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Janitors who clean Yahoo!'s offices in Silicon Valley are demanding decent wages and basic employment benefits.

They're prepared to picket the monster Internet company all summer in their bid for basic employment rights.

The janitors earn around $16,000 (£10,500) a year and do not receive health insurance.

Said Francisco Casteneda, a janitor at Yahoo!: "I feel bad when I walk around Yahoo!.

"I can see that Yahoo! has a lot of money, but they don't pay us well and we can't even afford health care for our families," he said.

Yahoo subcontracts its caretaker services to Team Services, Inc, a cleaning company that employs approximately 500 janitors throughout Silicon Valley.

Cleaners seeking a fairer wage have tried to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in a bid to improve pay and conditions.

But the SEIU claims that supervisors at Team Services have threatened to sack workers if they try and join the union.

The SEIU claims that Yahoo! is still using "poverty wage contractors" and wants the dotcom either to dump Team Services, or put pressure on the company to improve conditions for workers.

A spokeswoman for the SEIU told The Register that they have been trying to discuss the matter but that "Yahoo! has slammed the door in our face all the step of the way."

She said other Silicon Valley companies - such as IBM, Apple Computers and Cisco - used responsible cleaning contractors that provide living wages and affordable family health insurance.

So why not Yahoo!?

Asked to comment, Yahoo! said it was a matter between the SEIU and Team Services.

The janitors have set up a Web site to publicise their campaign at boohooyahoo.com. ®

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