Heroic West Coast train cleaners announce two 48 hour strikes in fight for pay justice

Heroic West Coast train cleaners announce two 48 hour strikes in fight for pay justice

11 February 2022

RMT Press Office

RAIL UNION RMT announced today that heroic train cleaners working to keep Avanti West Coast trains clean and safe for passengers will be taking further strike action in pursuit of fair pay.

The cleaners, who have worked throughout the pandemic to keep essential transport services running, are employed by Atalian Servest Limited, a multi-national outsourcing company based in France. The outsourced cleaners are paid £9.68 per hour, less than the Real Living Wage and have no company sick pay, meaning that they frequently come into work when sick because they cannot make ends meet.


Atalian Servest have refused to make an offer that would raise pay above the Real Living Wage rate of £9.90, with their latest offer amounting to an insulting additional 6p per hour for most staff (especially those outside London).


The union has called the following two 48 hour strikes:


Members are instructed NOT to book on for any shifts between:  


  • 19:30 hours on Thursday 24th February 2022 to 19:29 hours on Saturday 26th February 2022


  • 19:30 hours on Thursday 10th March 2022 to 19:29 hours on Saturday 12th March 2022


According to RMT research, last year Atalian Servest Ltd’s holding company paid a dividend to its French parent company of £10.8 million, a sum that would pay for more than 300 cleaners to get a pay rise to £11 an hour 12 times over and £15 an hour three times over.


RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said,


“Our cleaner members on Avanti West Coast trains have been left with no choice but to take further strike action. Previous strike action in January was solidly supported across both days.


“We have now called two 48 hour strikes to remind privateer Atalian Servest that this issue is not going away and their latest paltry offer was an insult to our members.


“The people who clean our railways are heroes who risk their lives and health every day to keep our essential services running but the way Atalian Servest is treating its workers on West Coast trains is an utter disgrace.


“While the dividends are siphoned off abroad, cleaners are expected to put up with poverty wages and live in fear of destitution if they get sick. It’s shameful that we’re driven to strike action to win such basic justice.


“Atalian Servest need to make these heroes a better offer and Avanti need to take responsibility because they are complicit in this gross exploitation.”




 Notes for Editors

  • Atalian Servest employ more than 300 cleaners on Avanti West Coast services. Last year, the company paid a £10.8 million dividend to its French parent company via a subsidiary based in Luxembourg, a low tax regime. The analysis below shows that if Atalian Servest repaid the dividend it sent to its French parent company it would pay for all the cleaners to get a pay rise to £11 per hour 12 times over. The salary bill is calculated on the basis of a 35-hour week and 52 week year. In reality this is likely to overestimate the costs.




Annual salary bill


Approx. Workforce on

Avanti West Coast contract

£9.60 per hour

£11 per hour

£12 per hour

£15 per hour

Atalian Servest

c. 330





Funding required





Dividend paid by Atalian Servest Holdings Ltd

to overseas parent company, 2020












  • As RMT has revealed in a recent report, outsourcing companies get their profits from cutting cleaning costs to the bone, holding down pay and working conditions and cutting staffing numbers, which leads to exploitation of cleaning staff impacts on the quality of the service they can provide. Download RMT’s report here: https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/cleaning-up-the-railways/

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Tagged with: Avanti West Coast, Atalian Servest, Cleaners