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Royal Parks cleaners vote for strike action
Contracted-out staff at Royal Parks will take strike action later this month in an attempt to have their contracts brought into line with those of directly employed Royal Parks staff.
They say that Just Ask Estates, which has a contract to provide toilet cleaning services for the parks, has refused to recognise or engage with their union.
They are also demanding the reinstatement of a sacked member of staff who they say was delayed returning from Ghana due to pandemic travel restrictions.
England’s Royal Parks include Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’s Park, The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, as well as Richmond, Greenwich, Bushy and Green Parks, Brompton Cemetery and Victoria Tower Gardens. With visitor numbers likely to soar with this Monday’s lifting of Covid restrictions, any industrial action is likely to have a significant impact on accessibility to toilets for tourists.
The cleaners’ representative, Public & Commercial Services Union general secretary Mark Serwotka says of the dispute:
"The treatment of staff who do an important job keeping key facilities functioning at the Royal Parks, is a disgrace. Just Ask Estates needs to reinstate the staff member immediately, recognise the palpable anger of our members and get round the negotiating table to achieve a just settlement.
"Strike action is always a last resort but we will back our members every step of the way."
PCS has written to Andrew Scattergood, the chief executive officer of Royal Parks, asking him to intervene in the dispute.
“We have reminded the CEO that although the dispute is with Just Ask Services, Royal Parks has set the scene by granting the contract that has staff cuts, forced mobility and poor pay built into it,” adds Mark. “Just Ask Services is refusing to settle the dispute without extra money from the Royal Parks and therefore we are asking Andrew Scattergood to intervene to settle the dispute.”
The striking staff are members of both the PCS and the United Voices of the World. The first day of strike action could take place as early as 30th July, with a rally at 09.30 at Royal Parks HQ, Old Police House, Hyde Park.
22nd July 2021