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Posted on 6 September 2019 at 15:54 GMT

PCS national executive member & Socialist Party member Marion Lloyd (right) supporting BEIS strikers, photo by Paula Mitchell

PCS national executive member & Socialist Party member Marion Lloyd (right) supporting BEIS strikers, photo by Paula Mitchell   (Click to enlarge)

PCS strike at BEIS - "the life we live is not liveable"

PCS union members working as cleaners and catering staff at the government's business department, BEIS, are on indefinite strike.
The staff are employed by private companies Aramark and ISS. Striker Joshua Ameyaw explains why they are on strike:

"The life we live is not liveable. We work in a government department and yet we can't get the London living wage. We can't pay bills, we can't look after our families, some of us are in debt. We took several days of strike action but there was no good news from the managers, so on 15 July we started an indefinite strike.

"We decided enough is enough. Our strike has involved pickets and protests, and we've had great support from other trade unionists and socialists. For these two weeks, the porters, security and reception staff are on strike with us, picketing every day, which is a real boost to everybody.

"Boris Johnson and the Tory government don't care about people like us, they don't do anything for poor people. Boris Johnson says he thinks staff in government departments should get the London living wage - so go on then, pay up! We're not begging for anything, just what we deserve.

"We need a government like Labour with socialist policies. We'll carry on fighting but we also want a general election as soon as possible. They have to bring this dispute to an end. We want the living wage but we also want decent terms and conditions, good holiday pay, good sick pay. At the moment when we're sick we don't get paid for three days! And we want to be taken back in-house."

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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