Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has branded a pay offer, made to its 500 members employed by Amey undertaking prison maintenance work, as a farce and a ‘lucky dip’.

Pay increase a year late

The problems relate to last year’s pay increase which was due in April 2018. Amey proposed a variable pay deal for its prison maintenance stuff. Workers would receive between 0 – 3.5 per cent depending on a huge number of factors (see notes to editors).

Amey has been unable to provide information on how much each of Unite’s 500 members will receive if they agree to the pay offer and when individual workers have asked for the same information about their personal proposed increase they have also been told that it is not available.

Amey has now told Unite that they will provide the requested information only after the workforce has agreed to the pay offer. The company has refused to enter into any further negotiations about the pay offer.

Pay problems getting worse

Amey acquired the prison maintenance contract for all prisons in the North of England and Midlands in 2015. In the nearly four years since prison maintenance work was privatised Amey has failed to harmonise pay rates and problems are increasing rather than being resolved.

'Lucky dip'

Unite officer with responsibility for prisons Caren Evans said: “The pay offer is a complete farce; Amey can’t or won’t tell Unite or the individual workers how much they will receive until after the offer is accepted.

“This is not a pay offer but a badly executed lucky dip.

“Workers operating side by side, doing the same work, could see one worker receiving a 3.5 per cent increase while the other received nothing.

“Amey has had this contract for nearly four years and rather than resolving pay issues, they are getting worse.

“This is the latest example of Amey’s total mishandling of the prison maintenance contracts which have been dogged by large doses of inertia and incompetence.

“The service is failing and the government must step and in and re-nationalise prison maintenance before the problems become so severe that the welfare of staff and inmates is directly put at risk.”

Big losses

Amey has racked up substantial losses due to problems on its other public service contracts and it is understood that its Spanish parent company Ferrovial is looking to sell it.

The prison maintenance work in southern England was transferred to Carillion and following that company’s demise in January 2018, the workforce was transferred to Government Facilities Services Ltd (GFSL) which is effectively a government agency. Since the workforce were transferred many of the pay and conditions issues are being resolved.


Notes to editors:

The full details of the Amey pay offer:

  • Eligible employees paid above the average salary for their role to receive a 1.25 per cent increase;
    Eligible employees paid below the average for their role to receive an increase of 2.75 per cent;
  •  Employees on Fair & Sustainable terms and conditions who are still not at the top of the former pay scale they transferred to Amey on would receive a further increase of 0.5 per cent; •
    An additional increase of 0.75 per cent would be paid to any employee still below the average for their role after the application of 2.75 per cent (total increase 3.5 per cent).
     Those eligible for this award are all employees in the bargaining unit except:
  • 152 new starters since 1st January 2018;  46 employees who have already had a salary increase as part of a change to their terms and conditions.
    Those who commenced their employment after 1st January 2018 aren’t contractually entitled to their first annual review until April 2019 hence their exclusion. Employees who have already had a salary increase during the year April 2018 to date are also excluded however, employees who received an increase effective 1st April 2018 under National Minimum Wage (4.4 per cent) would receive the basic increase of 1.25 per cent. 

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

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