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

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.

The Olympic Games Help Londoners

Britain last hosted the summer Olympics in 1948, just after World War II when we were broke and our aspirations were low. The Stadium was dominated by a quote from the founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin: “The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.” This time around, Londoners can do more than take part: we can win.

Before Games, Workers Win a Big Event

LONDON — Enveloped in a warm, glimmering haze, the Olympic Stadium looks like a vast, silvery spaceship come to unlikely rest in the working-class East End.  Our viewing platform is no less unlikely. I’m standing with Lina Jamoul, a community organizer, at the top of a giant new shopping mall. It feels as though someone in Santa Monica should file a claim for grand-theft mall.

Community organisers help 1,200 people into Olympic jobs

Lina Jamoul from London Citizens argues that Work Programme contractors could learn lessons from London Citizens’ success in helping east Londoners to find jobs at the 2012 games.

In Gilded City, Living Wage Proposal Still Stirs Fears

In 1996, the Industrial Areas Foundation, an organizing group that has built thousands of homes across New York City, proposed that private firms contracting with the city pay food service workers, security guards, cleaners and temporary office workers a wage that ranged at the time from $7.25 to $12 an hour. “We started with a pretty simple idea: If you work full time, you shouldn’t be poor,” recalled Jonathan Lange, an organizer with Metro I.A.F., the local affiliate.

Living Wage, Again

Amid the uproar during the past few weeks over the proposed living wage law there’s one important point that you might have missed: the city already has a living-wage law. Its rules cover thousands of workers employed under more than $1 billion worth of contracts with the city.  In fact, New York City had one of the first living-wage laws in the country, though the city’s first bill covered just a couple thousand workers.

TELCO delivers commitments for a Living Wage Olympics in London 2012

London 2012 from its inception has been an organising opportunity for TELCO, and the work continues. Over 700 people gathered at an Assembly in November 2010 to focus on the Olympics. We negotiated publicly with officials from all three Olympic Games agencies (the Delivery Authority, the Organising Committee, and the Legacy Company). A month after our action, LOCOG (the Organising Committee for the Games) announced that all 130,000 jobs during the Games will be paid at least a London Living Wage. During April, TELCO schools took advantage of the International Olympic Committee visiting London and organised a celebration rally of the Ethical Guarantees that were struck between TELCO and the Olympic agencies. Over 300 students from East London schools attended the celebration rally; gave ‘Civil Society’ awards to the Chief Executives of the Olympic agencies; reminded them of their commitments to the organised people of East London and asked LOCOG to work with TELCO to ensure that local people are given job opportunities during the Games. We have since held two successful pilot jobs fayres, spearheaded by St Thomas More in North Hackney and St Katherine’s in Bow. In September, the TELCO team plans to roll out ten jobs fairs, clustered around anchor institutions.

Citizens UK negotiates living wage agreements with major private sector employers.

On 2nd May 2011, Trust for London announced to the 2,000 citizens at Citizens UK's Living Wage 10th Anniversary Assembly the new rate of £8.30 per hour. A new figure was also agreed with Loughborough University and Rowntrees at £7.20 per hour for employers outside London.  A focus on the retail sector was agreed by the Living Wage Steering Committee and ‘Lush’ from the private sector offered to lead the way across their 20 outlets. It was also agreed to explore the four major supermarket chains and to seek a working relationship with them for the long term. 

In Howard, Ulman advocates push for summer environment jobs

Pollution of the Chesapeake Bay can't be eliminated in one summer, and there's no apparent way to find a job for every unemployed youth in Howard County, but a faith-based county group says it has a plan to make a dent in both problems. People Acting Together in Howard, or PATH, is combining efforts with County Executive Ken Ulman to create summer youth jobs by training and paying students to build dozens of small rain gardens to help reduce polluting stormwater runoff...

Living Wage campaign marks 10 years of fighting for the poorest

It took on the banks and persuaded schools, hospitals and Westfield shopping centre to raise pay for workers. Now, on the eve of a 10th anniversary rally, the movement has Tesco in its sights too. Ken Livingstone calls them "the best example of the big society I've seen in the past decade". London Citizens, which started as a ragtag band of church groups and trade unionists appalled at the living conditions of many workers in the capital, will hold a mass rally in St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square tomorrow to celebrate 10 years of its Living Wage campaign...

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