Hackney schools face dirty loos in cleaners holiday pay row

Hackney schools face ‘dirty loos’ in cleaners’ holiday pay row

05 December 2017

The ‘outrageous’ failure to pay proper holiday rates has prompted a strike ballot by 42 school cleaners in Hackney that could leave six schools in the borough dirty and  with rubbish piling up in the new year.

The cleaners, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, are currently being balloted for strike action, following the refusal of their employer OCS Group Ltd to pay holiday pay in line with its legal obligations, which state that holiday pay should reflect normal remuneration.

The cleaners are also angry over OCS’ failure to discuss the five per cent pay claim for April 2018 and the imposition of term-time only contracts. The ballot closes on Monday 18 December

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “What we have here is outrageous salami-slicing by OCS of pay and employment conditions of an already lowly-paid group of workers.

“OCS, which is a very poor example of the privatised contracting out culture, has cut pay for the cleaners and refuses to uprate the London Living Wage (LLW) to the current rate of £10.20 an hour.

“OCS is blatantly ignoring the requirement of Hackney council that its contractors pay the LLW. It has also refused to pay proper holiday pay, despite the recent holiday pay/overtime court ruling on this subject.

“The bosses need to sit down and hold constructive talks with Unite to resolve this dispute, otherwise classroom rubbish will be uncollected and toilets uncleaned at the beginning of 2018.”

The Hackney schools that could be affected, if the cleaners vote to strike in the new year, are: Cardinal Pole School, Clapton Girls Academy, Hackney Free School, Haggerston School, Ickburgh School and Stoke Newington 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. Email: 

  • 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.