Facebook’s facilities management firm has demanded the dismissal of a union activist who has campaigned against the “impossible workloads” imposed on exhausted cleaners at the US tech giant’s London offices.
Emails seen by Observer show JLL @ Facebook, which manages the activities of the social media firm London Their site asked the Churchill Group, which employs cleaners, to remove workers’ elected union representative, Guillermo Camacho, from Facebook’s offices after it helped organize protests against the doubling of cleaning duties in July.
“The number of floors we need to clean has increased from five to 12. [at Facebook’s offices on Brock Street]. But they did not bring any more staff. Impossible – I had to leave late to come and get it done before my shift,” Camacho said. “It makes us all really stressed and sick. That’s why we had to protest,” he said.
A cleaner claims she suffered internal bleeding after being scheduled by a manager to clean her Brock Street offices in June. Another cleaner says she has to take painkillers to work after she develops excruciating back pain.
Miriam Palencia, 42, who has cleaned Facebook’s Brock Street offices for more than three years, said: “An executive threatened me with sanctions if I didn’t clean up a floor and a half. Timed how long it took. It was hell. During one of my shifts, I bled from stress.”
The building’s 22 to 24 cleaners, who earn £10.85 an hour and are represented by the Union of Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers (CAIWU), claim they are ordered to clean a toilet with five toilet cubicles and showers in one minute and 30 minutes. second.
Camacho, 39, has an excellent seven-year disciplinary record in the building. Still, the email from JLL@Facebook read, “Camacho… [Facebook] Regarding the claim “lack of proactivity in managing the team and maintaining a high standard of cleanliness”. It was posted on the day he led protests outside offices in July.
The Churchill Group insisted it could not comment on individual cases, but that “employee relations are not related to any protest activity or union involvement.” The company said additional space was added to the account, but it didn’t add to the workload as the cleaners’ duties were reorganized. “Each task was timed and undertaken by our own management to make sure they were realistic and achievable; this was supported by time and motion studies tailored for each site.”
Union general secretary Alberto Durango urged Facebook to take responsibility for the plight of cleaners in its offices. “It’s disgusting that low-paid cleaners are working to the point of exhaustion building an incredibly rich company that makes billions of dollars in profits every year,” he said. “Facebook cannot ignore contractors as they try to break the union and intimidate cleaners by forcing their reputations.”
The union brought up the cleaners’ concerns via Facebook. Profits doubled to $10.39 billion, in July and August. However, email exchanges seen by users Observer Show that Facebook executives repeatedly referred the union to Churchill, claiming that “we are not the right organization to face”.
“We worked throughout the pandemic. We kept Facebook offices open. But now Facebook is trying to wash our hands with us and trying to say we have no business with them. Facebook is the boss of these companies – he can tell them what to do.”
Camacho, currently suspended after a request for removal, is facing a crisis meeting this week. Minutes from his last meeting with Churchill reveal that he will be fired if no other role can be found for him “mainly due to a third-party removal request”.
“In addition to my extended family in Bolivia, I have two young children and a wife to take care of. My kids ask me why I’m not at work. I do not know what to say. “I’m worried about losing my job,” he said. “This makes me feel depressed. I won’t be able to pay the rent.”
Facebook said the health of everyone working in its offices is extremely important, ensuring that all agency workers continue to receive salaries throughout the pandemic. “As a Facebook supplier, JLL must adhere to our strict seller standards, including ensuring that everyone contracted is paid a London living wage as a minimum,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
JLL said: “We pride ourselves on our reputation for integrity and ethics, and we hold all our vendors to the same standard in our vendor code of conduct. The health and safety of our people, including those employed by our vendors, is extremely important.”
A spokesperson said the Churchill Group puts employee well-being above all else. He added that he did not see any long-term illness in the contract. We will not comment on the specifics of individual cases, but we do rely on the management of our HR processes and demonstrate that we comply with the law and operate with transparency and integrity throughout the management of each case.”