The Rich don’t care

The main event I had come to Mayfair to cover was the continuing dispute at one of the most exclusive of clubs, LouLou’s, where the IWGB Cleaners and Facilities Branch was holding one of a series of protests on behalf of the kitchen porters who work there.

The porters want a living wage and to be treated with dignity and respect and given decent terms and conditions including proper sick pay, holidays and pension contributions.

LouLou’s is an exclusive club and membership is apparently only available to people who are regarded as celebrities and they include some well-known names. What they appear to have in common, from their reactions as they were escorted past the protesters is any regard for the people who work long and unsocial hours to service their needs.

And of course they are also people to who spend silly amounts of money on their own entertainment – the annual subscription to the club is £1800 and a gin and tonic costs £20 – but begrudge the workers a living wage. That £20 drink is over two hours wages for a kitchen porter.

The club tried to play a very hard game, suspending some of the workers – all migrants – on trumped up charges in August. But the protests and an online petition:

Migrant workers at Brexiteer millionaire Robin Birley’s 5 Hertford Street club have been suspended on trumped up charges. #5HeartlessStreet

Their crime? Demanding a living wage & sick pay.
Sign & help end this injustice

increased the pressure. And on December 11th the IWGB made an announcement:

11 December: The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has called off strikes planned for today and tomorrow at 5 Hertford Street, as it consults members following an offer from the club.

5 Hertford Street has offered its kitchen porters the London Living Wage from January 2020, 5 days sick pay, and regular quarterly consultations with the union on terms and conditions.

More at IWGB at Mayfair club Loulou’s

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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