Royal Opera House threatened by cleaners strike

Royal Opera House threatened by cleaners strike


norman lebrecht

January 12, 2014

Covent Garden cleaners want an extra £1 an hour for covering the BAFTA film awards, raising their pay to the London living wage.

Nothing to do with us, says ROH. They should discuss it with their employment agency.



  • How, in the UK, is “living wage” defined?

  • David Boxwell says:

    ROH has “outsourced” its custodial personnel for “optimal management flexibility, thus providing a world-class entertainment facility with cost-effective staffing solutions.”

  • This a very inaccurate report. The cleaners do not work for an employment agency, they work for MITIE who are contracted by the Royal Opera, many have workerd at the Opera for over 10 years. The Royal Opera House determine the terms of the contracts. Nor is it true the cleaners are striking for £1 extra to work at the BAFTAs, they was an end to their poverty wages and be paid the London Living Wage of £8.80 per hour. The cleaners also want their tea break restored which was vindictively abolished.

    • When humans become a profit center, it’s almost inevitable that they’ll also become regarded as a commodity.

    • Will Duffay says:

      It’s absurd that this issue exists in 2014, after 150 years or more of trade unions. Just shows that progressive policies need to be constantly reinforced, otherwise bosses will find new ways to shaft the workers. Out-sourcing in the public sector, and I include Higher Education which has also seen cleaners protesting about their pay, has become a way putting the issue of low wages at arm’s length, which, frankly, just isn’t good enough. To put things into perspective, the minimum wage is about £12,800 a year. It would certainly be a huge struggle to survive on that in London.

  • Judy says:

    The ROH should ensure that its cleaners are paid the London living wage throughout the year, whether directly or indirectly employed by them. It is a disgrace that people working for the ROH are being paid less.

  • Kenneth Griffin says:

    “We’re all in this together.”