Heroic West Coast train cleaners strike for pay justice

Heroic West Coast train cleaners strike for pay justice

19 January 2022

RMT Press Office:

Atalian Servest cleaners strike action tomorrow in pursuit of fair pay.

Heroic train cleaners working to keep Avanti West Coast trains clean and safe for passengers will begin strike action tomorrow 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. Like many outsourced cleaners, they 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, offering only an extra 2p per hour to cleaners outside London.

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,

“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 keep flowing overseas, 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 but if that’s what it takes, so be it.

“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 to editors: 


  • The walkout will begin at 21:55 hours on Thursday 20th January 2022 and end at 21:54 hours on Saturday 22nd January 2022.
  • 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/

Atalian Servest Leaflet

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