FCO Interserve staff set to take fifth period of strike action

23 Jul 2019

Unless serious proposals are made at ACAS talks on Friday, facilities staff will take strike action again from 29 to 31 July.

Following an initial meeting with ACAS on 4 July, a second meeting will take place on Friday 26 July.

Although some concessions have been made by Interserve, these have not gone far enough to settle the dispute.

Cleaners’ hours cut

The PCS members employed as cleaners at the FCO are only contracted to work minimal hours but also do regular overtime, paid at plain rate. Following the week-long strike in June, these members were punished for their support of the strike action by having their additional hours cut, many by half, placing them in a financial crisis.

Imposed pay date changes

Interserve workers in the FCO were made to wait six weeks to be paid from 28 April and only received one month’s wages on 11 June with no backpay. Many of the workers got into debt and had to use credit cards and overdrafts to pay bills. Following pressure from union members on the picket line, Interserve eventually paid two weeks wages as a ‘goodwill gesture’ on 17 June, but did not compensate for the loss they suffered during the wait period.

Persistent pay problems

Many staff did not receive a May wage slip and have had a number of inexplicable deductions made since the dispute started. At PCS’s request, Interserve agreed to produce individually detailed payslips but these are yet to be provided, despite it being a basic right under employment law.

Trade union recognition

Our Interserve members want PCS to be recognised as their union. Many had this before their jobs were privatised in 1998.

Our outsourced workers are asking why should facilities and maintenance staff, many of whom are migrant workers, be treated as second class citizens?

500 emails were sent to the Foreign Secretary and Permanent Under Secretary asking them to meet with Interserve workers who look after and maintain their offices. We will be writing to the new Foreign Secretary on 25 July with the same request.

Ways you can support our campaign

  • Support our picket line on the 29-31 July, 7.30am – 10.30am at King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH
  • Send a message of support to helenf@pcs.org.uk
  • Donate to our strike fund.

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