BEIS workers on indefinite strike

Contracted out workers at the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) yesterday walked out on indefinite strike.

The cleaners and caterers have been campaigning for more than nine months for the London Living Wage and previously taken part in a series of stoppages against contractors Aramark and ISS. Now in a major escalation of their campaign for pay justice, they have downed tools for an indefinite period, until they reach a negoiated settlement with the contractors.

They will be joined on strike from the 22 July for five days by contracted out security, porters and postroom staff. Workers in a separate dispute for a living wage and better working conditions have also gone on strike for the first time. Cleaners working for ISS in HMRC Bootle in Merseyside are on strike for two days.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka addressed the 100-strong crowd outside BEIS yesterday alongside other trade union general secretaries including RMT’s Mick Cash and new UCU leader Jo Grady.

Praising both sets of workers, Mark said: “Contracted-out staff in BEIS have led a courageous campaign to win pay justice from unscrupulous and greedy contractors. For them to have no other choice but to take indefinite strike action is a testament to their dogged determination to win.

“PCS is supporting them all the way in their fight for the London Living Wage and I call upon the entire trades’ union movement to get behind our members. I urge BEIS to take control of this situation, put pressure on the contractors to pay up and ultimately bring all of these staff back in-house.

“ISS cleaners in HMRC Bootle also have the union’s full support in their fight. PCS is committed to fighting the scourge of outsourcing wherever it rears its ugly head. Our members deserve to be paid a decent wage for the important work they do.”

Receptionist staff working for ISS at BEIS will also be balloted for action from the 29 July with a possibility of strike action in August.

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