PCS Dying For Sick Pay Campaign

PCS has launched a new, national campaign Dying for Sick Pay, which is focused on defending and extending the right to full occupational sick pay, from day one, for outsourced workers across government.

During the coronavirus pandemic, we have been able to secure a commitment that outsourced staff working on government contracts will receive full pay for coronavirus-related absences. This has meant that members have been able to take time off to shield, self-isolate, rest and recuperate.

It has also shown that, where the will exists, the money can be found to treat our members with dignity when sick, rather than having to rely on inadequate statutory sick pay (SSP), at just £19.17 a day. Unfortunately, the government wants this arrangement to end as soon as the virus does.

No going back

Cleaners, porters, security guards, catering and other facilities management staff have been on the front line of the Covid-19 crisis. Even where civil servants have been working from home, they have continued to attend work to ensure they are clean and secure and that basic services are provided. The essential work that they do has been recognised by them being classed as key workers and even the prime minister thanked them during Prime Minister’s Question Time. Civil service facilities management staff – who are predominately women and/or black, Asian and minority ethnic – are usually outsourced to the private sector, on statutory minimum employment terms. This means most are paid the national minimum wage of just £8.72 an hour and would usually only receive just over two hours pay if they need to take time off sick. They would not usually receive any sick pay for the first three days of sickness under SSP rules.

This means it is commonplace for members working in this sector to continue to attend work when sick, as they cannot afford not to. Tragically, we have seen a number of preventable deaths across the sector as a result of the virus. The least every worker deserves is proper sick pay if unwell. This is why our national executive committee is launching the Dying for Sick Pay campaign.

International Justice Day for Cleaners and Security Guards

The campaign launched on 15 June, the International Justice Day for Cleaners and Security Guards, with a Facebook live event, including:

  • Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell
  • PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka
  • PCS President Fran Heathcote.

We also heard from those directly involved in the fight for better conditions for outsourced workers.

Ahead of the day the TUC published a report which said that the crisis must mark a turning point. Our claps for key workers during the height of the crisis must be turned into action to bring justice to cleaners and security guards.

As the PCS campaign develops, we will look to take on further activity and to keep reps and members informed and involved. If you want more information or to get more actively involved email outsourcedworkers@pcs.org.uk

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