Royal Opera House accused of ‘passing the buck’ in row over treatment of cleaning staff

The Royal Opera House has been accused of “passing the buck” in a row over the treatment of cleaning staff.

Some of the charity’s cleaners work for the private firm DOC Cleaning, which has a contract with the ROH.

Cleaners and porters, along with representatives from the Cleaner and Allied Independent Workers Union, gathered outside the ROH on Friday afternoon to protest against their employment terms.

A statement from CAIWU said it was reacting to the “appalling employment practices” faced by “outsourced porters and cleaners” working at the ROH.

The union is demanding that the staff are given the same rights as people employed directly by ROH, including paid rest breaks and contractual sick pay.

It said the charity was “passing the buck” by referring the issue to its contractors rather than addressing it directly.

The union said it would continue protesting “until ROH puts its house in order and provides its cleaners and porters with the same terms and conditions as those who work in-house”.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “The protest outside our building today relates to staff employed by our contractor, DOC Cleaning. DOC is dealing with this matter through their union consultation processes. 

“The ROH values the contribution that all our employed staff and sub-contracted workforce make to our success. 

“We uphold the principle of fair pay and have made a commitment to apply the London Living Wage to all employees, and those hired through subcontractors. 

“We are taking steps to minimise the impact of the protest on our customers.” 

DOC Cleaning has been approached for comment.

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