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Jeremy Corbyn condemns sacking of school cleaners in outsourcing …

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has condemned the sacking days before Christmas of three school cleaners who went on strike for three months after their pay was cut.

Lesley Leake, Marice Hall and Karen McGee went on strike in September after the school where they worked – Kinsley Primary School, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire – became an academy and the cleaning was outsourced to a private firm.

The dispute – which saw the women and their supporters picketing the school and the Barnsley-based cleaning contractor, CD Cleaning – continued until they returned to work in December.

But, according to reports, the women have now been sacked following a disciplinary hearing.

Mr Corbyn said: “I am angered that three striking primary school cleaners from Kinsley have been sacked. When I met them, they explained how their wages were cut following the outsourcing of their contracts to a private company.

“Outsourcing is bad for our public services and workers. The cleaners’ jobs must be brought back in-house with fair pay and conditions.

“The race to the bottom in wages and working conditions faced by huge numbers of workers right across Britain is a national disgrace and Labour would put a stop to it.”

CD Cleaning has been contacted by the Press Association but the company has not yet commented on the recent developments.

In October, it issued a statement saying that it paid the workers £7.20 an hour on taking over the contract. The firm said there had been a protracted disagreement with the women and their union over how much they had been paid before the takeover, and it was finally given evidence by the council of a local living wage agreement which gave the cleaners an hourly rate of £7.85.

CD said in its October statement: “CD have always maintained that they would be willing to pay the correct rate of pay upon production of evidence. Had CD been provided with that information when first requested, it is unlikely that there would have been any dispute over the cleaners’ hourly rate of pay.”

The firm agreed to pay the women but the dispute continued for another month over other employment issues, including union recognition.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “These women bravely took action to protect their wages and employment rights. To then sack them just days before Christmas is heartless in the extreme. We’ll continue to support Karen, Marice and Lesley and will be consulting with lawyers over this decision to dismiss them.”

In a statement made to The Guardian, CD Cleaning said: “The employees were invited to a disciplinary hearing on an earlier date in December to respond to allegations of gross misconduct. At the employees’ request, the hearing took place on 19 December 2016 as their chosen Unison representative was not available on the earlier date.

“Full details of the allegations were provided to the employees in advance of the hearing. The employees and their representative were given full opportunity to put their cases.

“The outcome of the hearing was termination of employment. The individuals have been informed of their right of appeal. The company will not comment further at this stage so as not to prejudice any internal process.”

Article source: http://home.bt.com/news/uk-news/jeremy-corbyn-condemns-sacking-of-school-cleaners-in-outsourcing-pay-row-11364123910166

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