The next prime minister will be forced to face strike action in Whitehall on their first day in office, the public sector workers’ union has warned.
Either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will face industrial action on the part of Whitehall workers, after members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union voted strike.
The strike will see cleaners, security guards, post and porterage staff working at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), take action on the 5th and 6th of September, with some workers continuing the strike into the early hours of the 7th.
The winner of the competition to become the UK’s next prime minister is set to be announced on 5 September. Jacob Rees-Mogg is reportedly the frontrunner to take over from Kwasi Kwarteng as head of BEIS.
The workers, employed by outsourcing company ISS, are set to strike over the implementation of a series of health and safety protocols agreed upon last year.
Relations between ISS and the PCS union broke down following a dispute over the conditions of security guards working outside during this summer’s heatwave.
PCS claim ISS and BEIS failed to put in place safety measures agreed upon during a previous strike last year.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “For the new Prime Minister to face strike action on their first day at work is a sign of things to come.”
“Our members all across the civil service are increasingly angry and desperate as the government does nothing to ease the cost-of-living crisis.”
“While the candidates for Prime Minister pitch increasingly right-wing ideas to Conservative Party members, our own members – the people the new Prime Minister will rely on to get their work done – are facing a winter of real hardship,” Serwotka said.
A BEIS spokesperson said: “We value all our staff, whether directly employed by BEIS or working for our contractors.”
“Working with the Government Property Agency, we’re ensuring the contractor and the union continue to speak to one another to resolve the dispute.”
“If industrial action goes ahead, we are confident the vital work of the Department will continue as normal.”
An ISS spokesperson said: “ISS remains in an ongoing, constructive dialogue with the PCS and we hope for a swift resolution to this dispute.”