Hackney school cleaners today (Friday 26 January) hailed victory in a dispute over the failure to pay proper holiday rates.
The settlement of the dispute at the six schools in the borough came after negotiations between Unite, the country’s largest union, and the cleaners’ employer OCS Group Ltd and their new employer, Kier, which will take over the contract from OCS.
The five days of strike action due to start next week has now been suspended and the more than 40 cleaners will be working normally.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “This is an excellent win by these workers who have shown tremendous solidarity during the course of this dispute. The deal was hammered out after two days of tough negotiations this week.
“What makes this all the more significant is that it bucks the industry trend which is to move to term time only conditions. This Hackney settlement lays downs a strong marker to outsourcing companies that such salami slicing of pay and conditions won’t be tolerated.”
The details of the deal are:
• all current staff will remain on all year round contracts and will not be forced onto term time only contracts.
• staff, who were recruited on term time only contracts, will be allowed to express a preference for a change to an all year round contract. The company will consider the options once it is clear how many staff want to upgrade to an all year round contract.
• staff, who were recruited on all year round contracts but who were later misled into signing a new term time only contract, will be given the choice to revert to an all year round contract.
• the uprated London Living Wage (LLW), currently £10.20 an hour, will be applied from 10 February.
The dispute had centred on the refusal of to pay the LLW; proposals to cut pay with new term time only contracts; and refusing to pay holiday pay in line with its legal obligations, which state that holiday pay should reflect normal remuneration.
The Hackney schools involved were: Cardinal Pole School, Clapton Girls Academy, Haggerston School, Ickburgh School, Stoke Newington School and Urswick School.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.