Supporting OCS security officers on the MOJ Contract in their fight for the real living wage and improved terms and conditions
by Fran Heathcote
PCS members working for OCS on the HMCTS Security contract are currently being balloted over their willingness to take industrial action, following receipt of an insulting pay offer.
In the last few days, as a member of the NEC Outsourced Workers Committee, I have been contacting members, using our new digital technology to ensure that they have had a ballot paper and that they have voted. We do this to make sure that we can achieve the 50% turnout in the ballot, and because these members are low-paid and are really pleased to speak to someone from their union during the campaign to answer any questions that they have.
Here is some information about why we are balloting them:
Members were TUPE transferred to OCS on the 1st April 2020 and were moved almost immediately to the national minimum wage as the increase in April overtook their contracted hourly rate.
OCS have failed to recognise the tireless efforts PCS members have made in keeping the courts and tribunals operating during the covid-19 pandemic.
In response to these outstanding efforts, OCS have presented an insulting proposal to offer a 1.5% pay increase which equates to a mere 13 pence per hour.
Hiding behind an excuse of lack of affordability, OCS have failed to meet PCS calls for:
– the payment of the real living wage
– an increase to annual leave entitlement
– the introduction of company sick pay that pays from day one of absence
– a one off reward and recognition bonus in recognition of covid efforts
At the same time as communicating the disgraceful pay offer to our members, OCS boasted about making £20 million in Covid-19-related sales since March 2020.
It is clear that our members are ready to fight for the real living wage they deserve.
A successful ballot will not only send the strongest possible message to OCS but it also has the potential to bring HMCTS to its knees.
There is industrial leverage that we have never before seen on the contract, as our OCS members are vital to ensuring that HMCTS are able to deliver their covid-19 recovery plans.
With the current expectation that backlogs could take up to 4 years to clear, now is the time for both OCS and HMCTS to stop passing the blame of endemic low pay within the contract on each other, and pay our members the real living wage that they deserve. Like many other private sector employers, OCS are seeking to exploit the working class by making maximum profit for minimal pay, terms and conditions.
Left Unity members have offered full support to our members during their ballot period by participating in phone banking and ensuring that every member has received a call from their union.
Left Unity have continued to lead the fight for fair pay, terms and conditions for members on outsourced contracts. We offer our full support and solidarity to our OCS members.
Fran Heathcote is currently PCS President and is standing for re-election. Click here for more information about the Democratic Alliance election list