Limpiadores

Fernando Mitjáns
Great Britain 2015 | 39 Min. | OmeU
Q&A with: Fernando Mitjáns

At five in the morn­ing, before any pro­fes­sor or stu­dent enters the build­ing of the well-estab­lished SAOS Uni­ver­si­ty in London, a lot of work needs to be done: Clean­ing toi­lets, cor­ri­dors, desks and even the streets out­side. But those who pre­pare the work­ing places of thou­sands of Lon­don­ers, mostly stay invis­i­ble earn­ing 2£ less than the min­i­mum wage of 7.20£ in London. They come from dif­fer­ent Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries, but their deter­mi­na­tion to fight labor exploita­tion derives from the common expe­ri­ence of dis­crim­i­na­tion within a coun­try that needs their work, but does not want to value it. When an empow­er­ing resis­tance grows, the pres­ti­gious uni­ver­si­ty, well known for cham­pi­oning in human rights, must take sides. But instead of show­ing sol­i­dar­i­ty with the work­ers, the uni­ver­si­ty impairs the con­flict.

After moving from Cuba to London seven years ago, Fer­nan­do Mitjáns stud­ied post­colo­nial cul­ture and global policy. He felt the need to por­tray the huge gap between expec­ta­tions and real­i­ty of migra­tion from Latin-Amer­i­can coun­tries and found him­self in the middle of this worker’s strug­gle.