Socialist Worker

Underground cleaners to strike for London Living Wage

Issue No. 2107

Around 700 cleaners on the London Underground are set to strike for 24 hours from Thursday of this week to win the London living wage of at least £7.20 an hour, and for better working conditions.

The members of the RMT rail workers’ union, who are employed by the ISS, ITC, ICS and GBM contractors, voted by a ratio of 125 to one for action over the issues.

They will not book on for shifts that commence during 6.50pm on Thursday and 6.49pm on Friday. They have increased the pressure by calling a 48-hour strike from 6.50pm on Tuesday of next week.

The union is also demanding 28 days’ holiday, sick pay, decent pensions, travel facilities and an end to the practice of “third-party sackings”.

This means that cleaners can be dismissed with no disciplinary hearing or right of appeal at the behest of parties other than the employer.

This is seen by many workers as something management can use to victimise union activists.

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said, “This was a massive vote for action by a group of workers who are among the most exploited and abused in London, and their anger is clear for all to see.

“The bosses are making huge profits at our members’ expense and wouldn’t bat an eyelid at spending more on a single meal than many of our members earn in a week.

“Sick pay, adequate holidays and a decent pension scheme are not optional luxuries, they are basic decent employment standards. It is outrageous that the people who keep one of the world’s most prestigious metro systems clean do not already get them.”

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Tue 24 Jun 2008, 18:51 BST
Issue No. 2107
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