“Show your workers some respect,” foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt was told loud and clear from the picket line on day three of the Interserve/Foreign and Commonwealth Office strike over pay and cuts to terms and conditions.
On another lively morning on the picket line, strikers were joined by PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, PCS president Fran Heathcote, assistant general secretary John Moloney, TUC deputy general secretary Paul Nowak and Labour party parliamentary candidate (Cities of London and Westminster) Steven Saxby.
As the former health secretary and his entourage came into view Mr Saxby shouted to him to show the striking workers some respect: “Jeremy Hunt, we are saying to you to show some leadership today. It is not leadership to deny recognition to your workers. These workers deserve your respect, they deserve union recognition.”
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka told the pickets this morning that they deserve the respect of ministers and management because they do critical work without which departments wouldn’t be able to function.
“Everybody deserves respect, whatever people’s jobs are, you’re working in the heart of Whitehall and the way you are being treated brings shame on the Foreign Office, on the civil service and across the road at BEIS. You deserve respect for the stand that you have made,” he said.
He said the fact that 2 foodbanks have been set up in 2 government buildings in under a month was a “shameful situation”.
“What you’re doing making a stand for union recognition, for the right to be consulted, for the bosses to realise delaying your pay may not make any difference to people who are on 6-figure salaries but people like yourselves depend on your pay being paid on time. We will be supporting your strike for as long as it takes for you to get justice and to walk back with your heads held high, in a union that is recognised, being consulted properly about your terms and conditions and everything else,” he told the strikers.
“But we shouldn’t rest there. We believe every one of you should have the right to be a civil servant, worrying about your employer changing every few years, worrying about your conditions changing, worrying about whether your employer has even got the wherewithal to pay your wages on time."
On a day of union solidarity PCS DWP and London and the South East banners were proudly displayed on the picket line.
Paul Nowak said he was proud to be on the picket line: “I am proud to support your call for fair pay, fair treatment and above all a strong independent trade union voice. Collective bargaining and union organisation are a basic right and a basic right that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office should support."
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How you can support the Interserve strikers
- Support our picket lines outside the FCO in King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH
- Urge your MP to sign early day motion 2346 in support of the strike which calls on ministers to intervene to secure jobs and to seriously consider bringing lnterserve contracts back in-house as a priority.
- Send a message of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Donate to the strike fund.