Cleaners from a Sheffield academy collected signatures for a protest petition outside the Town Hall as part of their battle to be paid a ‘living wage’.
The 10 women who work at Sheffield Park Academy on the Manor went on strike for a day and set up a stall in Pinstone Street. They asked passers-by for support and later attended a full council meeting to seek backing.
The cleaners earn £6.32 an hour – just one penny above the national minimum wage. They are seeking a rise to £7.45 an hour, a figure their union GMB argues is a decent living wage.
City councillors adopted the figure as a policy objective almost a year ago. But they no longer have control over academies, which set their own wages.
GMB took up the women’s case with Academy owners United Learning Trust earlier this year, calling on the group to pay the same wage as cleaners employed in local authority run schools.
But over the summer ULT outsourced its cleaning contract to Ocean Contract Cleaning Ltd, based in Luton.
GMB regional officer Peter Davies said 90 per cent of city schools paid cleaners £7.45.
“Park under ULT is one of a handful refusing to adopt the living wage.
“When we put pressure on them, the jobs were outsourced,” he said.
A spokesman for Sheffield Park Academy said: “This issue is clearly between Ocean and its employees.”
Ocean refused to comment.