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Kensington And Chelsea Strike Ballot

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

GMB Strike Ballot For Members Employed By OCS In Kensington And Chelsea Housing In Dispute Over Pay And Move To Monthly Pay Without Agreement

Workers on £7.40 per hour seek living wage of £9.15 per hour and reject proposals on monthly pay that will leave them £8.57 per week worse off for next 12 months says GMB.

GMB is balloting 71 members employed as cleaners by contractors OCS in the Estate Housing Cleaning contract in Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in a dispute about pay and moving to monthly pay without agreement.

The ballot papers went out on 1st May and the closing date is 15th May 2015. The dispute at OCS Kensington & Chelsea is similar to the Royal Parks dispute except that it also includes pay. See notes to editors for copy of GMB press release on the Royal Parks dispute.

OCS holds the contract to provide cleaning services by Kensington & Chelsea Tenants’ Management Organisation (TMO) and the cleaners provide services for the residents on housing estates in the north and south of the borough. The contract is in its final year. The cleaners want to see payment of a London living wage to employees incorporated into the contract.

Gary Carter, GMB Regional Officer, said “OCS estate cleaners are campaigning for a London living wage of £9.15 per hour. They currently earn £7.40 per hour. They have been offered 1% pay rise funded by the TMO. This compares with the National Minimum Wage increasing by 3% and the London living wage increasing by 4%.

OCS claim it have no money to fund an additional increase. Recently OCS announced in conjunction with Living Wage Foundation that they supported a living wage. This poor treatment of employees on Kensington & Chelsea flies in the public face of that endorsement.

The wages of these workers are going backwards. They were making progress towards a living wage but this has gone into reverse. In 2010, the cleaners wages were £1.02 per hour lower than a living wage and it £1.75 per hour.

OCS will make substantial savings by moving employees from fortnightly to monthly pay and keeping back two weeks’ pay workers will have already earned. OCS say they will loan worker two weeks’ pay of approximately £600.00. The loan will be paid back over 12 months at a rate of £11.53 per week. The pay rise offered is worth £2.96 per week. This means workers would be £8.57 worse off each week for the next 12 months.  That is not acceptable.”

End

Contact: Gary Carter 07738 958140 or 0208 202 8272 or GMB press office 07921 2898880

Notes to editors

GMB press release dated 5th May 2015

GMB STRIKE BALLOT AT CENTRAL LONDON ROYAL PARKS AS OCS MOVE FROM WEEKLY TO MONTHLY PAY  WITH DETRIMENT TO WORKERS

OCS will offer a loan for two week’s pay already earned that they will deduct over 12 months which will put workers who maintain Downing Street gardens into debt and wipe out any pay award says GMB

GMB members employed by OCS in Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James's Park, The Green Park, Grosvenor Square and Brompton Cemetery in London are to be balloted for strike action over OCS serving notice to move from weekly to monthly pay without any agreement with staff and on a number of other issues. See notes to editors for previous GMB press release on the issue.

Ballot papers were sent out on 1st May and the closing date is 15th May 2015. Talks are scheduled at ACAS for Tuesday 12th May 2015.

TUPE legislation covers staff which should ensure that terms and conditions are protected after OCS won a new seven year contact last summer covering all landscape maintenance operations.

Landscape maintenance services include all horticulture work (excluding tree work); litter picking; refuse collection; road/path sweeping; cleansing; gritting; playground inspection; and grave digging at Brompton Cemetery. Large numbers of these members employed as parks gardeners have been in post for many years, some for more than 40 years.

Gary Carter, GMB Regional Officer, said “OCS has served notice on staff to impose the change from weekly pay in the case of St James Park and the pay date in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. The changes will have the same effect.

OCS will withhold two week’s pay that are members have already earned, which they will get back when they leave. OCS will offer the two weeks as a loan that they will deduct over 12 months, putting the employees into debt and wiping out any pay award. OCS will save thousands to the detriment of the employees who will be out of pocket.

That is the reason members will vote on strike action. The state opening of Parliament is coming up and so too is Trooping the Colour at St James Park. Gardeners from St James Park also maintain the Downing St gardens. It is also the main bedding season. Strike action will have a major impact on these events.”

End

Copy of GMB press release dated 13th February:

Dispute Looms At Royal Parks As Contractor OCS Seeks To Move From Weekly To Monthly Pay In St James Park Without Consultation

Some members in the other parks not receiving their pay slips on time and there is little faith in the monthly pay system at Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens says GMB.

GMB members employed by OCS in Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James's Park, The Green Park, Grosvenor Square and Brompton Cemetery in London are seeking an urgent meeting over a move by OCS from weekly to monthly pay in St James Park without any consultation with staff and on a number of other issues.

TUPE legislation covered staff which ensured that terms and conditions are protected when OCS won a new seven year contact last summer covering all landscape maintenance operations. Landscape maintenance services include all horticulture work (excluding tree work); litter picking; refuse collection; road/path sweeping; cleansing; gritting; playground inspection; and grave digging at Brompton Cemetery. Large numbers of these members employed as parks gardeners have been in post for many years, some for more than 40 years.

Gary Carter, GMB Regional Officer, said “Members in the other parks are still not receiving their pay slips on time and there is little faith in the current monthly pay system at Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

I am seeking an urgent meeting with OCS to discuss this matter, along with the pay claim, issues on pensions and the failure to deliver a promised hamper.

OCS wrote to staff in St James Park on 6th Feb 2015 without any meaningful consultation with staff regarding the change from weekly to monthly pay.

The content and wording of the letter implies this change to the payroll process is already a foregone conclusion.

Any major change to terms and conditions has to subject to a collective consultation process. 

However no changes can be made without full meaningful consultation and agreement. It OCS tries to bypass this requirement I will have no hesitation to approach the Regional Committee for permission to ballot members for action.”

End

 

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