HMRC cleaners plan strike action on Merseyside

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) employed by ISS to clean HMRC offices on Merseyside are due to take six days of strike action over pay

The strikes are scheduled to be held on 25-27 November and 2-4 December. The cleaners are fighting for a £10 per hour living wage, improved terms and conditions, and job security guarantees.

HMRC does not employ the workers directly as they are subcontracted through Mapeley as part of the STEPS contract, which handles the tax authority's real estate portfolio and contracts are periferal services such as ISS, which directly employs the clearners.

'The STEPS contract provides HMRC with serviced buildings in Bootle, Liverpool and elsewhere, and specifies that the supplier and its sub-contractors must meet all legislative obligations with regards to employee terms and conditions including pay,' an HMRC spokesperson said. 'All companies in the STEPS supply chain, including ISS, have confirmed that they are meeting National Living Wage requirements in accordance with current legislation.'

Due to the outsourced nature of the contract, HMRC said: 'We do not negotiate pay and condition terms with our suppliers, and we do not believe that it would be appropriate discuss the terms and conditions of staff employed by a third party.'

HMRC confirmed that it would be putting contingency arrangements in place to ensure the strike action does not adversely affect staff.

The PCS union recently won settlements over pay and conditions for contractors employed by ISS and another contractor, Aramark, at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Workers there had been on indefinite strike since July, in the longest action of its kind by outsourced workers.

The PCS said that ‘HMRC and ISS are currently refusing to engage with the union over the pay and conditions of the cleaners. However, the BEIS settlement demonstrates that this is nothing more than a lack of will by both parties, and PCS is determined to force them to do the right thing by their workers’.

Picket lines will be set up at HMRC offices at The Triad in Bootle and Derby Square in Liverpool from 7-9.30am on each strike day.

HMRC has been contacted for comment.

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