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Royal Opera House cleaners to strike during BAFTAs

The Royal Opera House, home of the Royal Ballet. Photo: Rob Moore
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Royal Opera House cleaners are to go on strike during this year’s BAFTA film award ceremony, which takes place at the London venue next month.

The workers, who are employed by a company – Management Incentive Through Investment Equity – that is contracted by the ROH, want their pay increased to the London living wage of £8.80 an hour.

They currently earn £7 an hour and also claim their tea break has been abolished under threat of disciplinary action. They are calling for this to be restored.

Those cleaners represented by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain will take strike action from 10 pm on February 16, the night of the awards, until February 17, 6am.

A spokesman for the Royal Opera House said the dispute was a matter for MITIE and members of its workforce.

He said: “In the event of there being any threat to the regular programme of maintenance and cleaning at the ROH we will put in place the necessary back up arrangements to ensure that the same high standards are maintained at all times. This would apply to everyday cleaning schedules and for any special events.”

IWGB general secretary Chris Ford said: “The response of the Royal Opera House is a disappointing attempt to wash their hand of responsibility for the terms their own contract set with their sub-contractor MITIE.”

He added: “The ROH could decide tomorrow that it will be a living wage employer and ensure all its cleaners are lifted out of poverty pay. Instead of talking about organising a strike breaking operation the ROH should enter into meaningful dialogue.”

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