Union workers set to stage biggest walk out in Ministry of Justice history over pay rise

The biggest strike in The Ministry of Justice’s history will take place next week when cleaners, receptionists, and security guards walk out over pay.

The two-day strike organised by union United Voices of the World is calling on the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to increase the pay of support staff from £9 to the London Living Wage (LLW) of £10.55 an hour.

In August, similar industrial action by cleaners at the MoJ resulted in wages increasing to £9 an hour. Demands for the LLW, increased annual leave, and sick pay allowance in line with civil servants are being made this Monday 21.

Petros Elia, 34, executive committee member at United Voices of the World, said: ”We would like the Ministry of Justice to be forced to close.

“It would be a symbolic reminder to people of the work cleaners, security guards and receptionists do as they are so often overlooked.

“They do the invisible work of a building and it would be a wake up all for everyone to start appreciating them and the work they do.”

Mr Elia said the current wages were completely unfair and described them as poverty wages.

More than 98% of the support staff workers are migrants.

The union formally complained to the MoJ about pay in December 2017 but support staff contracts were then outsourced to private contractor OCS.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Rebecca Long Bailey will join the picket line on Tuesday morning alongside the largest support workers’ strike in the history of any government department.

Across the road at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, staff at Public and Commercial Services union will also be on strike, as they too demand the LLW.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We are committed to lifting the salaries of the lowest paid members of staff and demonstrating that everyone is valued equally for their contribution, including our vital support staff.

“Of course we do not have unlimited resources – we have to work within our financial constraints – but we will continue to work with our suppliers to improve conditions in line with our values, and across government to pursue this important issue.

“Contingency plans will ensure our buildings in central London remain open.”

Feature photo © Basher Eyre (cc-by-sa/2.0)

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