300 low paid outsourced workers employed by council owned firm angry over pay rip off

Striking HTS workers responsible for Harlow’s social housing stock and maintaining the local authority’s grounds and buildings will stage a pay protest outside the full council meeting on Thursday (25 May).

When: 1830 to 1930, Thursday, 25 May, 2023

Where: Civic Centre, Harlow, CM20 1WG

The workers began strike action in late February and are employed by HTS, which is wholly owned by Harlow district council with a board of directors made up of councillors. They are striking because they are paid less than workers doing the same jobs at other local authorities. 

HTS’ staff are demanding a cost-of-living payment and for a salary re-grading so their pay is brought up to industry standards. The council, through HTS, has put forward an offer to the workers, however Unite said it needs to be improved.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Harlow council can well afford to improve its offer to these workers. For years they have been underpaid, with the unfairness of their treatment by Harlow council being brought into even sharper relief by rocketing living costs.

“Harlow council needs to stop pretending these workers are nothing to do with it when it is HTS’ sole owner. The council needs to ensure HTS makes a proper offer. And soon.”

Harlow council’s latest financial report recorded assets of £63 million on 31 March 2022, an increase of £19 million from the year before. During the year ending March 2023, Harlow’s 33 elected councillors received a total of £202,065 in allowances. 

The strikes have severely disrupted housing repairs and maintenance, street cleaning, grounds maintenance, cleaning and caretaking of council buildings and parks and gardening services. More industrial action is set to be announced in the coming days.


For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Instagram: unitetheunion

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.