Privatisation drives down pay in capital

The transfer of public sector staff to private companies is creating low pay
and poor working conditions in East London, claims Unison-funded research.

The research, Mapping Low Pay in East London, shows that many transferred
staff protected under Tupe have better pay and work conditions than their
private sector colleagues.

Cleaning staff who transferred from Homerton Hospital to ISS Mediclean earn
more, receive London weighting, get more holiday and have access to a pension
scheme, claims the research.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said, "This study shows just
what a vicious downward spiral into poverty is caused by privatisation and
private companies driving down pay and conditions to boost profits.

"Many thousands are forced to work inhumanly long hours, sometimes in
several jobs, to eke out a living for their families."

But even Tupe-protected staff feel that their working conditions have
deteriorated. The study claims that staff from Atherton Leisure Centre in
Newham, who were transferred to Greenwich Leisure, felt under pressure to take
up new contracts or find other jobs. Their lunch breaks were cut and they were
expected to make up time lost to training.

Jean Gibbins, head of HR for Greenwich leisure, responded, "It has not
been suggested that they take up new contracts and they have not been asked to
leave." She added that staff now have better access to training and career

The research, by East London Communities Organisation, interviewed 100
employees working for private contractors in the public sector.

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