Security on strike: Rochdale Job Centre guards are “paid less than cleaners”

Date published: 02 July 2024

Security guards at Rochdale Job Centre are currently on strike as part of an ongoing dispute over “appalling” pay.

The local team, seen this morning outside the town centre job centre (Tuesday 2 July), are part of a wider group across the North West who are currently fighting for better wages.

The guards - employed by private outsourcing giant G4S – started the walk out from Monday 1 July – and will continue until Saturday (6 July).

The workers do a difficult, dangerous job; trade union GMB research shows more than 80 percent regularly suffer abuse, including being savaged in the neck by dogs, punched, attacked with screwdrivers and customers behaving ‘like wild animals’.

Adil Hussain has worked at Rochdale Job Centre for four years. He told Rochdale Online News: “We are the ones dealing with the violence, the drunks, the trouble. We work hard. We have families to support.

“Yet we get paid less than the cleaners.”

“Everything has gone up, life has gone up. Things cost more, yet we get paid so little for working extremely hard.

“Something's got to give.”

In total, 90 percent of the guards are now paid just the minimum wage.

Meanwhile, GMB says the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has shelled out £211 million to G4S since Dec 2022 – despite staff costs being just £161 million during the same period, a difference of £50 million.

ACAS is attempting to arrange talks to settle the dispute, but the DWP has not yet participated.

Eamon O’Hearn, GMB national officer said: “It’s not rocket science – if the DWP and G4S want to end this dispute, make sure these guards are paid enough to live on.

“G4S has been handed millions by the Government, yet our members can barely afford to feed their families.

“The work they do is hard; they are attacked with alarming regularity just for doing their job.

“The least they expect is to be paid a proper wage.”

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