School cleaners return to work at 14 week strike

Cleaners went on strike at Kinsley Academy.
Cleaners went on strike at Kinsley Academy.

Cleaners at Kinsley Academy who took almost 14 weeks of strike action against their employer are back at work.

Leslie Leake, Marice Hall and Karen McGee walked out for 68 days in a dispute with C&D Cleaning Services Ltd.

Support: Jeremy Corbyn and Jon Trickett with the cleaners.

Support: Jeremy Corbyn and Jon Trickett with the cleaners.

Their stand against alleged pay cuts and reductions in sickness and holiday entitlement sparked a campaign backed by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, comedian Mark Thomas and Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett.

On Friday the cleaners, who were represented by Unison, said on Twitter: “After almost 14 weeks on strike the Kinsley Three returned to work today with their heads held high. Thanks all for your support and solidarity.”

Details of a deal to resolve the dispute have not been made public.

In November, it emerged that Wakefield Council did not tell C&D about an agreement to pay the cleaners the local living wage of £7.85 an hour when it transferred their jobs to the private firm last April.

C&D said steps had been taken to pay the cleaners any monies owed. Talks were held with the arbitration service ACAS two weeks ago.

A spokesman for Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT), which runs the school, said: “While not the direct employers, WCAT is pleased the dispute involving the three cleaners at Kinsley Academy has come to a conclusion.

“WCAT, from the outset, has been working behind the scenes to bring the two sides together and seek a resolution. We hope everybody can now move on as quickly as possible.”