Juan Carlos Piedra Benitez worked for Office and General, UCL's outsourced cleaning contractor, for 11 months until September 2009. He was transferred to work in UCL after being called into a disciplinary meeting and warned about his trade union activities, including campaigning for the London living wage. He was told that his work was no problem. The only problem was his attitude—that he told people about the union, about their right to go to tribunals if they were badly treated. Two days after being transferred to UCL he was called into a meeting and told that he had been seen at SOAS protesting against the immigration raid and at union protests. Then he was told “there is no job for you here” and was made redundant.
Juan Carlos is demanding his reinstatement and that O&G be investigated. He has official backing by his trade union, Unite, as well as the trade union branches at UCL (UCU, Unite and UNISON). You, too, can back his campaign in specific, practical ways.
Video interview of Juan Carlos: http://www.youtube.com/p/5DAC60CA8EE2BA87&hl=en&fs=1
Video of the first demonstration (21 Sep 09): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSgL37T56gQ&feature=PlayList&p=5DAC60CA8EE2BA87&index=1
In the press: http://www.london-student.net/2009/09/21/sacked-ucl-cleaner-campaigning-for-reinstatement/ and http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=19095
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Attend the next demonstration (see above). Bring a friend and make a sign or banner to hold up.
2. Print off the demonstration leaflet and hand some out, put them in office pigeonholes, and put some up as posters. Download from http://www.counterfire.org/images/documents/juan_carlos_011009.pdf
3. Support the 17 Oct 2009 'Hands Off My Workmate' conference at SOAS about migrant workers' labour rights in the UK: http://handsoffmyworkmate.blogspot.com
4. Print off the open letter to the UCL and O&G management, demanding reinstatement. Ask people to sign it and send it back to the address at the bottom of it. Download from http://www.counterfire.org/images/documents/juan_carlos_open_letter.doc
5. Support the campaign for the London Living Wage at UCL, across Bloomsbury and across London. See http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=55448269078 and http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=64798072148 and http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2348604359
6. Contact Juan Carlos directly (07837949884 / firstname.lastname@example.org). Offer to help build the campaign in any way you can.
7. Add your name to the open letter (below) by emailing email@example.com. Include your full name and trade union branch or workplace or place of study.
8. Ask others to sign the open letter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Workmates, friends, family, someone you handed a leaflet? Anyone with a bit of profile? Union leaders, politicians, religious leaders, academics, journalists etc.
9. Help get the open letter and the story into the media - English and Spanish language. Print, radio and electronic.
10. Join the ‘Reinstate Juan Carlos’ Facebook group and invite others: http://www.facebook.com/group..php?gid=159672360551