Outsourced BEIS cleaners agree deal after indefinite strike

London Living Wage offer also applies to ISS porters, security guards, receptionists and post room staff

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

By Jim.Dunton

24 Oct 2019

Striking cleaners and security guards working at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under a contract with outsourcing firm ISS have accepted a deal to end their industrial action.

The staff, who also include porters, post-room staff and receptionists, had picketed BEIS alongside fellow PCS union members employed by outsourcer Aramark over the summer.

PCS said the deal accepted by the ISS staff would see them receive the London Living Wage of £10.55 per hour, along with better terms and conditions including sick pay and increased annual leave. Aramark staff, who work as caterers, accepted a deal last month.


PCS said the deal would apply across 10 departmental and agency sites nationwide, and also included a commitment that it would be extended to other sites covered by the ISS contract from April next year. 

Union general secretary Mark Serwotka said the deal represented “gold standard” terms and conditions and had come as a result of Whitehall’s longest ever strike involving outsourced workers.

Rolling strike action began in January under a previous outsourcing deal with Engie and continued when ISS took over the contract in March. It turned into indefinite strike action over the summer.

“This has been a heroic effort by our members from start to finish,” Serwotka said.

“They have shown the entire trade union movement that when you stick together and strike together, anything is possible.

“Members, who are mainly migrant workers, have endured immense hardship with the local branch having to set up a food bank to support workers due to a payment error by ISS.

“This whole episode underlines the clear need for all private contracted out staff in government departments to be immediately brought back in house and given civil service pay and conditions."

Announcing the settlement plan last month, business secretary Andrea Leadsom 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."

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

The four-year contract, which can be extended by a further two years, covers more than 50 sites.

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