Atalian Servest West Coast cleaners return to the picket lines

Atalian Servest West Coast cleaners return to the picket lines

8 April 2022

RMT Press Office:

New report exposes the face of exploitation

As Atalian Servest cleaners return to the picket lines this weekend for a 48-hour strike on 9 and 10 April, a new report has exposed the brutal reality of life for cleaners working to clean Avanti West Coast trains.

In a report published today by RMT 91% of Atalian Servest cleaners said they were struggling to make ends meet, with 68% saying they were regularly struggling and a shocking 94% of said they had had to come into work while sick because they couldn’t afford not to.

The long running dispute is over fair pay for twice-outsourced cleaners employed by French multinational Atalian Servest working in French multinational Alstom’s depots, cleaning Avanti West Coast’s trains. The cleaners, who earn just £9.68 an hour want a fair pay rise to meet the cost of living and a proper sick pay scheme so that they don’t have to work when sick. So far, bosses of the three companies have failed to engage properly with this claim in spite of the escalating cost-of-living crisis.

A group of West Coast MPs have now also weighed into the dispute, writing to the Directors of the three companies urging them to make funds available for a fair pay settlement.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said,

“I welcome this intervention from West Coast MPs because the companies involved are effectively trying to starve our members back to work rather than pay them a fair wage.

“These companies are all paying multi-million pound dividends while our members struggle to pay their bills and come into work with Covid.

“The government is effectively running these contracts now and the plight of our rail cleaners is on them as much as the fat cat parasites. The industry needs to sort this out now.”

Notes to editors:

1.            The report, titled ‘Striking Atalian Servest cleaners in their own words’, can be downloaded here

2.            The strike takes place between 00:01 Hours on Saturday 9th April 2022 and 23:59 Hours on Sunday 10th April 2022

3.            The letter from West Coast MPs can be read below:




Daniel Dickson, CEO, Atalian Servest, 

Nicholas Crossfield, Managing Director, Alstom Transport UK

Phil Whittingham, Managing Director, Avanti West Coast, 


5th April 2022


Fair pay for Atalian Servest rail cleaners


We are writing to you to urge you to agree on funding a fair pay offer to cleaners working to keep our trains safe and hygienic on the West Coast franchise. 


We believe that cleaners are essential workers and we agree with the Prime Minister when he said that they do an ‘extraordinary job’. 


We are deeply concerned at the impact of rising inflation on pay rates as low as £9.68 per hour and we are disturbed to learn that these people, who have put their lives on the line during the pandemic, are not given occupational sick pay or travel facilities. It is not right that people who have worked so hard to keep our essential services running should be struggling to make ends meet and living month to month. 


We urge you to agree on funds that can support decent pay offers that resolve the disputes on our region’s railways and we would be glad to meet you to discuss this further. 


Dan Carden MP, Liverpool Walton

Margaret Greenwood MP, Wirral West

Kim Johnson MP, Liverpool Riverside

Charlotte Nichols MP, Warrington North

Cat Smith MP, Lancaster and Fleetwood

Alison Thewliss MP, Glasgow Central

Mick Whitley MP, Birkenhead

Ian Mearns MP (Chair RMT Parliamentary Group)


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Tagged with: Atalian Servest, Cleaners, Avanti West Coast, Strike, Pay, Justice For Cleaners