Members of the Independent Worker’s Union of Great Britain staged a protest outside Burberry’s London flagship on Regent Street Friday, which the union said was in reaction to cleaning staff contracted by Burberry not currently being paid the London Living Wage.
A group of around 20 protestors, some of whom were union members and some of whom worked as cleaners in Burberry stores, gathered outside the Regent Street store late Friday afternoon, banging drums and playing horns on the busy shopping street. A number of cleaning staff are also on strike from working at the London store.
The protesters said they are reacting to the fact that their wages have not yet risen to reflect the new London Living Wage of 9.15 pounds an hour, or $13.94 announced in November, up from 8.80 pounds an hour, or $13.41 in the previous year. At the protest Alberto Durango, the union’s secretary, also complained that cleaners were treated poorly by ISS, the cleaning contractor.
However, the Living Wage Foundation — the organization that sets the rate of the London Living Wage — said that when the new Living Wage rates are announced in November, accredited employers have six months to implement the new rate. The foundation noted that Burberry will implement the new rate in April. “By implementing the new Living Wage rate in April, after the announcement in November, Burberry has acted properly and in full accordance with the Living Wage Foundation guidance,” Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said in the statement.
Burberry added: “Burberry pays the London Living Wage for all its staff whether directly or indirectly employed by the company. We make all the annual increases to salaries promptly and well within the required time frame as stipulated by the Living Wage Foundation.”
The Independent Workers Union has in recent months targeted Bloomberg, John Lewis and the Royal Opera House in London for not paying cleaners the London Living Wage. The union said the Burberry strike would run for 48 hours, through to Saturday Feb.7.