BEIS support staff set for pay rise but union warns devil is in the detail

Offer by department intended to end dispute, but PCS seeks more information from ministers

BEIS committee chair Rachel Reeves with striking workers outside BEIS Whitehall headquarters. Photo: CSW

By Richard Johnstone

11 Sep 2019

Cleaners, receptionists and security guards at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are in line for a pay rise after Andrea Leadsom announced the immediate introduction of living-wage rates in a bid to end a long-running dispute.

Support staff at the department who work for outsourced servicing companies Aramark and ISS have been campaigning for more than two years to receive the living wage, which are set at £10.55 in London and £9 outside the capital.

The campaign led to an indefinite strike starting in July. The PCS trade union, which has been representing the workers, set up an emergency food bank at BEIS's Whitehall headquarters in May, saying ISS had made payroll errors “every single payday” since it took over a facilities management contract in March.


The department disclosed yesterday that under an agreement it had reached with the contractors, staff wages would be immediately uprated to the living wage rates.

 Leadsom, the business secretary, said: "This was one of the first issues I took up on becoming secretary of state, and it is something I feel passionately about.

"All our staff at BEIS are highly valued, and their work greatly appreciated – whether they are employed by the department or through our contractors.

"The rates announced today will mean a significant pay increase for many of those working for Aramark and ISS in BEIS who keep our buildings going every single day, providing the services we rely on. This is clearly the right thing to do."

However, PCS said that although it had been made aware of the offer, “The information was given to the press, highlighting a further meeting with the union at the end of the week where the offer is to be formally put.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This is a welcome development and shows that strike action and determination makes a difference.

“We will have to wait to see the details in further meetings between the union and BEIS management later in the week.”

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