Partygate: Cleaners and security to protest at No10 Downing Street after Sue Gray report

Cleaners and security staff are set to protest outside No10 Downing Street after “outrageous” treatment of workers by those in government was unveiled in the Sue Gray partygate report.

Government cleaners and security staff are set to protest outside No10 Downing Street today following “outrageous” revelations of how workers were treated by those in government in the Sue Gray partygate report.

It comes after the senior civil servant uncovered repeated examples of ‘unacceptable treatment’ of cleaning and security workers during her investigation into lockdown-breaching parties held at No10.

She wrote: “I found that some staff had witnessed or been subjected to behaviours at work which they had felt concerned about but at times felt unable to raise properly.

“I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff.

“This was unacceptable.”

The treatment of cleaning staff at No10 Downing Street has come under fire. Photo: Getty

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Amidst the fallout from the report, two London MPs, Stephen Hammond and David Simmonds, have joined those who say Boris Johnson should resign his post as prime minister.

Gray’s report uncovered that staff members had “drank excessively” at the Downing Street Christmas party on December 18 2020, and one cleaner had allegedly found a spillage of red wine on the wall.

Other incidents included one staff member vomiting, others using a karaoke machine, and a fight taking place.

The prime minister has said he has personally apologised to the No10 cleaning staff following the report, and has asked others to do the same.

United Voices of the World (UVW), a union which represents those who work in government buildings, has called for the protest.

A cleaner working at No10 Downing Street. Photo: Getty

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They said it will be protesting against the culture of disrespect towards low-paid workers.

General secretary of the UVW, Petros Elia, said: “We’re not in the least bit surprised by the revelations in the Sue Gray report.

“We have thousands of members who work as cleaners and security guards and these workers face disrespect and discrimination on a daily basis in offices and government buildings across London, not just in Downing Street.

“It is outrageous to have rowdy and illegal parties during the pandemic but to then expect cleaners to mop up after you and to pay them, as well as porters and security guards, poverty wages and deny them full sick pay is abhorrent.

“Most of the cleaners and security guards out there are ethnic minority workers, Black, brown and migrant people, who are disproportionately impacted by poor working conditions and racialised inequalities.”

A cleaner in PPE outside Downing Street. Photo: Getty

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He continued: ‘We represent cleaners at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) who had to walk off the job during the pandemic because they were not given adequate PPE and were denied full sick pay, which they eventually won for Covid-19 absences.

“One of our members who worked as a cleaner at the MoJ tragically died an untimely and avoidable death. That’s how far the levels of disrespect and mistreatment went and goes towards low paid workers.”

However, Jim Melvin, chairman of the British Cleaning Council, is now calling for a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary about the issue.

In a letter to Simon Case, he said: “At a time when many cleaning and hygiene operational staff, arguably as frontline workers, were putting themselves directly at risk to maintain high standards of hygiene and ensure that key workers and the public were kept as safe as possible during the pandemic, it is absolutely appalling and upsetting to hear that they were being treated with such contempt by people who may sit within government or the civil service and who frankly should know better.

“It is our position that cleaning and hygiene operatives are hardworking, professional and deserve to be respected in their vital work, just like anyone one else and certainly how the people concerned would expect to be treated.

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“In some parts of the cleaning industry, the demand for increased standards of hygiene during the pandemic has combined with severe staff shortages to drive many colleagues close to breaking point.”

No10 has been approached for comment.