1 April 2022
RMT Press Office:
RMT attacks cleaning cost cutting on railways in letter to Transport Secretary.
The railway union condemned the move which puts vital cleaning jobs at risk on Essex Thameside services.
This despite all the evidence that clean trains are essential to restoring public confidence post the height of the Covid pandemic.
Bidvest Noonan which supplies the cleaning services on Trenitalia C2C train services has said that they are reducing the cleaning contract by 500 hours a week.
Cleaners are already living hand to mouth and this cut will only make things worse, particularly in the context of the cost of living crisis.
In the letter, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch writes: "Just this week, Transport Focus published their latest research, compiled on the basis of speaking to thousands of passengers each year through large-scale ‘tracker’ surveys and smaller bespoke insight reports. This report was unequivocal in reporting its view that ‘cleaning will remain even more important than it was during the pandemic’ and in its recommendations that ‘it will be important for the railway to maintain the improved levels of cleaning and to use all available channels to communicate their efforts to both passengers and non-users to build confidence."
"In the very same week, I have had it reported to me that Trenitalia c2c have been instructed by your Department to cut their cleaning costs, creating a threat of job cuts among cleaners employed by Bidvest Noonan on Essex Thameside services.
"Firstly, can you confirm to me whether this is a Departmental position regarding cleaning regimes more generally? Is it the Department’s position now that cleaning should be scaled back on the railways? If so, this is in defiance of all evidence regarding what passengers want from railways travel and poses an extremely serious threat to attempts to rebuild passenger confidence.
Finally, he adds: "Secondly, will you reverse the Department’s position in regard to c2c’s cleaning contract? Far from cutting cleaning costs on any contract, we should be properly funding them to create better cleaning jobs on what is now widely recognised to be an essential service. Heroic cleaners who put their lives on the line throughout the pandemic deserve better than to be threatened with job cuts and passengers on c2c services should know what is being done on their trains and stations. I look forward to your reply at the earliest opportunity."