Lively, well-supported demonstration ignites cleaners’ campaign

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Cleaners from HMRC offices in Bootle and Liverpool demonstrated today (18 march) in opposition to proposed cuts to their hours by their employer ISS.

The demonstration took place in Derby Square in Liverpool City Centre, and was well attended by both cleaning staff and supporters. Several hundred leaflets were handed out to members of the public, while the demonstrators chanted ‘No ifs, no buts, no cleaning job cuts’ and various other slogans.

ISS is proposing the cuts to offset any increased costs from the introduction of the government’s national living wage in April. This will increase the minimum wage for over 25s by 50p to £7.20 per hour. The company claims that Salisbury FM, who provide cleaning services to HMRC building and sub-contract ISS to employ cleaners, is withholding the money to pay the new rate.

The protest was extremely well received, with strong support from the public. The event marked the beginning of a campaign not only in opposition to cuts but also in favour of a Living Wage and improved terms and conditions.

PCS, the union which represents the cleaners as well as in-house HMRC staff, says the cleaners deserve the Living Wage Foundation’s Living Wage. This is currently set as £8.25 nationally and £9.40 in London.

In addition, they are demanding occupational sick pay and holiday rights in line with civil servants along with increased staffing and hours to reduce workloads.

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