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19 October 2015

Foreign Office cleaners facing the sack after asking for a pay rise

Cleaners at the Foreign Office are facing disciplinary action after writing a letter to the Foreign Secretary, Phillip Hammnd, asking for a payrise. 

By Stephen Bush

The Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, is under pressure to intervene in the case of 14 cleaners at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, after Interserve, the FCO’s cleaning company, initiated disciplinary measures against them after they wrote a letter to the Foreign Secretary asking for a raise. 

At present, Interserve’s cleaners are paid £7.00 an hour, well short of the £9.15 that the Living Wage Foundation calculates is necessary to survive in London. Writing letters to senior figures is a common tactic deployed by the Living Wage Campaign. 

Interserve insist that while the 14 cleaners have been disciplined as a result of “bringing the contract into disrepute”, three of the cleaners are facing redundancy for unrelated reasons. However, Katy Rojas, one of the cleaners affected, told the Guardian that she had a spotless record with Interserve, saying that Hammond was now “the only one who can stop this”. “It is not a crime to ask for better wages for me and my workmates.”

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