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From: The Socialist issue 1055, 11 September 2019: Tory meltdown - Organise to finish them off

Search site for keywords: PCS - Strike - Government - Pay - living wage - London

PCS strike at BEIS: "The life we live is not liveable"

BEIS strikers joined on the picket line by socialist PCS general secretary election candidate Marion Lloyd (right), photo Paula Mitchell

BEIS strikers joined on the picket line by socialist PCS general secretary election candidate Marion Lloyd (right), photo Paula Mitchell   (Click to enlarge)

PCS members working as cleaners and catering staff at the government's business department, BEIS, are on indefinite strike. The workers are employed by private companies Aramark and ISS. Striker Joshua Ameyaw spoke to London Socialist Party secretary Paula Mitchell and explained why they are on strike.

"The life we live is not liveable. We work in a government department and yet we can't get the London living wage (10.55). We can't pay bills, we can't look after our families, some of us are in debt.

We took several days of strike action but there was no good news from the managers, so we decided 'enough is enough' and on 15 July started an indefinite strike.

Our strike has involved pickets and protests, and we've had great support from other trade unionists and socialists. For these two weeks, the porters, security and reception staff are on strike with us, picketing every day, which is a real boost to everybody.

Boris Johnson and the Tory government don't care about people like us, they don't do anything for poor people.

Johnson says he thinks staff in government departments should get the London living wage - so go on then, pay up!

We're not begging for anything, just what we deserve. We need a government like Labour with socialist policies. We'll carry on fighting but we also want a general election as soon as possible.

They have to bring this dispute to an end. We want the living wage but we also want decent terms and conditions, good holiday pay, good sick pay. At the moment when we're sick we don't get paid for three days! And we want to be taken back in-house."

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