Six schools in Hackney will be left dirty and with rubbish piling up as cleaners gear up for five days of strike action in a dispute over the ‘outrageous’ failure to pay proper holiday rates. 
More than 40 school cleaners, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, will strike for four days from 00.01 on Tuesday 30 January until 23.59 on Friday 2 February. There will be a further 24-hour strike from 00.01 on Monday 5 February. 
The cleaners voted by 100 per cent on a 60 per cent turn out for strike action, following the refusal of their employer OCS Group Ltd to pay the London Living Wage; proposals to cut pay with new term time only contracts; and refusing to pay holiday pay in line with its legal obligations, which state that holiday pay should reflect normal remuneration. 
The cleaners are also angry over OCS’ failure to discuss the five per cent pay claim for April 2018. 
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “What we have here is outrageous salami-slicing by OCS of pay and employment conditions of an already lowly-paid group of workers. 
“Now our members have voted overwhelmingly to stand up to OCS, which is a very poor example of the privatised contracting out culture. It has cut pay for the cleaners and refuses to uprate the London Living Wage (LLW) to the current rate of £10.20 an hour. 
“OCS continues to blatantly ignore the requirement of Hackney council that its contractors pay the LLW. It has also refused to pay proper holiday pay, despite the recent holiday pay/overtime court ruling on this subject. 
“The bosses need to sit down and hold constructive talks with Unite to resolve this dispute, otherwise classroom rubbish will be uncollected and toilets uncleaned at the end of January – with further action on the cards going into the spring.” 
The Hackney schools that will be affected, if the strike goes ahead are: Cardinal Pole School, Clapton Girls Academy, Hackney Free School, Haggerston School, Ickburgh School and Stoke Newington School. 
Notes to editors: 
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065 Email:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.