Socialist Party
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28 March 2018

British Museum: Carillion workers demand to be brought back in-house

Chris Baugh, PCS assistant general secretary

I had the pleasure of supporting PCS members working for Carillion outside the British Museum at their protest on 20 March calling for the cleaning and facilities management contract to be brought back in-house.

This lively and well attended demonstration was supported by the Trade Union Congress, Unite the Union, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka and many other campaign groups, as well as a message of support from the shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

Around 100 workers from across the museum working in retail, security and visitor services as well as the Carillion workers themselves, came out in support.

Carillion workers at the museum have suffered years of cuts and attacks on their conditions since being outsourced in 2004. Before the collapse of the company, the PCS Carillion branch was pressing the museum to take the contract back in-house given ongoing problems with the delivery of it.

The PCS culture group estimates that since outsourcing the contract, cleaning staff numbers have been cut by a quarter, which has affected air quality at the museum and limited the time off workers can take.

Before PCS won staff the London Living Wage in 2016, workers had to endure 1% pay cuts on a poverty wage.

The British Museum should meet urgently with the unions to discuss this situation and stop paying consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers to run this contract. Bring the workers back in-house and allow workers at the museum to have their proper trade union rights respected.