I am very proud of Nick Clegg for taking the time to write to the company who employ Valdemar Ventura. He’s the man who cleaned the Deputy PM’s office until he was moved and disciplined by his employer for campaigning in the most respectful terms possible to be paid the living wage.
When the company found out what he’d done, they moved him to a job where he doesn’t get the same overtime and hours and loses around £400 a month.
The Observer reports that Nick took time to write to the cleaning company to ask for him to be reinstated to the Cabinet Office.
I would like to put on the record that Mr Ventura always did a great job in our office and I was always impressed by the way he worked. I understand he has been disciplined as a result of his campaign to be paid the living wage and as a consequence no longer has his position cleaning in the Cabinet Office. This is disappointing. I firmly believe people should not be punished for campaigning for better pay…
… creative and peaceful campaigns are part of Britain’s proud history of freedom of speech. And as such I certainly do not regard Mr Ventura’s behaviour in leaving me a letter explaining why he was campaigning for a living wage to be inappropriate behaviour.
Much as I would like to think that EDTE, the employer involved, could just lose the contract for treating their employees badly, I know that public procurement is a lot more complex than that. It would be good though, if employee welfare was written in to the contract so that there were incentives for companies to treat their employees well and penalties if they failed.
I am proud of Nick, though, for fighting his cleaner’s corner. He’s always been one to notice and appreciate everyone’s work and treat everybody with the same courtesy and respect.