Tube outsourcing company profiteering whilst slashing jobs

Tube outsourcing company profiteering whilst slashing jobs

23 September 2020

RMT Press Office:

Underground outsourcing company doubles its profits while cutting safety-critical cleaners jobs in midst of COVID crisis.

TUBE UNION RMT today called on the Mayor of London to take back control of the Underground cleaning and put an end to the outdated dogma of outsourcing, after it emerged that the outsourcing company ABM has doubled its profits in the last financial year while cutting the number of cleaners working to keep Londoners safe on the tube.

RMT says it's a scandal that staff in the front line of keeping the tube clean and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic are facing job cuts while their employer is rolling in cash.

ABM’s annual accounts show that the company posted pre-tax profits of £4.5 million for 2019, almost double what it made in 2018 (£2.39 million). Meanwhile, figures released by the Mayor in July reveal that the company has cut the equivalent of 139 full time cleaners jobs since it took over the contract in 2017, leaving the capital under-resourced and under-prepared for the pandemic.

RMT warned in July that the outsourcing contract was not fit for purpose, pointing to clauses in the contract that commit the company to seeking savings every year and it pointed to research in the hospitals sector which demonstrates that outsourcing cleaning is less safe in terms of public health than employing cleaners in-house.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“The Covid-19 crisis has once and for all nailed the lie that cleaning is ‘non-core’ and can be safely outsourced to the profiteers. It’s time we started to treat cleaning and cleaners like the essential service they are. ABM have been driving up profits by cutting cleaners jobs, leaving the Underground less safe as a result. We need a totally new approach to cleaning in public transport and Sadiq Khan needs to show a lead by bringing this contract in house when it expires in 2022.”


Notes for editors:
1.        The cuts to cleaners jobs were revealed in Assembly questions here: 
ABM contract year FTE
17 September 2017 - 31 March 2018
1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019
1 April 2019 - 31 March 2020
1 April 2020 - 31 March 2021* 2,175
2.        RMT warned about the risks associated with the outsourcing contract in July this year:
3.       Contract documents revealed under Freedom of Information show that TfL were due to pay ABM at least £66 million for the contract in 2019.


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Tagged with: Covid-19, Transport for London, TfL, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, ABM, Tube Cleaners