Cleaners in Merseyside have gone on strike this week in order to bring attention to their pay. Despite the National Living Wage coming into effect this past April, those employed by ISS do not receive it – despite cleaning HMRC buildings.
HMRC governs the National Living Wage, which was introduced by George Osbourne this year to battle low payments to those in employment. There are 30 workers who clean the HMRC buildings in Liverpool, and will be joining in with Strike, which is the take place throughout the week. Most cleaners who work for ISS are on a “poverty” wage, which means that although they work, they are still eligible for working tax credits on the government. The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) have released a statement about the issue, saying that the workers should not have to qualify for benefits, and should be placed on a National Living Wage.
ISS is a multi- national company which makes hundreds of millions in profit each year. It employs over 500 000 people in 71 countries around the world last year alone made £250m in profits. They have refused to comment on the issue of underpaying their staff.
A spokesperson for the PCS has stated that this in unacceptable and should not be tolerated. They have also stated that they think HMRC should no longer work along ISS in protest.
A spokesperson for the HMRC has stated that the payment of their cleaners is not governed by them, and therefore they cannot comment on the situation. However, they did state that they appreciated everything their cleaners did for them. This backhanded complimented has not been taken well by the cleaners from their building. Ann, 46, commented on the situation to us – stating that the whole payment system is “unjust and untrustworthy. If I have to claim benefits alongside my work, it’s not a good job to have – but I have a family to support and need all the money I can get”. Ann has been working with ISS for 4 years now and has told us how disgusted she is that they haven’t upgraded their payment schemes to coincide with the National Living Wage.
Since it was only implemented in April this year, it’s too early to say that the company will never change its ways, however their workers are mad and have every right to be. Only time will tell if ISS will change its ways to match companies such as IKEA, who implemented the new pay on April 8th.