BEIS caterers accept London Living Wage offer to end pay dispute

Written by Jim Dunton on 4 October 2019 in News
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Department’s contracted-out cleaners, receptionists and security guards remain in talks, says PCS union

BEIS committee chair Rachel Reeves with striking BEIS workers. Credit: CSW

Striking outsourced catering staff at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have accepted a pay offer that will see them receive the London Living Wage.

The workers, who are employed by food services firm Aramark at the department, secured the offer – which will boost their pay to £10.55 an hour – following months of industrial action at the department.

Their long-running campaign turned into indefinite strike action in July, conducted jointly with contracted-out colleagues who work for ISS World as cleaners, receptionists and security guards at the department. Those staff are still in negotiations with the firm over the offer, which would be worth £9 an hour outside the capital.


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PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the Aramark caterers had notched up a "fantastic win" that had also secured improved holiday and sick absence conditions.

“Taking on a contractor who had the backing of a government department was incredibly brave and these members have shown that where you stick together, you can win,” he said.

“We never take strike action lightly but this dispute shows that when there is no alternative, sustained strike action can win.”

Business secretary Andrea Leadsom last month announced her department had agreed that rates for contracted out staff working for the firms would be immediately upgraded to living-wage rates, adding that the issue was something she felt “passionately about”. 

PCS expressed immediate concerns over conditions that may be attached. 

BEIS and ISS last year agreed a £49m outsourcing deal for facilities management services trough the Crown Commercial Service’s services framework.

The four-year contract, which can be extended by a further two years, covers more than 50 sites including those of HM Land Registry, the Intellectual Property Office, the Insolvency Service, ACAS, Companies House and UKRI.

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