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He cleaned Nick Clegg's office – and was punished for wanting a living wage

He cleaned Nick Clegg's office – and was punished for wanting a living wage

Sunday, November 11, 2012
The Guardian

Every weekday Valdemar Ventura, a gentle man with impeccable manners, leaves his small flat in south London and, until July, made his way to Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, where his duties included cleaning the floors, lavatories and office of the deputy prime minister,Nick Clegg. "A good man," Ventura says. "He always said, 'Hello, good morning'." Acknowledgment matters to a workforce often rendered largely invisible. Ventura, 44, a former soldier, came to the UK from Angola 10 years ago. Now he is one of 150 Whitehall cleaners, supported by the community organisation Citizens UK, campaigning for a living wage, the minimum hourly wage necessary for housing, food and other basic needs, calculated annually.