Kitchen porters suspended after asking for a pay rise

The IWGB has launched a petition calling for the immediate reinstatement of kitchen porters who were suspended at millionaire Brexiteer Robin Birley’s private members club, 5 Hertford Street, after asking for a pay rise.

The petition also asks that the porters, who are all migrant workers, be paid at least the London Living Wage, be given occupational sick pay and that the club cease outsourcing these essential services.

Prior to the launch of the IWGB’s campaign in May, kitchen porters at 5 Hertford Street were paid only £8.65 per hour, barely enough to survive in London. Under the pressure of the campaign the club was forced to increase their pay to £9 per hour, but that is still far below the London Living Wage of £10.55 per hour.

The porters are also denied occupational sick pay, so they get no money at all the first three days they are off work with an illness and then are only paid £94.25 per week. This means many of them are forced to work while they are ill, just to be able to pay their rent and keep the light on.

The campaign was triggered by 5 Hertford Street’s decision to outsource the kitchen porters to subcontractor ActClean.

5 Hertford Street is one of the most exclusive clubs in London, where annual membership allegedly costs £1,800 and it is reported that even some billionaires don’t make the cut. Owner Robin Birley recently donated £20,000 to Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign and had previously donated more than £250,000 to UKIP. The other directors of the club are Ben Goldsmith, James Adam Reuben and Clive Stuart Richardson.

IWGB President Henry Chango Lopez said: “The 5 Hertford Street kitchen porters had a very simple and fair demand: to not be treated like the dirty dishes they clean. Management’s response has been to intimidate workers with suspensions on absurd grounds.

“If Robin Birley can had over £250,000 to racists like UKIP and Boris Johnson, he can pay his workers a living wage. We demand an end to all victimisation and that these workers be employed on fair terms and conditions.”

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