9 April 2021

Why we need the Real Living Wage

Ahead of the PCS strike for the Real Living Wage by OCS court security officers starting on Tuesday (13), one member explains why he’s taking action

For many years security has been very low paid and at the bottom end of the earning scale for many people. A role that many companies need but when it comes to paying they simply won’t.

For years, security has been undervalued for the average person, and companies often pay no more than the minimum wage and expect people to just accept whatever the employer tells them to do. Times have changed, especially from the days of the night watchman who was generally at the end of their working life or having to work because they couldn’t afford to retire. People in security are now better educated, more varied in age and can think for themselves.

Times have changed but unfortunately, for most of us wages haven’t. We’re still on minimum wage I’m afraid. The real living wage would be a massive step forward for many officers in security – the difference between having to work extra hours on top of the normal week just to pay the gas or electric bill, or even just to put food on the table. Employers make good profits at the expense of the lower paid and have no idea of the work-life balance for people below the living wage amount.

In 2020, the year of the pandemic, the country was kept running by people on the minimum wage putting themselves in the front line, not just in security but other jobs, as well. Death and infection rates are amongst the highest in the security sector, again just for the minimum wage.

All I ask for myself and my fellow security officers is the living wage which we deserve.

We all put ourselves out front to give our families the best we can. With the help of PCS people can stand up and have a say on their future and help others. Being in a union can bring everyone together as one and achieve so much as a collective.

There comes a time when enough is enough. I voted in the ballot for a chance to push forward to help my fellow colleagues win a fair wage for a fair day’s work. And because my forefathers worked hard to make sure everyone has the chance to ballot when action is required.