Security guards who have been spat at and abused in a jobcentre are demanding to be paid more than minimum wage.

Around 14 people joined the picket line outside Southampton Jobcentre as the row over pay continued.

The guards – employed by G4S – are ‘not asking for the Earth’ but are fed up with waiting for the increase.

But according to G4S, since 2022, the company has made 12 pay offers to the GMB Union, which has only taken two to their members to ballot on.

David Bell has worked as a security guard at the Jobcentre for around four years.

David Bell outside Southampton JobcentreDavid Bell outside Southampton Jobcentre (Image: Newsquest)

He said his team have been waiting for a pay rise for two years, but it is not yet forthcoming.

The 55-year-old said: “I think it is grossly unfair that G4S are only willing to pay us the minimum wage.

“For the hours we put in and the threats made to us, I think our jobs are worth more than minimum wage.

“We have got kids to support and bills to pay the same as anyone else, so sadly going on strike is what it comes down to.

“We don’t want the job centre to close and stop helping vulnerable people, but we want people to realise you can’t be paid minimum wage for this job.

“This is an incentive, so hopefully someone will start listening.”

READ MORE: Teachers to walk out at school for five days of strikes

John Noon, 60, has been a security guard with G4S for seven years.

As John was saying how often he and the team are abused – physically and verbally – a man outside the closed Jobcentre shouted: “You are not helping anyone by doing this.”

John continued: “We have been trying to get a five to six per cent increase, but an eight per cent payment would be nice.

“People have attacked me before and I have had to call the police.

“We just want a decent living wage so we can carry on working.”

GMB union confirmed the dispute is over a G4S below-inflation pay offer, meaning nearly 70 per cent of the security guards are now only paid the minimum wage.

Eamon O’Hearn, GMB National Officer, said: “These security guards work hard in a difficult, demanding and often dangerous job.

“They deserve a proper, living wage for what they do.

“G4S seem unwilling to provide that, so workers are taking matters into their own hands.”

G4S confirmed their latest offer is a back dated 6.5 per cent uplift and further increases on average of 9.3 per cent in December 2023 to reinstate all differentials, including 23 pence above minimum wage.

A spokesperson said: "Our dedicated security colleagues do a great job, sometimes in difficult circumstances.

"We urge the GMB to present our offer to our employees, which is both above minimum wage and inflation. We are keen to bring this dispute to an amicable conclusion.

“Our contingency plans, agreed in partnership with DWP have proved highly effective in maintaining a full service, and we continue to adapt them to ensure the safety of DWP locations, employees and the service users."