Demonstrators have gathered outside Downing Street to protest against the “outrageous” treatment of government cleaners and security during Partygate.
Whitehall enforcer Sue Gray has lifted the lid on the behaviour of Boris Johnson and his staff behind-closed-doors during the Covid pandemic.
And that includes the lockdown-busting gatherings, as well as the “acceptable” treatment of the cleaners and custodians who uncovered law-breaking parties.
She said they were left feeling “unable to raise properly” their concerns.
United Voices of the World (UVW), a union which represents cleaners and security guards in Government buildings arranged Friday’s demonstration, which started at 5.30pm.
The union wants to raise awareness of the culture of disrespect towards low-paid workers, such as cleaners and security guards, in Government buildings and offices across London.
Have you been affected by this story? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
The group has also worked to highlight the death of Emanuel Gomes, a father who was an outsourced cleaner in the Ministry of Justice and died in April 2020 after working for five days with suspected Covid symptoms.
He believed he could not afford to lose income.
It comes after the Prime Minister apologised to security and cleaning staff for their appalling treatment at events he insisted he had “no knowledge” of, saying he was “surprised and disappointed” to hear about them.
This included the infamous Christmas party on December 18, 2020 where dozens gathered for a raucous knees-up in No10 resulting in cleaners finding evidence of heavy drinking, as well as wine splattered up the wall, according to Ms Gray’s report.
Petros Elia, UVW general secretary, said: “We’re not in the least bit surprised by the revelations in the Sue Gray report.
“We have thousands of members who work as cleaners and security guards and these workers face disrespect and discrimination on a daily basis in offices and government buildings across London, not just in Downing Street.
“It is outrageous to have rowdy and illegal parties during the pandemic but to then expect cleaners to mop up after you and to pay them, as well as porters and security guards, poverty wages and deny them full sick pay is abhorrent.
“Most of the cleaners and security guards out there are ethnic minority workers, Black, brown and migrant people, who are disproportionately impacted by poor working conditions and racialised inequalities.
“We represent cleaners at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) who had to walk off the job during the pandemic because they were not given adequate PPE and were denied full sick pay, which they eventually won for Covid-19 absences.
“One of our members who worked as a cleaner at the MoJ tragically died an untimely and avoidable death.
“That’s how far the levels of disrespect and mistreatment went and goes towards low paid workers.”