CLARA OSAGIEDE

2012

HONORARY WINNER

Clara works as a cleaner and is a trade unionist on the London Underground. She came to London from Nigeria in 1995 ‘to get away from trouble’ resulting from her involvement in student politics. Cleaning is a poorly paid job with difficult work shifts. A large part of this workforce is made up of migrants from the African and South American continents and unresolved immigration status can be used as a threat to workers trying to organise themselves. When the RMT Union decided to recruit cleaners, Clara put herself forward and became one of the only women reps and subsequently the Secretary for them. From 2000 onwards she organised her colleagues, enlisting support from the tube drivers when necessary, and led a long and successful campaign for cleaning staff to be paid the London Living Wage. She leads by reminding her colleagues that there is dignity in their work and says that the people she serves come first.