(April 2017) Beginning this month the municipal services union Kommunal will be investigating the employment and working conditions of cleaners, looking at their employment status, working hours as well as health and safety problems. The union will carry out a survey as well as making workplace visits to talk to workers and assess how they are affected by what are often seen as the main problems facing the sector - the impact of privatisation, lack of control over work - but also good examples where workers do have more control over working time and other working conditions.
Union turns spotlight on cleaners
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Striking cleaners, members of the Unite trade union, working at four London hospitals have taken their protests to the heart of the City of London. They are making their voices heard as their employer, the outsourcing company Serco, announces its latest profit figures. In one of the biggest ever strike actions by cleaners, the workers are highlighting excessive workloads and levels of pay so low that many have to take second jobs to make ends meet.
Public service workers across the UK have been involved in number of disputes over pay, jobs and safety. Waste workers in Birmingham and Doncaster are taking or planning action over pay and safety while cleaners at four hospitals in East London are continuting their campaign for a higher pay increase against outsourcing company Serco. Meanwhile in Sheffield members of the PCS civil service union are taking strike action in protest at the closure of a local Job Centre, part of a campaign against government proposals for closures across the country. Finally, janitors in schools across Glasgow
Around 300 hospital support workers, including catering, cleaning and portering staff, took strike action on 31 July in their campaign to get pay parity with National Health Service employees. The workers at three hospitals in North West England are employed by the multinational Compass and many of them are on the lowest pay rate of £8.21 (€8.95) an hour which is £0.82 (€0.90) less than the £9.03 (€9.85) minimum for NHS workers. EPSU sent a solidarity message.