Staff who police the entrances and exits to Parliament will walk out for 1 day on the 20th March in a row over workload if no agreement between Parliament and the Public and Commercial Services Union is reached.
This comes 1 day after it was announced MPs will get a 2.7% pay rise from April, taking their salary to £79,468.
More than 240 guards were balloted with 86% voting for strike action with a turnout of 62%. Guards are unhappy with reduced breaks and greater
The security guards now have the backing of Labour and Jeremy Corbyn who said the commons “must lead by example when it comes to workers’ rights”.
Union talks are still ongoing and an agreement could be reached that would end the need for industrial action.
Talking about the strike ballot, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said:
“The mandate for action from our members is strong and the House of Commons Commission need to recognise this strength of feeling amongst their security staff and settle this dispute. Hardworking staff are only asking for justice and fairness in the workplace. They are not prepared to put up with a culture of fear.
A spokeperson from Parliament stated:
“We have taken swift action to rectify the issues raised by the PCS Union regarding staff rest breaks and remain committed to finding a way forward that addresses outstanding concerns. Should the strike action proceed, business resilience plans will be put into place to ensure the security of the estate and the continued functioning of Parliament.”
The dispute with guards is another example of MPs pay being out of step with workers in the country, even workers closest to them.
In the recent announcement of future Parliamentary pay MPs got a pay rise of 2.7% while their Parliamentary staff got a rise of 1.5%.
MPs pay has now gone up 4 years in a row and this year’s rise was above the rate of inflation. This is in stark contrast to most public service workers who still face pay caps below that of inflation.
The general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, Mark Serwotka said the rise was
“an outrage… while civil servants, who do some of the most vital jobs in society, are still subject to a cruel 1% de-facto pay cap.”
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has the power to increase MP pay without permission from Parliament so while lots of Labour MPs have spoken out against the rise they have no power to stop it.