First and foremost, I am extremely grateful to all those who work in the facilities across the Government estate. They do crucial work, which I and my colleagues are very thankful for.
In respect of contracts, ultimately this is a matter between the employees and their employer, in this case, the ISS. However, I would stress that it is critical that employers strictly follow existing UK employment law, which guarantees some of the best records on workers’ rights in the world. As I understand it, the Government Property Agency (GPA) awarded some contracts to the ISS following a robust and comprehensive procurement process via the Crown Commercial Services Facilities Management Marketplace framework. The GPA has supported employee representatives, notably the PCS Trade Union, in discussions with the GPA's new suppliers. All suppliers have listened to the concerns expressed and have provided both assurance and solutions to ensure that any affected member of staff is not directly or indirectly affected by the change of their employer.
I know the Government set this out in more detail in answer to a written parliamentary question in October this year, which you can find at https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions.
Given that the ISS is a private company and the existing work that the Government has done, I do not think it is appropriate to interfere in negotiations between them and employees. As such, I do not plan to sign EDM 164.