17.04.2023 / Press releases /

Tribunal refuses government’s request to intervene alongside Royal Parks in legal appeal against UVW’s race discrimination victory.

  • In November 2021, United Voices of the World union (UVW) won a watershed legal victory against outsourcing at Royal Parks for indirect racial discrimination of their majority Black and brown park attendants and cleaners who were on less pay than in-house workers.
  • The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, SoS, sought to appeal, arguing that UVW’s victory posed “a significant risk that the Employment Tribunal’s judgement will lead to a proliferation of “copycat” claims brought by outsourced workers.”
  • The SoS’ application was refused by the Employment Appeal Tribunal and an appeal hearing will now take place without government intervention on April 18 and 19.

UVW’s landmark legal victory established that the charity’s policy to consciously choose to not pay their outsourced mainly BAME cleaners & attendants the London Living Wage (LLW), when their mainly white in-house employees were entitled to it, amounted to indirect race discrimination. 

The government, who are responsible for the Royal Parks, were so threatened by this watershed victory, which could potentially dismantle the entire outsourcing system, that they decided to intervene in the legal appeal process. However, their application was rejected.

Other groups of UVW outsourced workers, in poorer pay and conditions than directly employed ones, including a group claim by 80 formerly outsourced cleaners at Great Ormond Street Hospital. are currently arguing the same through the courts. 

Petros Elia,UVW’s general secretary, said: 

“The government’s failed political intervention in this case highlights how high the stakes are. They were right to argue that a win here would open the floodgates for other groups of outsourced workers to bring similar claims – which it would and which absolutely should happen if they are being institutionally discriminated against. If we succeed it will effectively ring the death knell of discriminatory outsourcing and UVW is proud to be the pioneer in chipping away at this antiquated and abhorrent Thatcherite practice”. 

For further information contact the UVW comms team.
Cristina: 07548 759340  

Isabel: 07706 987443

Jim: 07749 765264


Notes for editors
United Voices of the World is an anti-racist, member-led, direct action, campaigning trade union and we exist to support and empower the most vulnerable groups of precarious, low-paid and predominantly BAME and migrant workers in the UK. We fight the bosses through direct action on the streets and through the courts and demand that all members receive at least the London Living Wage, full pay, sick pay, dignity, equality and respect.

An Employment Tribunal found that a decision by the Royal Parks not to pay the almost exclusively Black and brown outsourced workers the London Living Wage (LLW) from 2014-2019, amounted to indirect race discrimination. The decision to pay outsourced workers less money than in-house staff disadvantaged the predominantly Black cleaners.

In 2014, the Royal Parks were given the option of requiring that cleaners were paid the LLW, but chose not to, despite the fact that their own staff were paid at least that amount. The workers were directly employed by Vinci Construction (and now Just Ask Services). 

The Tribunal rejected the Royal Parks’ attempt to justify their practices on the basis of affordability, as they had failed to provide any evidence whatsoever that suggested that they could not afford to pay the workers the LLW. The outsourced staff were not paid the LLW until early 2020.

Previous UVW press releases about the Royal Parks and GOSH outsourced workers’’ fight for justice:


29.11.2023 / Press releases /

UVW member cleaners force LSE to backdate their ‘stolen’ holiday pay

22.11.2023 / Press releases

UVW union launches legal action against UK fruit farm over exploitation of seasonal Latin American workers

04.07.2023 / Press releases /

Outsourced cleaners at La Retraite Roman Catholic Girls’ School return to the picket line

22.06.2023 / Press releases /

UVW cleaner members at state school La Retraite to strike in coordination with NEU teachers in early July

07.06.2023 / Press releases


30.05.2023 / Press releases

100+ low-paid, migrant workers to kick off simultaneous three-day strike action aboard open-top double-decker bus in June


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