The workers’ RMT union called a strike against the cleaners’ pitiful wages and poor conditions on Thursday 3rd July.
But for three cleaners who reported to the offices of their GBM Services employer it was to be a day of humiliation, rather than protest. As they found a squad of immigration officers laying in wait for them.
The three cleaners from Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Congo, did vital cleaning to keep the London’s Underground running smoothly, but all have been treated like criminals.
Each was interviewed then taken into custody.
Two of them have already been removed from Britain and the other is waiting to be deported.
Now Campaigners have found out that all three cleaners have been cautioned, questioned, fingerprinted, searched, handcuffed and then detained.
Union reps say they are shocked and concerned by the operation which follows the suspensions of a number of workers.
The chair of the RMT cleaners’ grade, Phillip Mambuliya, said: ‘These arrests have humiliated those who were arrested. The government and the company must be shamed for this.’
This particular case also raises questions about Britain’s policy of sending “illegal workers” back to unsafe countries.
But a UK Border Agency spokesperson said: ‘UKBA will not tolerate illegal working. Newcomers who do not play by the rules break the deal they made with the UK when they entered the country.’
‘We work with employers where they express concerns about the immigration status of their workforce.’
Do you think these cleaners were treated badly?