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OCS Vote For Strike Action

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

GMB Members Unanimous Vote For Strike Action On OCS Housing Estates Cleaning Contract For Kensington & Chelsea Over Pay Freeze

Our members have sent a strong and clear message to OCS that they're not going to tolerate poverty pay says GMB

59 GMB members employed as cleaners by contractors OCS in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea have returned a unanimous vote for strike action in a dispute over a pay freeze

The pay claim is for GMB members at OCS to receive the London Living Wage of £8.55 per hour. They currently earn £7.18 per hour.

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 pay claim was submitted on 16th January and talks were held on 20th February. Then at a further meeting on 9th May 2013 OCS said there would be no pay increase this year. GMB informed OCS on 22nd May of the member’s response but OCS send a negative reply on 16th July 2013. 

GMB held a consultative ballot of members returned a clear call for an industrial action in support of the claim for the London Living Wage.

Inflation in the past twelve months has been consistently above 3%. Price increases on essential items, such as food, fuel, rents, and travel have far outstripped this headline figure and hit the low paid the hardest. OCS is effectively asking low paid staff to take a pay cut, whilst the company continues to make a healthy profit on the contract.

Many employers across London are signing up and seeing the real tangible benefits that paying the London Living Wage brings. OCS cleaners are poorly paid and receive a lowly £7.18 per hour, which is £1.37 per hour and £54.80 per week lower than the current London Living Wage, and the gap is getting wider. This is unacceptable to staff, who have worked hard to make the contract a success.

Gary Carter, GMB Organiser said,Our members have sent a strong and clear message to OCS that they're not going to tolerate poverty pay.

OCS is a large profitable company that should pay its employees a living wage. The imposition of a pay freeze is unjust and has led to a unanimous vote for strike action. 

The dedicated, hard-working and long serving cleaners struggle to make ends meet on such low wages. The London Living Wage is set at £8.55 for good reason as it is not possible to live in London less.

OCS’s profits should be used to do the right thing and pay its employees a living wage.

Other Kensington & Chelsea private contractors, who clean the streets and deal with parking offences, paid a 3% pay increase in April. OCS employees get paid less and receive fewer benefits, than other private contractors staff working on for the borough.

GMB members know that they deserve a pay increase and that if OCS continues with its current stance, they will have no option to take strike action. “

Ends

Contact: Gary Carter, GMB Organiser on 07738 958140 or GMB Press Office: 07974 251823 or 020 7391 6755.

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