School support staff in Sheffield strike today over refusal by outsourcing and construction giant, Carillion, to pay them living wage of £7.45 per hour

Tim Lezard

GMB-Goans-we-will-win_webbedSchool support staff in Sheffield are taking strike action today over the refusal of the outsourcing and construction giant, Carillion, to pay them the living wage of £7.45 per hour paid to direct council employees.

The GMB is linking the action in Sheffield to the year-long dispute with Carillion at a hospital in Swindon (pictured) over allegations of racist bullying which has led to 21 days of strike action by cleaners and support staff.

The union is due to launch a petition this afternoon outside Sheffield Town Hall calling for all out-sourced public sector workers in the city to receive a living wage.

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.

“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.”

Strike organisers believe the only way the school support staff will get the living wage is through a sustained industrial action campaign.

GMB officials plan to link Carillion members in Swindon and with more than 200 blacklisted workers in Yorkshire.

There are 57 cases filed against Carillion in the employment tribunal arising from this dispute.

GMB’s dispute with Carillion over blacklisting is expected to come before the High Court in London within a matter of weeks.

The company also faces a Employment Appeals Tribunal over the alleged blacklisting of the former construction worker and prominent anti-blacklisting campaigner, Dave Smith.

Documents seized by the data protection watchdog, the ICO, confirmed that 224 construction workers from around the UK were victims of blacklisting by Carillion between 1993 and 2009.

You can watch our report on the Swindon hospital dispute here:

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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