Security guards employed by OCS, at New Covent Garden Market, have secured a 22 per cent pay increase. 

The pay deal has averted strike action planned for this week that would have heavily disrupted Christmas trade at the fruit, vegetable and flower market.

Previous strikes

The security guards, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, had previously taken strike action in September and October. They were due to begin a further five days of strike action from yesterday (Sunday 11 December).

However, last ditch talks were held and it was agreed that security guard pay would increase from £9.69 an hour to £11.05 an hour from 1 January 2023 and then further increase to £11.30 an hour from 1 April 2023. This increase is on the top of the 5.4 per cent increase the workforce received from 1 April 2022, following a collective grievance being submitted to OCS. In total Unite has secured a 22 per cent increase for the security guards.

Tremendous result

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:“This is a tremendous result for our members who by being prepared to stand together, ensured they secured a very significant pay increase.

“This result is a further demonstration of how Unite’s complete focus on jobs, pay and conditions for its members is paying dividends with workers securing substantial pay increases.”

Following a ballot of members, the pay offer was accepted and the industrial action was called off.

Important victory

Unite regional officer Steve Rowlatt said:“This was a very important victory that was achieved due to the commitment and dedication to our members at New Covent Garden Market.

 “Unite will now be using this pay victory as a basis to negotiate further pay increases and improvement, in conditions for its workers at OCS.”


Notes to editors

New Covent Garden Market facing week long “turmoil” as OCS security guards strike over poverty pay rates

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham