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Foreign Office staff demand union recognition

OUTSOURCED workers at a government department have started their sixth round of strikes to demand union recognition.

PCS members contracted by the Interserve agency at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in King Charles Street, London, walked out yesterday.

The cleaners and maintenance staff have been in dispute with Interserve throughout the year to demand that their management recognise PCS as their workplace trade union.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Interserve have done everything they can to thwart a just settlement to this dispute.

“There is a deal where PCS would be recognised and could negotiate improvements to working conditions of staff.

“Yet Interserve have left our members no choice but to take strike action.

“We call upon the Foreign Secretary to intervene in this dispute and to put an end to contracting out of services within government departments by bringing them back in house.”

The strike looked set to continue today and next Monday and Tuesday.

Interserve said: “Despite positive dialogue with PCS and [arbitration service] Acas to resolve the dispute, the PCS has decided to take industrial action after failing to prove they had sufficient members to secure recognition.

“We remain prepared to organise a ballot as agreed to ask if the staff group want formal union recognition and are open to further dialogue. It is disappointing that PCS refuse to engage in this democratic process and continue to undermine it.”

An FCO spokesman said: “Foreign Office staff are not involved in the dispute and the work of the FCO continues as normal.

“The FCO has already acted to ensure Interserve staff are being paid the equivalent of the London Living Wage.”

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