7 June 2021

Fighting for equality at the Royal Parks

This article is from Facilities Matters issue 3.

PCS members are campaigning to end the two-tier workforce between our private and public sector members.

PCS members employed by Just Ask Estates Service Ltd at London’s Royal Parks are being balloted for industrial action as part of their fight to receive equal pay and conditions with their directly employed colleagues. 

The determined members won the London Living Wage (currently £10.85 per hour) as the minimum pay rate on the contract after taking strike action in December 2019. The pay increase was funded by the Royal Parks proving that clients have a large say over the pay and conditions of staff employed on their outsourced contracts. 

The underlying problem of outsourcing creating a two-tier workforce is one that all members working on private sector contracts face and one that government departments/public bodies need to address. 

Government departments/public bodies have made deliberate decisions to outsource vital public services since the late 1980s but have neglected their legal responsibilities to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity when making those decisions. They could meet their equality responsibilities by making it a contract requirement for companies to provide equivalent pay and conditions as directly employed staff. But they deliberately and consciously choose not to. 

The Royal Parks dispute will be key to our campaigning to end the two-tier workforce between our private and public sector members.