Low paid outsourced rail cleaners take their fight to Government

Low paid outsourced rail cleaners take their fight to Government

7 December 2022

RMT Press Office:

Outsourced cleaners will protest outside the Department for Transport (DfT) at 3pm today, calling on the Secretary of State to end the scandal of poverty pay.

Transport union, RMT is calling on Mark Harper to give a mandate to train operators to end the scandal of outsourcing.

Cleaners working on 10 outsourced contracts around the UK rail network voted to take strike action in pursuit of £15 an hour, company sick pay and decent pensions.

The cleaners are employed by companies such as Churchill, Atalian Servest, Mitie and Bidvest Noonan to clean trains and stations on Govia Thameslink Railways, LNER, Northern, GWR, Avanti West Coast, Transpennine Express, Southeastern, Eurostar and HS1

The cleaners, who will be taking strike action on 22, 23 and 31 December, are calling on the Secretary of State to use his control of the Train Operating contracts to ensure that sub-contractors make pay offers to tackle the endemic low pay that leaves cleaners struggling to make ends meet.

They will hand a letter in to the DfT during their protest.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The treatment of cleaners on our railways is scandalous and yet another part of the generalised attack on working people but it’s one the industry likes to sweep under the carpet.

"Our members are part of a forgotten group of workers who were rightly praised to the rafters during the Covid crisis but now employers and the government expect them to suffer in silence.

"Many outsourced cleaners are reliant on food banks and relying on credit cards to get by because some are paid so poorly.

"They will be making a lot of noise today outside the DfT and we hope Mark Harper will listen."


Notes to editors:
Contracted out cleaners will take national strike action for the first time on 22 23, and 31 December having voted for action on 10 contracts across the country on 26 November.
1 in 10 cleaners reported using food banks, over a quarter have skipped meals (28%), 1 in 3 are relying on credit cards to pay for cost of living and 84% are struggling to make ends meet.
RMT looked at 7 cleaning companies who operate in rail and found that they made bigger profits in 2021 than in 2019, the year before pandemic. On aggregate their profits for the year more than doubled on those from 2019.

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Tagged with: Justice For Cleaners, Train Cleaners, Fight For Fifteen, RMT, Mick Lynch