Socialist Worker

Foreign Office cleaners walk out to sweep away low pay

Issue No. 2651

PCS union members in London on strike last week

PCS union members in London on strike last week (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Cleaners at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have called strikes against subcontractor Interserve.

Bosses at the outsourcer have refused to negotiate with the workers’ PCS union over redundancies, contractual changes to pay dates, and attacks on holiday pay and sick pay. Strikes are set for 1 and 2 May.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said, “Staff have told us that changes to their pay dates have left them out of pocket and struggling to make ends meet.

“The whole debacle shows that Interserve should never have been awarded the

contract at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

“Ministers cannot escape their responsibility and they should have learned from the disaster at Carillion that contracting out doesn’t make sense financially.”

He added, “All these jobs at the FCO and elsewhere must be safeguarded and brought back in-house as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, PCS union members working for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency are voting on strikes in a long running dispute over changes to their terms and conditions.

The ballot centres on management’s refusal to consult meaningfully over imposed working practices and restructures that are hitting terms and conditions.

It runs until 10 May.


Get the vote out in pay ballot 

Activists in the PCS union were pushing to get the biggest possible turnout in a ballot for strikes over pay.

The ballot closes on Monday of next week.

Tory anti-union laws require a 50 percent turnout in ballots.

It’s possible to reach that.

The union announced last week that more than 50 percent of its members in Scotland have said they have voted. And across Britain 56 union branches have reached the threshold, according to data collected by the union’s branch app, phone bank and email responses.

There can be no complacency. Every vote matters.


Vote Lynn Henderson for assistant general secretary 

Elections for the PCS union assistant general secretary and the national executive are a chance to vote for a fighting strategy.

Socialist Worker calls for a vote for Lynn Henderson for assistant general secretary.

Lynn supports national action over pay and pensions. She also wants more participation in the union and to “get the Tories out of government and to organise to win”.

Lynn adds, “Unity is strength—the union’s leadership must work together.

“I am proud to have the confidence and backing of Mark Serwotka.”

Vote Lynn Henderson and the Democracy Alliance

candidates for the national executive.

The elections run until 9 May.

For further information go to Vote Lynn Henderson for AGS on Facebook

 


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