As outsourcing company Interserve goes into administration PCS, which represents members working for the firm on contracts across government, is demanding there are no job losses and employment rights are protected.
It was announced at lunchtime that the government contractor is to go into administration after its largest shareholder, the US hedge fund Coltrane, led a rebellion against financial restructuring plans drawn up by the company’s lenders.
Interserve, which employs 45,000 people in the UK, has thousands of government contracts such as hospital cleaning, school meals and maintenance of military bases in the Falklands. It also operates the probation service.
PCS has members working for Interserve providing services including security, messengers, print room, porterage, cleaning and catering in a number of government departments, including:
- Department for Work and Pensions
- Cabinet Office
- Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
- Ministry of Defence
- Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The FCO contract was only renewed in December 2018, following a successful bid accepted by the government in August.
PCS is due to start an industrial action ballot on 25 March of members employed by Interserve on the FCO contract against its intention to serve 5 members of staff notice of redundancy on 22 March.
Interserve chairman, Glyn Barker, reportedly told shareholders that debt was “crippling” the company, which could not continue as a going concern if the refinancing plan did not go through. It therefore beggars belief that it was awarded a new contract when it was already in financial dire straits.
PCS will be contacting the administrators and relevant government departments urging that steps are taken to protect our members’ jobs and honour their employment rights. We believe this would be best achieved by bringing all work in-house on departmental contracts.
This statement has appeared on the staff website:
All companies in the group other than the parent company will remain solvent, providing continuity of service for customers and suppliers.
If you are an Interserve employee, customer or supplier and you have a question call the dedicated hotline 0333 207 4180 which is open from 7am-7pm until Monday, 18 March. (NOTE THIS PHONELINE IS NOT CONNECTED TO PCS).