15 December 2016
RMT Press Office:
RMT cleaners will take strike action tomorrow over serious bullying, claims of discrimination and poverty working conditions on the Great Western Railway (GWR) train cleaning contract operated by Servest UK.
A delegation of cleaners and their supporters will also travel to GWR’s Swindon head office to deliver a petition.
GWR is hiding behind its sub-contractor to avoid proper responsibilities to the workers who clean their trains.
The dispute involves cleaners working on GWR and is over a number of issues including: pay; parity with GWR Staff; annual leave; provision of safety clothing and an agreement for a permanent workforce and an end to the use of agency workers. The union is calling for current agency workers to be made members of GWR staff to end the current situation of a two tier workforce.
Despite RMT's reasonable requests for talks to discuss ways to resolve our members' very serious complaints, GWR refuses to commit to meaningful talks on making adjustments to their contract with Servest UK. GWR have flatly ignored RMT's approaches.
The strike follows a ballot result where 98% voted for strike action, and will be followed by further strike action on Friday 23rd December 2016 and Saturday 24th December 2016.
The issues have come to a head as a result of the failure of members terms and conditions to be safeguarded when they were transferred over to Servest UK from Mitie on the GWR contract.
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:
“RMT’s cleaner members on GWR will not stand by while they are mercilessly exploited by privateers, while rail companies fill their coffers as fares soar through the roof. That is why they are taking strike action tomorrow.
“A delegation of RMT cleaners and their supporters will also travel to GWR's head offices in Swindon tomorrow to hand deliver a petition and make their feelings clear to GWR directors.
“GWR and Servest UK can bring an immediate resolution to this dispute by immediately addressing the issues over pay and other grievances and starting the process of bringing these workers back in house so that they are on the same terms and conditions as the rest of the staff.
“The union remains available for talks.”