25 October 2016
RMT Press Office
RMT MOVES FORWARD WITH BALLOT TO STOP CLEANING JOBS CARVE-UP ON VIRGIN WEST COAST
Rail union RMT has announced it is moving forwards with a ballot of cleaning staff on Virgin West Coast for industrial action following confirmation from cleaning sub-contractors Voith that they intend to press ahead with a mass jobs carve-up that would reduce staffing numbers by 15% and leave those remaining facing an intolerable workload.
In the nightmare, complex world of contractors and sub-contractors on Britain’s privatised railways the cleaning services have been contracted out by Virgin to Alstom as part of a facilities contract and Alstom have then, in turn, subbed out the cleaning to Voith Industrial Services.
It is Voith who are refusing to abandon plans on Virgin West Coast services that would slash 37 whole-time equivalent posts from the staffing establishment – a cut of over 15% in overall staffing numbers.
The cuts hit both on-board cleaners and those who clean and prepare the trains on turn-around at main rail stations.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“It is disgusting that the staff who keep Virgin West Coast trains clean are now themselves being treated like dirt and RMT has made it clear from the off that the union will fight these job cuts. The company have refused to pull back and as a result the union is now pressing ahead with plans for an industrial action ballot.
“It is about time that Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin outfit stopped passing the buck and started taking some responsibility for the exploitation and abuse of support staff that is now rife on his services. Virgin cannot wash its hands of the appalling employment practices, and threats to working lives, that are now rife on its watch.
“RMT will be calling on passengers, who pay top dollar for the Virgin long-haul routes, to support the staff who slog their guts out in difficult, overcrowded conditions to make the journey as comfortable as possible. They should not be lined up for a kicking by private companies whose sole driver is their own profits and the returns to their shareholders.”