The PCS union has launched a ‘One for All’ campaign, aimed at winning a Living Wage for cleaners and terms and conditions on a par with civil servants.
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) is one of the largest trade unions in the UK, with about 200,000 members.
We are organised throughout the civil service and government agencies, making us the UK’s largest civil service trade union. We also organise widely in the private sector, usually in areas that have been privatised.
If you work in a government office, whether you’re a civil servant or an outsourced worker, we are stronger when we stick together. If you’re not a member, join the union today!
[For previous actions, see action reports]
To be confirmed
Add your name to the campaign statement here
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If you’re interested in getting more involved, want to share ideas or feedback, or simply wish to offer a message of solidarity, then we want to hear from you.
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The cleaners work in HMRC buildings across Merseyside and need your support.
ISS have refused to negotiate so cleaners in Liverpool and Bootle have been forced to take Industrial Action to get ISS to the negotiating table.
While taking part in this action, they need your help and support. Making a small donation could help make all the difference in the success of the strike action that cleaning staff take to improve their pay and conditions.
All funds raised will go directly to the cleaning staff employed by ISS UK in HMRC buildings on Mersyside.
The funds will be used to make up strike pay to help those who lose out while taking part in industrial action.
If the action is successful and any funds are no longer required, anything left over will be donated to the PCS Fighting Fund to go towards industrial action by other comrades in PCS.
If you can spare some cash to help their fight it will be greatly appreciated.
You can donate online here.
Paying the Living Wage – as set by the Living Wage Foundation – is a positive move to be welcomed by business and our communities. Morally and ethically it’s the right thing to do.
– Richard Sykes, CEO of ISS UK & Ireland and Chair of the Living Wage Service Providers Leadership Group
– The hourly wage increase ISS UK & Ireland is using to justify cuts to staffing on HMRC premises, still £1.05 below the Living Wage as set by the Living Wage Foundation
We have suspended a planned three-day strike by cleaners in HMRC offices in Merseyside after the company that employs them agreed to reinstate lost hours. Following well-supported… Read more “HMRC cleaners’ strike suspended as hours reinstated”
PCS members employed by multinational ISS, working as cleaners in HMRC buildings on Merseyside, are to take 3 further days of strike action in September against imposed… Read more “HMRC cleaners’ strike to escalate”
Today (Tuesday 26 July) cleaners in Merseyside HMRC offices delivered a solid second day of strike action. 100% of balloted PCS members were on strike, with the… Read more “Solid finish to first round of cleaners’ action”
There’s no justification for these cuts. When it suits them, ISS will give us overtime in order to pass audits, because they know they don’t have the staff to do the job. But when they have to pay us more on a regular basis they make cuts.
If I have my hours cut any further, it won’t be worthwhile for me to stay in work. I’ll have to sign back onto the dole and leave my job.
The Living Wage
The majority of cleaning staff employed by ISS are paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW), currently set at £6.70 for workers aged 21 and over. This is the legal minimum that the employer can get away with paying, and far from adequate to live on.
ISS declares proudly on their website that they “are committed to supporting a Living Wage so that all of our workers can afford a basic standard of living.” Yet its employees on the HMRC estate fall short of the £8.25 per hour rate that the Living Wage Foundation has calculated is necessary for an employee to “achieve an adequate level of warmth and shelter, a healthy palatable diet, social integration and avoidance of chronic stress.”
How little lip service ISS pays to their commitment is demonstrated by the fact that the amount they pay their supervisors has completely stagnated, so that with the introduction of the government’s so-called National Living Wage in April 2016, they will be receiving the exact same rate of pay as all other cleaning staff despite a higher level of responsibility.
- That ISS cleaners are paid at least the Living Wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation, currently £8.25 per hour, and that supervisory staff pay is raised to £10 per hour, with annual cost of living increases.
Occupational Sick Pay
The majority of ISS cleaners in HMRC are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for absence due to illness. This is a flat weekly rate paid for by the government, with nothing given for the first three days of absence. In practice, as most people do not know how long they will be sick for when they fall ill, and as it is extremely difficult to survive on just £88.45 per week (equivalent to just thirteen hours’ wages on the NMW), this means workers will come into work sick or injured as they cannot afford not to.
The lack of proper sick pay is particularly concerning given that our members in ISS, due to the work that they do with strong chemicals and cleaning potentially very unhygienic areas, are particularly exposed to illness. We feel that refusal to provide a proper occupational sick pay scheme puts these workers at risk and is in contravention of the employer’s duty of care towards their employees.
- That ISS cleaners are given occupational sick pay, with the same rights as directly employed HMRC staff.
The majority of ISS cleaners in HMRC are entitled to 28 days of paid holiday per year. As with wages and sick pay, this is the absolute minimum required by law, and includes bank holidays. Staff directly employed by HMRC, on the other hand, are entitled to between 22 and 32 days of paid holiday, depending on their contract and length of service. Plus eight public holidays and a privilege holiday.
- That ISS cleaners are given the same holiday entitlement as directly employed HMRC staff, with up to 32 days leave a year, plus bank holidays and a privilege holiday.
Over several years, ISS has implemented cuts not only to the number of staff it has employed on the HMRC estate but also to the amount of hours that they are contracted to. This has a direct and negative effect on the finances, health and workloads of ISS staff, but also on the condition of the HMRC estate within which directly employed staff work.
Due to their low pay, many cleaners will depend on in-work benefits in order to survive. Often, these are conditional on working a certain number of hours, and cuts to hours may not only mean an immediate drop in wages but a loss of benefits.
At the same time, while the amount of space that needs cleaning remains the same, the time and number of people to do it is significantly less. This means that cleaners are being over-worked, which can result not only in significant stress but also possibly physical injuries.
- That ISS ensure that there are enough staff to do the job, by offering increased working hours where the cleaners want them and by recruiting more staff as necessary.