A cleaner who helped organize a protest at a Facebook office over 'impossible' workloads has been suspended and could be fired, a report says

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A cleaner who helped organize a protest at a Facebook office over 'impossible' workloads has been suspended and could be fired, a report says
Cleaners protesting outside Facebook's HQ at Ten Brock Street in central London in August. Anadolu Agency / Contributor via Getty.
  • A cleaner who helped organize protests at a Facebook office was suspended, the Observer reported.
  • Guillermo Camacho failed to maintain a high standard of cleaning, the building's owner said.
  • A union said staff were protesting "impossible" workloads.

A cleaner who helped organized a protest over working conditions at a Facebook office has been suspended, and could be fired, according to a report.

Guillermo Camacho, 39, who works as a cleaner at Facebook's Brock Street office in London, UK, was suspended after the company that runs the building asked for him to be removed, the Observer newspaper reported.

On July 21, workers protested over what they claimed were "impossible workloads." The number of floors staff were expected to clean had increased from five to 12, according to the Cleaners & Allied Independent Workers Union (CAIWU).

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Camacho is the elected union representative for the cleaners, who are represented by the CAIWU.

The Brock Street office is owned by the real-estate company JLL. Camacho's employer is the facilities management company Churchill Group.

The Observer reported that it had seen emails from JLL to Churchill asking for Camacho to be removed. The emails, from the address JLL@facebook, were sent on the same day as the protest, the Observer reported. They accused Camacho of failing to maintain a high standard of cleaning, per the report.

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The CAIWU claims no additional staff were employed for the extra workload, and that cleaners were timed by Churchill. On one occasion, they were expected to clean a washroom of five toilets and one shower within 90 seconds, the CAIWU told the Observer.

In a press release, the CAIWU said that this has made cleaners sick and stressed.

Camacho is set to meet with his employers this week, according to the newspaper, which said it has seen emails claiming Camacho would be dismissed if another role cannot be found for him.

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A spokesperson for Churchill's Group told Insider that the allegations being made were without substance.

"We have done (and we continue to do) our utmost to proactively manage our involvement with all unions, via positive engagement with our own workforce, to diffuse as far as possible unsubstantiated statements being made, in this case, by CAIWU," they said.

"We will not comment on the specifics of individual cases but we are confident with the governance of our HR processes and state that we follow legislation and operate with transparency and integrity throughout the management of every case," they said.

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CAIWU accused Facebook of failing to act when contacted by union representatives over workload. Facebook managers at the UK office had insisted that they were not the correct company to deal with the complaints, per emails seen by the Observer.

Camacho told the newspaper that the cleaners had "kept Facebook's offices open" during the pandemic.

"But now Facebook is trying to wash their hands of us and say we are nothing to do with them," he said. "Facebook is the boss of these companies - it can tell them what to do."

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When contacted for comment, a Facebook spokesperson told Insider: "The wellbeing of anyone working in our offices is of the utmost importance and we ensured all of our contract workers continued to be paid throughout the pandemic, including when offices were closed.

"As a Facebook supplier, JLL must adhere to our strict vendor standards, including ensuring that anyone contracted is paid the London Living Wage as minimum."

The Union said in a release on its website that there were further protests scheduled for September 17.

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