Film documents Barbican cleaners' fight for better pay

A new film has chronicled a campaign led by cleaners at the Barbican to secure better pay.

Produced by Megaphone Films, the 25-minute documentary, Waging A Living in London, tracks the employees’ successful fight to achieve living wages.

Co-directed by Ben Mann and Petros Elia, the film brings into sharp focus the day-to-day difficulties of living on the minimum wage. Following husband and wife Albeiro (pictured) and Monica Ortiz, it tells the story of the Barbican cleaners’ 12-month campaign of peaceful protests, strikes and direct action.

The living wage is the independently calculated amount needed to meet the cost of living. In London it is £8.80 per hour.

Ben Mann, said: ‘People like Albeiro and Monica are vital to keeping London moving, yet they’re among the lowest paid. We met people working up to 70 hours a week. They have no time for their family and they’re treated terribly. This is the desperate reality for millions of Londoners.’

Petros Elia said: ‘Through peaceful mass protest, the Barbican cleaners brought the Corporation of London to the negotiating table. They have proved that the shackles of poverty pay can be broken, that everyone can win a living wage. In October 2014, the minimum wage rose from £6.31 to £6.50 an hour, less for younger people, and that is simply not enough.’

You can watch the film free online here.

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