700 Tube Cleaners Take Strike Action


SOME 700 London Underground cleaners scheduled to strike for a living wage and basic working conditions from 6pm today have received a welcome boost from London MPs supporting their campaign.

An early-day motion, tabled by John McDonnell and already signed by eight others, calls on the employers to negotiate a just settlement, condemns intimidation of union members and urges the Mayor of London to ensure that the London living wage, currently £7.20 per hour, is paid to all Tube cleaners.

After voting to strike by a landslide 125-one margin, RMT cleaners working for ISS, ITS, ICS and GBM will not book on for shifts that commence during the 24 hours between 18:50 tonight and 18:49 tomorrow night, Friday June 27.

A second, 48-hour, strike is also scheduled for all shifts commencing between 18:50 on Tuesday July 1 and 18:49 on Thursday July 3.

The cleaners’ demands also include 28 days’ holiday, sick pay, decent pensions and travel facilities, and an end to the barbaric practice of ‘third-party sackings’ in which cleaners can be dismissed, with no disciplinary hearing or right of appeal, at the behest of parties other than the employer – a device used to get rid of union activists.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said yesterday: ‘The cleaning company bosses are making huge sums at the expense of our members and it is time they were paid a living wage and given the decent basic working conditions that they should be able to take for granted.

‘The 99%-plus vote for action should tell these employers everything they need to know, and they should now get around the table with us to thrash out an honourable settlement.’

Separately, the RMT accused Stagecoach of putting its profits ahead of service and safety.

RMT said: ‘As the rail, bus and tram giant posted a leap in profits to £59.1 million, a 7.6% return, it is also aiming to slash ticket office opening times and up to 140 jobs on South West Trains.’

General secretary Crow said this ‘undermines service and safety for staff and passengers alike and it is unacceptable.’

The RMT launched a Safer Journeys campaign at its conference in Nottingham yesterday to get staff back on stations.

The RMT pointed out that just 10% of the £300 million profits made by the big six rail companies would fund the return of 1,000 staff to stations around Britain’s railways.

It said that the cost-cutting removal of staff from railway stations by profit-hungry privateers is undermining safety for passengers and rail workers and must be reversed.