able to achieve this win you can too. This fight is for everyone, and the achievements are for everyone.”

Petros Elia, General Secretary for UVW, said: “UVW members have won a whopping 25 per cent pay rise up from what they were earning when they first made their demands. That could not and would not have been achieved were it not for the unity and unwavering commitment of our members to strike for what is right. All workers out there should take inspiration from this win. We have balloted nine groups of workers for strike action this month and we hope the other eight employers now follow suit and give our members what they need and deserve – proper pay and conditions wherever they work and whatever their job and dignity and respect.”

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