The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) 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.
Staff who clean the offices in HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are over-worked and undervalued. Expected to do a demanding and thankless job, they receive only the minimum wage, the bare minimum holiday entitlement and if they fall ill they only get statutory sick pay.
Several rounds of cuts mean that they must also do the work of former colleagues who were never replaced, despite their own hours being reduced.
Now, with the introduction of the new minimum wage rate that the government is calling the national living wage, they face further cuts to their hours and possible redundancies to offset the cost.
This is clearly unacceptable. All workers deserve a wage that allows them to afford a basic standard of living, and this should not be stripped away from them if they fall ill. More than that, there is no valid reason that cleaners should have any less rights than those they work alongside in HMRC offices in terms of both sick pay and holiday entitlements.
The contract for cleaning HMRC buildings was given to Mapeley Ltd in 2001. It is now sub-contracted to a ‘company’ called Salisbury FM Ltd – an entity created by Mapeley to manage the HMRC contract. Salisbury in turn, sub-contract the work to ISS Facility Services, a global provider of facilities services, with its headquarters in Denmark.
This contract chain seems to enable all within it to refuse responsibility for the pay and conditions of the cleaning staff. ISS insists that it cannot improve things for staff as it is bound by the contract, while the other parties to the contract all insist that they cannot intervene as they are not the direct employer.
Cleaning staff take care of HMRC’s offices and have ISS Facility Services as their employer. Yet both HMRC and ISS refuse to take responsibility for doing right by them. This means that the only remaining option is to organise and fight for these demands.
Our campaign aims not just to stop the threat of cuts to staff and hours, but to win equality of pay and conditions between HMRC’s direct employees and its outsourced workers.
We believe that this should be underpinned by a Living Wage and a Workload Agreement to ensure the job can be done without over-working a diminishing number of staff.
The union is demanding:
- That all cleaners in HMRC receive at least the Living Wage.
- That cleaners in HMRC are given occupational sick pay.
- That cleaners in HMRC get the same holiday entitlements as the department’s civil servants.
- That workloads are reduced through increases in hours and recruiting more staff.
We the undersigned support cleaning staff in HMRC and the PCS union’s campaign on their behalf.
Marianne Owens, PCS National Executive Committee
Clara Paillard, PCS National Executive Committee
Petros Elia, United Voices of the World General Secretary
Sandy Nicholl, SOAS UNISON Branch Secretary
Peter Dowd MP
Carol Gerrard, PCS HMRC Group Executive Committee
Hamish Drummond, PCS HMRC Group Executive Committee
Dave Hansford, PCS HMRC Group Executive Committee
Lorna Kennedy, PCS HMRC Group Executive Committee
Mark Leopard, PCS HMRC Group Executive Committee
Gerry Noble, PCS HMRC Group Executive Committee
Patrick Smyth, PCS HMRC Group Executive Committee
Phil Dickens, PCS HMRC North West Regional Organiser
Cathy Crane, PCS VOA Manchester Branch secretary
Harvey Crane, PCS HMRC Anglia Branch secretary
Karen Dow, PCS HMRC Criminal Justice Branch Secretary
Ian Hough, PCS HMRC West Mercia Branch secretary
John Lynch, PCS Liverpool City & Netherton Branch secretary
Darren Madge, PCS HMRC Salford Revenue Branch secretary
Alison Mandrill, PCS HMRC Portsdown Vectis Branch secretary
Phil Millar, PCS Bootle Taxes Branch secretary
Steve Ryan, PCS HMRC North West & North Wales Branch secretary
Paul West, PCS HMRC Fenland Branch secretary