Socialist Worker

Beis strikers in renewed battle with ISS outsourcer + three battles by cleaners

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2764

On the Beis picket line on Tuesday

On the Beis picket line on Tuesday (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Outsourced workers at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (Beis) in central London began a three day strike on Monday of this week.

The cleaners, security guards and other support staff work for outsourcer ISS.

They are fighting for an end to low pay, and for improved conditions, bonuses for lockdown working and annual leave owed from last year.

The strikers began their walkout with a show of strength on Monday. Security guards joined the picket line after ending the night shift. The pickets—many black or migrant workers—also took the knee.

The same group of workers fought and won some gains with a long-running all-out strike in 2019. Now, they are taking on bosses again—voting by 97 percent for strikes on an 82 percent turnout.

The workers’ PCS union has always insisted that the government department that employs them is ultimately responsible for their low pay.

It says all outsourced workers must be brought in house and treated the same as workers employed directly by the civil service.


From Royal Parks to Facebook—three groups of cleaners fight back

Privatised cleaners working at the Royal Parks could take action as early as Friday of next week.

The workers, members of the PCS and UVW unions, are fighting for improved pay and conditions, and the reinstatement of a sacked member of staff.

The 32 PCS members voted by 100 percent for strikes on an 81 percent turnout.

Their bosses at Just Ask Estates has a contract to clean toilets at the parks in London.

It sacked cleaner Margaret Lokko despite the fact she informed her manager that she was delayed returning from Ghana due to the pandemic travel restrictions.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said, “The treatment of staff who do an important job keeping key facilities functioning at the Royal Parks, is a disgrace.”

The workers also want Just Ask Estates to recognise their unions, and to bring their pay and conditions in line with workers directly employed by Royal Parks.

  • Cleaning and concierge workers at the luxury West End Quay housing development have won significant concessions from their employers after threatening to strike.

The UVW union members, who are outsourced to the First Port UK property management services, were balloted for strikes over the lack of sick pay, bullying and harassment and the slashing of their Christmas pay.

The threat of strikes alone has meant that workers have now gained a bonus of £2,000, time and a half for overtime, more in-house hiring and sick pay written in their contracts.

  • Cleaners at Facebook headquarters in London are fighting back—again.

Members of the Caiwu union have organised a protest outside the social media giants offices on Wednesday 21 July.

Last year cleaners held a number of protests outside the offices over unsafe conditions, bulling and slashed hours.

This time workers outsourced to the Churchill Group are the ones on the offensive.

Join the protest on Wed 21 July, 4 pm, Facebook headquarters, 10 Brock St, London NW1 3FG and tweet support to @caiwuunion

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