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GMB Urges Council To End ‘Scandalous’ £1,000 School Cleaner Pay Gap

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

GMB Urges Council To End ‘Scandalous’ £1,000 School Cleaner Pay Gap

GMB Scotland is today (Wednesday 18 October) urging Renfrewshire Council to eradicate a pay gap affecting local school cleaners which could amount to a scandalous £1,000 a year.

The disparity stems from contractual agreements made under the controversial Public Finance Initiative (PFI), which in 2005 awarded facilities giant AMEY a thirty-two year contract worth £135 million for facilities services in the council’s new build schools.

However, staff employed under AMEY contracts are paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW) of £7.50 an hour while their equivalents in schools managed directly by Renfrewshire Council receive the Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £8.51 an hour.

It means that cleaners in the six primary and four secondary schools under AMEY contracts could be paid as much as £1,150 a year less than their council staff equivalents on a 26 hour a week term-time contract.  

At last month’s full council meeting, councillors supported a motion calling for the council leadership to enter into discussions with AMEY to eradicate low-pay in the schools affected.

GMB Scotland Organiser Dominic Allen said: “It’s scandalous that a school cleaner on a contract with AMEY is paid less than a school cleaner directly employed by the council, yet both do exactly the same job and provide the same public service.

It should be a source of shame that the workers, predominantly women, cleaning our kids’ schools are suppressed in low pay because of bad deals negotiated by previous council administrations and this cannot go unchallenged.

This problem isn’t just restricted to Renfrewshire Council, it’s widespread across many councils, but the minimum that workers delivering a service in local government should be paid is the Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £8.51 an hour.

GMB welcomes support from local councillors to eradicate this inequality and we will carry forward our campaign for equality so AMEY pay their hard-working staff a proper living wage.”


Contact: GMB Scotland Organiser Dominic Allen on 07501 229564 or Peter Welsh, GMB Scotland Communications, on 07976 447077.