1 April 2014
RMT members working for Merseyrail contractors’ Lorne Stewart will be taking a third phase of strike action which coincides with the start of the Grand National meeting this week as the company continues to refuse to engage in serious talks aimed at resolving the dispute despite the best efforts of RMT’s negotiators.
Staff have been instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between:-
• 00:01 on Thursday 3rd April 2014 and 23:59 on Friday 4th April 2014.
Lorne Stewart workers carry out the essential station cleaning and maintenance that helps keep Merseyrail moving.
In support of the action, RMT has called two protests to ram the message home – the first at Lorne Stewart Head Office in Harrow on Thursday 3rd April - Stewart House, 420 Kenton Road, Harrow, Middlesex, HA3 9TU - starting at 1200 and a second outside Mersey Rail HQ - Rail House Lord Nelson Street, Liverpool, L1 1JF- from 0730 on Friday 4th April.
After ten months of trying to negotiate, low paid Lorne Stewart workers have stood firm and rejected the profitable company’s derisory below-inflation pay ‘offer’ and are continuing to make a stand for a just pay settlement without strings. No matter how Lorne Stewart have tried to dress the offer up it still represents a cut in the standard of living and the institutionalisation of poverty pay.
Two previous waves of strike action have been rock-solid and have attracted massive public support for the campaign for pay justice for the Merseyrail cleaners. Despite that, Lorne Stewart are determined to make a nonsense of serious attempts by RMT to negotiate a fair settlement and continue to try to impose what amounts to a poisonous cocktail of de-facto pay cuts and institutionalised poverty pay.
RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Despite two rock-solid rounds of strike action which have shown the strength of our members feelings, Lorne Stewart continues to refuse to address the issue of poverty pay on Merseyrail and that is why we are striking again this week .
“The public are well aware that it is the hard graft of these cleaning staff that keeps Merseyrail trains fit for service and which makes Lorne Stewart’s substantial profits. It is a disgrace that these essential rail staff have been offered what amounts to a real terms cut in their standard of living – they are rightly making a stand against that gross injustice.
“The company claim that it can’t afford to pay the cleaning staff a decent living wage is pure nonsense. The latest profit figure is £15 million — that’s £5,000 for every one of its workers in straight profit for the company bosses and their shareholders.
“Lorne Stewart have got the money to pay a decent, living wage with proper annual increases and it’s about time they and Merseyrail delivered a fair deal and pay justice for the workers who generate the profits doing some of the dirtiest jobs on Britain’s transport network.”