Camden Trades Council

Uniting workers and communities in the London Borough of Camden

Financial appeal to reinstate the Sotheby’s 4 – United Voices of the World

Dear Comrades,
I am writing to you as the General Secretary of the trade union United Voices of the World (UVW). We are a small, grassroots union comprised almost entirely of low paid migrant workers in London’s service sector, and are completely volunteer run.

The purpose of this letter is to request financial assistance in our current dispute with the multinational auction house Sotheby’s, and their contractor Servest. Our members work as cleaners and porters there.

For the past 6 months we have been campaigning for the London Living Wage (LLW) and for it to be backdated, and contractual sick pay among other things. In February 2015 we won all our demands and signed a collective agreement with the then cleaning company CCML. Two weeks later Sotheby’s sacked CCML and hired Servest who refused to backdate the LLW or provide contractual sick pay.

We then re-launched our campaign which we kicked off with a protest during Sotheby’s record breaking Contemporary Art Auction on Wednesday 1st July 2015. Two hours before that protest Sotheby’s offered to backdate the LLW and offered “an audience” with them to discuss contractual sick pay on condition we called off the protest. We rejected this offer because Sotheby’s had had several months to accept our proposal for contractual sick pay or make a counter-offer. As they were still refusing to do so we were left with no choice but to push ahead as planned: 

The following morning all the cleaners and porters that participated in the protest were banned from site by Sotheby’s on the grounds their participation in the protest was “a deliberate act to disrupt Sotheby’s lawful business which may have resulted in a significant loss of revenue, and could have put their business at risk.” It is only a matter of time before Servest dismisses them. We cannot let this happen.

We have now launched a campaign to reinstate the Sotheby’s 4. We believe this campaign could last several months, and for that we will need some money which at present we simply do not have. Any amount that you would feel comfortable in donating would be really appreciated.

You can donate to:

Co-operative Bank

Account title: United Voices of the World

Sort code: 089299

Account number: 65755617

If you prefer to donate by cheque then please get in touch first: or 07775 697 605

Regular updates and activities can be found at:

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Yours in solidarity,

Petros Elia

General Secretary

United voices of the World


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This entry was posted on July 8, 2015 by .
July 2015

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