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Strike Ballot At Royal Parks

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

GMB Strike Ballot At Central London Royal Parks As OCS Move From Weekly To Monthly Pay Without Agreement And 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 our 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

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

Notes to editors

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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