GMB London warn Royal Parks that inflation has to be factored into grounds maintenance retendering contracts

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GMB London warn Royal Parks that inflation has to be factored into grounds maintenance retendering contracts 

Unless there is an upgrade for inflation in the new outsourced contracts to be announced in April this is a formula for trouble ahead says GMB London.

GMB London, the union for workers employed by OCS the grounds maintenance services contractor for the Royal Parks is warning that inflation has to be taken into account when the new outsourced contractor is announced next month. 

The Royal Parks Board are currently in a procurement process that started in December 2021 which will determine whether the current contractor OCS retains the contract or whether the service is awarded to a new contractor. The contract covers grounds maintenance within St James Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. An announcement is expected in April.

However, following a recent meeting with the current contractor OCS to discuss the pay claim submitted on behalf of members, GMB have been given to understand that to retain the contract OCS have submitted a bid based on existing costs with no provision whatsoever to take account of the rising costs of living for employees. Royal parks rely on hard-working staff to maintain the grounds, yet the value of these workers has not been recognised or considered within the contract as cost-cutting will come from their wages and this is not acceptable or fair.

 Keith Williams, GMB London Region Senior Organiser, said:

“At the time the Royal Parks invited tenders for the contract in December 2021, unless you were living on Mars, everybody was aware that the Office for National Statistics had announced that inflation had risen to 5.4% in December and the level of inflation was predicted to reach a 30 year high of 7% by April.

“We now know that we will be lucky to avoid double-digit inflation by the end of the year with changes to energy tariffs, food costs, clothing costs workers and their families are set to face the steepest drop in real terms income for 50 years.

“GMB has been told that Royal Parks has not ringfenced pay being uprated for inflation for whichever contractors are awarded the contract. This is entirely unacceptable. 

“GMB London is seriously concerned that the current procurement process of the Royal Parks Board is encouraging a race to the bottom culture regarding the pay of employees with no regard whatsoever to the most severe cost of living crisis. Skilled experienced groundskeepers maintain these beautiful parks for the benefit of all Londoners, but they now face the ugly prospect of being priced out of their own City. GMB London is not likely to allow this to happen.

“It would appear those in control of the Royal Parks Charity who manage these nationally renowned parks on behalf of the Government and the Senior Management team are far removed from the reality of the day-to-day experience of workers who provide grounds maintenance services to maintain quality service to the Royal Parks. 

“GMB invite Loyd Grossman Chairman of the Royal Parks Board and Andrew Scattergood Chief Executive of the Senior Management Team and his colleagues to spend a day working alongside our members, and then look them in the eye and tell them they do not deserve a proper pay rise.

“Unless there is an upgrade for inflation this is a formula for trouble ahead."


Contact: Keith Williams, GMB London Region Senior Organiser 077 1063 1339