14 November 2014
RMT Press Office
Following a massive vote for action, cleaners employed by Interserve, looking after the busy and internationally famous Waterloo Station in London, are to take strike action from monday over a comprehensive breakdown in industrial relations relating to a whole range of fundamental issues including;
• the unwarranted victimisation and dismissal of RMT members
• ignorance of basic employment rights and failure to follow agreed procedures
• underpayment of wages
• bullying and harassment of staff
RMT has also received reports of shocking racism by local Interserve managers that the company has refused point blank to address through agreed procedures. They include one manager telling a member of staff that in their opinion “[Interserve] should not employ black people”.
As a result of the ballot, which reflects the anger of the staff working on this prestigious contract, RMT’s executive has issued the following instruction to members:
• All Waterloo Interserve members are instructed not to book on for any duties that commence between the hours of 14.59 on Monday 17th November and 14.58 on Tuesday 18th November 2014.
• All Waterloo Interserve members are instructed not to book on for any duties that commence between the hours of 14.59 on Friday 21st November and 14.58 on Saturday 22nd November 2014.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said ;
“The appalling treatment of cleaners at the busy and iconic Waterloo Station is nothing short of a disgrace and has led to a complete breakdown in industrial relations which left RMT with no option other than to ballot for strike action. This union has rarely come across a more vindictive and aggressive approach to low-paid staff, doing some of the most under-valued work on our railways, and the situation at Waterloo shames London.
“The overwhelming vote for action shows clearly that this determined and organised group of staff are not going to put up with the outrageous culture of racism, bullying and harassment and they deserve the full support of the entire labour and trade union movement..
“These staff are doing dirty jobs in often appalling conditions and the very least that they can expect is to be treated with dignity and respect. Not only are our members being denied the most basic levels of fair treatment and workplace rights but they are being subjected to a daily regime of bullying, victimisation and harassment which includes disgraceful incidents of racist abuse.
“Interserve, and Waterloo Station itself, cannot sweep this situation under the carpet. RMT is demanding workplace justice for the cleaners at Waterloo and the union remains available for talks aimed at securing that.”