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Clifford Chance charges living wage contractors 30 quid entry to Xmas party — lawyers get in free

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Clifford Chance security guard’s anonymous Twitter account reveals secrets of life as a magic circle ‘second class citizen’

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Someone claiming to be a security officer at Clifford Chance has launched a Twitter account that purports to lay bare the depressing reality of life working as a contractor at the Canary Wharf-based legal giant.

Having begun tweeting on Friday, @cc_officer — who says that he (or she) is employed by contractor Ultimate Security to work at Clifford Chance — has complained about low pay, long hours and unfair bonus rules.

@cc_officer also highlights certain privileges granted to the magic circle giant’s lawyers and staff that don’t apply to security guards and other contractors.

For example, a Scrooge-like policy is revealed that slaps contractors with a £30 charge for attending the firm’s Christmas party. Employees of Clifford Chance, where top equity partners earn £1.14 million a year, get in free.

In addition, a rule is brought to wider attention that prevents contractors using the firm’s fifth floor restaurant, and, it is claimed, does not allow them to “sit on the sofas on the 4th flr coffee bar”.

Overall, the tweets seek to paint a picture of a workplace marked by a division between staff and contractors.

Clifford Chance disputes many of the allegations made in the tweets. A spokesperson for the firm told Legal Cheek:

“All our contractors are paid at least the London Living Wage and it’s very important to us that they have fair working conditions.”

The spokesperson added that the standard working week for security guards contracted through Ultimate Security is 48 hours per week “with any overtime discretionary” and that holiday entitlement is “exactly in line with what it is supposed to be for a 48 hour week”. The “bonus” referred to by @cc_officer was, the firm stated, “actually an attendance allowance”.

The spokesperson did, however, confirm that contractors are charged a £30 fee to attend its Christmas party. In addition, the spokesperson confirmed that the firm’s fourth floor restaurant is staff-only — this is because it is a licensed bar and the licence only covers Clifford Chance staff, the firm added — but the fifth floor restaurant is open to everyone.

Ultimate Security was contacted by Legal Cheek about the account on Friday but has not issued a comment.