Demonstrators took to the streets of Westminster on Monday to protest against disciplinary action taken against 14 Foreign Office cleaners who claim they face disciplinary action after enquiring about being paid the London Living Wage.
According to the Guardian, the protesters, who were organised by the campaign group Citizens UK, handed Foreign Office staff fliers which asked: “Did you know your office cleaners are facing disciplinary action for asking for the living wage?”
Katy Rojas, a former cleaner at the Foreign Office who believes her redundancy may be linked to her pay demands, says her ex-colleagues were too intimidated to join the protest.
Pressure has now increased on Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, with calls for him to investigate why action has been taken against the cleaners for asking to meet him to discuss their low pay.
The 14 have been sent letters from their employer, Interserve, telling them they are under investigation for "bringing the company into disrepute".
Iain Duncan Smith received a similar approach from cleaners at the Department for Work and Pensions in 2012, but then arranged for the DWP to pay at least the London Living Wage to all staff working on the premises.
Labour's shadow Foreign Secretary, Hilary Benn, said it was "extraordinary" the cleaners had been called in by their employer "because they had had the temerity to write a letter to the Foreign Secretary about their rates of pay".