Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) working for food, facilities and uniform services organisation Aramark concluded three-day strike action yesterday (Wednesday 10 April 2019) in a dispute over pay.
Contracted catering staff based at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) formed a picket line at the BEIS head office at Westminster. Aramark employees were joined by members from the PCS branch in Whitehall, as well as a representative from fellow trade union Unison.
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey and shadow minister for BEIS Laura Pidcock were also in attendance during yesterday’s industrial action, alongside Mark Serwotka, general secretary at PCS, Fran Heathcote, acting president at PCS and Zita Holbourne, vice president at PCS.
The dispute concerns a lack of action around negotiations to ensure Aramark pays its employees the voluntary London living wage rate, which currently stands at £10.55 an hour. The living wage, which is updated annually, is an independently set hourly rate of pay that is calculated according to the basic costs of living.
A spokesperson at PCS said: “We believe the scandal of low pay and poor conditions is caused by outsourcing, and we are campaigning to bring these services back in-house.”