MoD Cleaners step up fight in pay robbery dispute with...

MoD Cleaners step up fight in pay robbery dispute with Gosport demonstration

25 January 2018

WHAT: Workers at local MoD premises are campaigning against having their working year cut from 52 weeks to 50 or 48 by their employer ESS
WHEN: Tuesday 30 January 2018, 11:30
WHERE: Gosport High Street, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 9SD

Members of Unite, the UK’s largest union and Gosport Labour party will stage a demonstration in Gosport High Street on 30 January 2018, to highlight the wage theft being experienced by low paid workers employed at local Ministry of Defence establishments.

The workers are employed by ESS, part of the multi-million pound Compass Group at Fort Blockhouse, Whale Island, HMS Sultan and HMS Collingwood in a variety of roles including cleaners and mess hands.

Last year, without negotiation, in order to boost its profits ESS forced the workers to accept new contracts which meant that they were only employed for 50 or 48 weeks a year, the remaining weeks being unpaid.

The cut in the number of weeks they are employed for means that workers report that it has become even more difficult to make ends meet. In a further kick in the teeth ESS has also cut the workers holidays by one day per fortnight they are not employed.

Since the workforce has begun to organise themselves to campaign on the attack on their pay they have been subjected to a bullying campaign by managers. This includes on a regular basis workers being told by managers “if you don’t like it they know where the door is”. Members also report staff being threatened with dismissal if they join a union.

Unite is considering taking legal action to overturn the cut in the workers’ working year.

During the demonstration Unite and the Labour party, will be collecting signatures for a petition opposing the ESS wage robbery. The petition will be presented to local MPs; Caroline Dineage, Stephen Morgan and Penny Mordaunt.

Despite the workers operating on MoD sites, the Ministry of Defence has claimed that the issue has nothing to do with it.

Unite regional officer Bob Middleton said: “Unite will not stand idly by and allow our low paid members to be penalised and have their hard earned wages robbed from them.

“ESS and the parent company Compass are acting like Robin Hood in reverse; they are stealing from the poor and giving to the rich.

“These workers are effectively being paid by the taxpayer and it is disgraceful that the MoD has put its head in the sand and pretended that it has nothing to do with it.

“I am sure that the community will be absolutely disgusted to learn that local workers have been treated in this manner and will fully support our campaign.”


For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. 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.