back to top

Protesters Target Flagship Topshop Store Over Cleaners' Wages

The protests follow the suspension of two cleaners at Topshop who campaigned to be paid £9.40 an hour.

Posted on

A group of protesters demonstrated outside Topshop's Oxford Circus flagship store in London on Saturday over claims it does not pay its cleaners a living wage.

Joe Nerssessian / PA WIRE

Police prevented around 150 protesters from entering the busy store on Saturday afternoon.

Flares were let off in the street and traffic outside the store was blocked by demonstrators.

The protest then moved up Oxford Circus to the John Lewis store before continuing on to Topshop's Marble Arch branch.

Dominic Lipinski / PA WIRE

The crowd chanted "Topshop, shame on you" and held banners representing trade unions.

"Two Topshop cleaners joined our union. For that, one was sacked, the other suspended," Teresa Grey from the union United Voices of the World told the Evening Standard. She added that the protest was intended to make the voices of those who were sacked heard.

Joe Nerssessian / PA WIRE

In April, Maria Susana Benavidez Guaman and Carolina Freile were suspended as cleaners at Topshop Oxford Circus over their "conduct in the workplace" after Guaman started a petition to campaign against "poverty wages".

The petition called on Britannia, the company contracted by Topshop's owner Arcadia to employ cleaners, to raise their pay from £7.50 an hour (cleaners' proposed salary from 1 April) to £9.40 an hour.

£7.50 is above the government's new national living wage, which is £7.20 per hour, but below the hourly rate of £9.40 as proposed by the Living Wage Foundation.

Guaman said this would give her "a living wage so I can provide a decent life for me and my family".

Joe Nerssessian / PA WIRE

Britannia told BuzzFeed News that the suspension was not due to the womens' membership of United Voices of the World but because allegations of misconduct from other employees.

Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Laura Silver at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.