WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

‘Poverty pay’ parks cleaners set for strike

30 July, 2019 — By Tom Foot

The United Voices of the World union represents the cleaners

ROYAL Parks cleaners living a “hand-to-mouth existence” because of poverty pay are preparing for strike action.

The cleaners, who scrub toilets in Hyde Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens, are paid £8.21 per hour, below the London Living Wage of £10.55.

The cleaners are also demanding sick pay and holiday entitlement.

The strike is expected to take place next month during the school summer holidays.

“I have worked at the Royal Parks for 24 years, but these poverty wages mean that, like many of my colleagues, I’m living a hand-to-mouth existence,” said cleaner Genevive Boohene. “Now we are coming together to change things for ourselves.”

Park cleaners are managed by Vinci, a construction and facilities company with contracts in more than 100 countries worldwide.

The Royal Parks – a charity that manages the parks on behalf of the Queen – says it is not responsible for what its contractor pays staff.

The United Voices of the World union, which is representing the cleaners, says it is “setting its sights” on the charity.

The Royal Parks said: “All staff employed by The Royal Parks are paid above the London Living Wage. We aspire that all of our contractors pay their staff the London Living Wage, and are reviewing this for every contract that is coming to an end. At present this contract is managed by Vinci and this is a matter for them.”

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