Solid finish to first round of cleaners’ action

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 majority active on the picket lines.

As with the day before, there were picket lines in Bootle and Liverpool, and the sheer strength of support for the strike meant that ISS senior management had to bus in replacements from elsewhere. Support from HMRC staff and the public was overwhelming, leaving the collection buckets for the strike fund too heavy to carry!

The PCS HMRC Group Executive Committee paid a visit to the picket line at the Triad ahead of the second day of their meeting. One of the cleaners later addressed the meeting, receiving a standing ovation, and s whip round among GEC members added £116.73 to the strike fund.

Though this round of action is over, the fight is far from done. Cleaners involved in the action will be meeting shortly to discuss escalating their action if their employer refuses to move on addressing their demands.

Mesages of support

ISS solidarity 1
The union’s National Executive Committee shows its support for the strike

Below are some of the messages of support received for the strike action:

On behalf of R&C West Mercia branch, I send the support and solidarity of our members with the struggle of the ISS cleaners – monthly wages going down, benefits cut, and working conditions worsening, there is much in common between ISS and R&C employees.

Keep fighting and struggling, and know that the men and women you work alongside each day stand with you.

  • Jordan Millward, Organiser – PCS West Mercia Branch
On behalf of the PCS Commercial Sector Association we send you our full solidarity and support in your fight to protect pay and conditions.
Many other workers in Facilities Management roles such as cleaning and security will be inspired by your action and will take confidence from it.
We wish you success.
  • Chris Morrison, President; Peter Olech, Secretary – PCS Commercial Sector Association
I am writing to officially give messages of solidarity to the Bootle HMRC cleaners who will take strike action next monday & tuesday.
This message of solidarity is from both my own branch “National Museums Liverpool” where we organise cleaners (directly employed still) too but also from the PCS Culture Group where many cleaners from private companies are also being organised.
  • Clara Paillard, President – PCS Cultujre Sector
Please pass on a message of support to those undertaking strike action from members at PCS Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales Branch. Our members, many of whom are cleaners, have only just returned to work after 9 weeks of industrial action and securing a major victory protecting their terms & conditions. It is scandalous that a private company earning 250 million in profit is seeking to pass on the costs of the ‘living wage’ by cutting staff’s hours and making the lowest paid pay for it (a situation our membership is very familiar with).
We wish your members all the best and solidarity in their efforts to protect their terms & conditions against such an unjust and unfair attack. And if you seek to escalate the action our branch will do all we can to help and support your struggle.
  • Peter Hill, Secretary – PCS Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales Branch

UNI Property Services stands with you in this important struggle to defend the advances made toward earning a “living wage” in the UK. Companies and clients cannot honor this step forward for workers if cuts are taken elsewhere or if working conditions are compromised to compensate for these gains.

“The world needs a raise” has been an official resounding theme for UNI Global Union since our convention in Cape Town in 2013 and workers across the globe continue to stand up for fairness one country and one union at a time. This is what makes this slogan real or not. We have seen courageous and successful wage fights in your country but also in Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, most recently the US with their “Fight for $15 and a Union” struggle. Sometimes these are “takeback” fights, other are clear advances. All are important and make a difference. One group builds on the success of another.

UNI proudly stands with you in your struggle and will help to amplify your important message.

  • Alice Dale, Head of Department – UNI Property Services

PCS Proud’s National Committee sends our solidarity greetings to ISS workers in Merseyside who are taking strike action. ISS provides cleaners to sites like the Triad, home to many HMRC workers. The introduction of the ‘living wage’ seemed, to many low paid workers, to be a good thing. This was until companies like ISS reduced the staff working hours so they didn’t have to pay them more.

One of Proud’s Organisers, Steve Heyward, says “The way these workers have been treated is outrageous. All throughout the introduction of the wage increase the media was telling how people would have more money in their pockets. Companies that value bosses more than workers then appear to have used it as a way to slash working hours. ISS should be ashamed of themselves!”

  • PCS Proud

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