Jeremy Hunt writes to Interserve about PCS strike

14 Jun 2019

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has written to outsourcing company Interserve to express his unhappiness with its treatment of maintenance workers and cleaners in his department who have held a 5-day strike this week.

Picketers, on strike over pay and cuts to terms and conditions, again managed to catch the Tory leadership contender as he went into work yesterday (13) as they had on Tuesday. Though he hurried past the picket line on the previous day, this time he approached and explained that he had read the PCS strike leaflet and expressed his unhappiness with Interserve.

The former health secretary explained that after reading the leaflet he had written to Interserve the day before. PCS asked him to meet with members, to hear their side of the story, which he promised that he would consider. PCS will continue to put pressure on Jeremy Hunt to intervene in the poor treatment of maintenance and cleaners in his department.

Solidarity

Support for the 5-day action, which ended today, has remained solid on days four and five and there has been strong solidarity from other unions and civil service union members. We would like to thank the RMT, Unite, GMB, TUC, London and South East TUC, and reps from London PCS branches who visited with solidarity greetings and collections.

Our striking members want to thank the many FCO and other civil service workers who stopped to talk to them and donate to the fighting fund, with over £650 collected on the picket line and many more donations made online. This money will help support the low paid workers taking action.

Political support

Politicians have also shown their support, including Emily Thornberry, Chris Stephens, Hugh Gaffney, Helen Goodman, Liz McInness, Marsha de Cordova, Ian Mearns, Graeme Morris, John Spellar, Kelvin Hopkins, Mary Glindon and Steven Saxby. Yesterday, Graeme Morris MP raised a request in parliament for the foreign secretary to make a statement to the house, to bring the contract back in-house, treat workers with the dignity they truly deserve and ensure that poverty pay is well and truly ended.

After the final picket line members met to discuss next steps. While they hope that Interserve will now listen, following the public outcry from politicians, FCO workers and high-ranking diplomats alike about the treatment of the Interserve strikers, they are determined to stay united and call further action if needed. Following an invitation from PCS, Interserve has agreed to talks with Acas which will be arranged in the coming weeks.

Next week we will launch an e-action, which will ask the foreign secretary and the permanent secretary to take a stand and intervene in the dispute

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