Royal Parks: an interim advance (John Moloney's column)

Submitted by AWL on 23 November, 2021 - 4:52 Author: John Moloney
Royal Parks picket

Outsourced cleaners and attendants in the Royal Parks have voted to accept a settlement in their dispute. A vote was held at a meeting on 18 November, with a follow-up check of members who couldn’t attend. It vastly improves sick pay arrangements, and enhances holiday pay. It also recognises the union, and several workers have come forward to be elected as reps. Although a clear victory, this is an interim settlement. There are many outstanding issues and other demands that workers want to press for, including issues regarding their contracts, health and safety and other matters. Another key issue is job cuts: the threat of significant job losses was one of the issues that sparked the dispute. The immediate threat of job losses has been removed, which is a win, but the employer says they will be reconsidering the issue in the new year, so we could see a renewed dispute over that. The settlement is a truce more than a cessation of hostilities.

We have submitted a new charter of demands to the Department for Transport around our members’ workplace safety and working conditions at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea. We’re waiting for their response. If they don’t meet those demands, we’ll build for renewed ballots. As we missed the threshold in our last aggregated ballots, renewed ballots will likely be disaggregated, balloting different sections of workers at the complex individually. For example, the call centre, which is a key workplace there, has hundreds of members in it. That could be balloted separately to other key parts of the organisation. The aim will though to win each of the ballots so that we can have as much united action as possible.

• John Moloney is assistant general secretary of the civil service workers’ union PCS, writing in a personal capacity here

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