Contract workers at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have been offered a 12% pay rise by global outsourcing giant Aramark after rejecting an offer of 7%.
The staff, who are members of the PCS union employed by Aramark to provide catering and hospitality services for the business department at its Victoria Street headquarters, were due to stage five days of strike action this month and next month, alongside ISS contract workers.
But the first day of strike action was called off last week after Aramark upped its offer from 7% to 11% and ISS – which employs security guards, cleaners and mailroom staff at BEIS HQ – proposed solutions in its health and safety-focused dispute.
Yesterday, PCS – the civil service’s biggest union – said the remaining four days of strike action involving Aramark and ISS employees had been suspended for staff to consider Aramark’s 12% latest offer and the measures set out by ISS.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the above-inflation pay rise achieved by members who work for Aramark and the remedies proposed by ISS show what can be achieved by concerted action.
“I hope these are the first of many successes this winter, as we continue our campaign for better pay, terms and conditions with sustained targeted action,” he said.
“Our members deserve nothing less than an above-inflation pay increase to help them through the cost-of-living crisis and beyond.”
Last week, PCS said members at the Home Office, the Department for Transport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs would be the first to take industrial action over the union’s civil-service-wide 10% pay demand for 2022-23.
The move follows the union’s national strike ballot, which saw members at 126 departments and agencies back strike action and reach the crucial 50% turnout threshold required to make it lawful.
PCS said the industrial action at the three departments will commence next month, but did not specify dates.
A spokesperson for Aramark said the business welcomed the agreement reached with PCS leaders and the bargaining committee in relation to its employees at BEIS.
“This is a fair and comprehensive development which we believe works well for all parties involved,” they said.
A BEIS spokesperson said the Aramark contract was owned by the Government Property Agency, but added that the department was pleased the dispute had been resolved.
“We value all our staff, whether directly employed by BEIS or working for our contractors,” they said.
CSW also sought a response from ISS but it had not provided one at the time of publication.
This story was updated at 13:50 on 24 November 2022 to include a response from Aramark. It was updated again at 10:30 on 25 November 2022 to add a response from BEIS.