CLEANERS who worked at the former Caerleon campus of the University of South Wales (USW) have won thousands of pounds in compensation for unlawful wage deductions.

The nine women, backed by their trade union UNISON, are employed by KGB Cleaning to clean the university’s campus in the Atrium in Cardiff.

They worked at Caerleon until its closure in July 2016, transferring to the Cardiff site under an agreement that their travel time from Caerleon, where most of them live. would be paid.

They claimed KGB Cleaning reneged on this agreement in March last year - and following a two-day hearing, an employment tribunal determined that the company had unlawfully deducted money from their wages.

“A group of low paid women being exploited have stood up to their multi-million pound employer and won," said UNISON Cymru Wales organiser Seb Cooke.

" KGB Cleaning has unlawfully deducted the wages of staff who are earning just the minimum wage.

"These workers have shown that even if all the odds are stacked against you, by remaining united in your trade union, you can be victorious.”

Dan Beard, UNISON branch secretary at the USW, said the cleaners ensure the campus is "pristine" on their early morning shifts, finishing before students and staff arrive.

"Had the university not outsourced cleaning work, those workers would today benefit from decent wages and conditions of service.

"The tribunal decision raises moral questions on outsourcing. This can be put right by bringing the cleaning contracts immediately in-house.”

The cleaners were originally contracted to work at USW in Caerleon. When that site closed in July 2016, they were told by KGB Cleaning that rather than being made redundant, they would instead be redeployed to the Atrium in Cardiff.

The cleaners objected as they have a contractual clause stating they cannot be moved more than 10 miles from their designated place of work. The company circumvented this by saying they would transported to and from the Atrium from Caerleon, and would be paid for their time in transit. UNISON said the cleaners agreed to the change on that basis.

Seven months later the company withdrew the agreement on paid travel time. The cleaners objected unsuccessfully through the grievance process, and so brought a claim contending they should be paid for time in transit and that the company’s failure to do so was an unlawful deduction from wages and in breach of the National Minimum Wage.