HMRC cleaners to strike

PCS members employed by multinational ISS, working as cleaners in HMRC buildings on Merseyside, are to strike against imposed changes to their pay and conditions.

The cleaners will begin a two-day strike starting on Monday (25 July), followed by an overtime ban and a work to rule. The members of PCS Revenue and Customs Group’s Bootle Taxes and Liverpool City branches, have not ruled out escalating strike action, if ISS continue to refuse to reconsider their position.

Recent PCS pay claims presented to HMRC have called on the department to ensure that its contractors pay their staff the real living wage, defined by the Living Wage Foundation as £8.25 an hour outside London. However, the Danish multinational – whose net profit doubled to nearly £250million in 2015 – has now cut the hours of the cleaners, claiming that they cannot afford to meet the introduction of the government’s much lower ‘national living wage’ (£7.20 an hour for over 25s).

Embarrassment for HMRC

HMRC is responsible for ensuring that the government’s ‘national living wage’ is properly applied by employers; so the fact that the private sector company cleaning HMRC’s buildings is cutting the hours of staff to minimise the impact of the new minimum wage, is deeply embarrassing for the department.

PCS HMRC group secretary Martin Kelsey said: “Despite making hundreds of millions of pounds in profit, ISS is holding back from the lowest paid workers in their organisation even the most meagre benefits arising from the government’s new minimum rates of pay.

“As a department, HMRC should not be in business – directly or indirectly – with companies hell-bent on making members already living on poverty wages, into victims of their corporate greed.”

Sign the petition in support of cleaners’ demands here

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