Carillion GMB School Support Staff Strike

12 Mar 2013

24 GMB members employed by Carillion as support staff in several schools in Sheffield will take strike action on Friday 15th March 2013 over the refusal of the contractor to apply the living wage of £7.45 per hour paid to direct council employees. Some of these staff were out-sourced years ago but most were outsourced to Carillion only 2 years ago.

Sheffield City Council recently agreed to become a living wage employer. The council will pay the lowest paid direct employees a living wage of £7:45 per hour in April 2013. Sheffield City Council political leadership made clear in a recent full council meeting ‘we will do all we can to make sure partners pay the living wage even if we have to name and shame them.’ However Carillion is refusing to pay £7.45 per hour to staff doing work for the council. Carillion also refused to pay a lump sum of £250 when the workers were first out-sourced.

GMB will also launch a petition at 3pm on Friday 15th March 2013 outside the Town Hall that all out-sourced public sector workers in Sheffield are paid a living wage.  The Carillion school cleaners on strike will be there for the launch.

The dispute between GMB and Carillion in Sheffield is the third dispute between the union and the company underway across the country.

In Swindon 200 GMB members are still in dispute with Carillion at Great Western PFI hospital over allegations of bribery, shakedowns, racism, bullying and intimidation after 21 days of strike action. There are fifty seven cases filed against Carillion in the employment tribunal arising from this dispute.

GMB’s dispute with Carillion over blacklisting will be subject to litigation in the High Court. Carillion also face a case in the Employment Appeals Tribunal for blacklisting Dave Smith. Carillion’s involvement with blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a database of 3,213 construction workers used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. ICO confirmed that Dave Smith was one of 224 construction workers from around the UK were victims of blacklisting by Carillion. Of these one was from Sheffield and 9 from Yorkshire. See notes to editors for recent GMB press release on Carillion blacklisting.

Peter Davies, GMB Regional Officer, said “Most of the city’s lowest paid workers in schools and other public services have been out-sourced to contractors over successive administrations. Where this has happened these Sheffield City Council contractors are refusing to honour the rise to £7.45 per hour for the city’s lowest paid employees. We have a ridiculous situation at Firth Park Community College and other schools where workers work directly for the council in the kitchens for half of their job and then for Carillion later as cleaners, Carillion pay these workers over £1.00 an hour less.

Council contractors were all quick to follow the City pay freeze but when there is something on the table for the lowest paid they suddenly run for the shadows. The only way these workers will get the living wage is to fight for it through a sustained industrial action campaign like the Carillion workers are doing. As part of the campaign we plan to link up with GMB members in dispute with Carillion in Swindon and with the 201 blacklisted workers in Yorkshire.

GMB will use the petition we are launching on Friday to force a debate in the Council over the coming weeks and months to see if we can bring the Councils ‘so called’ partners in line with the living wage.”

Contact Peter Davies GMB Organiser on 07501 228313