Socialist Worker

Eurostar cleaners: ‘We want to clean up in our pay fight’

How many people know that the plush Eurostar trains and stations are cleaned by people who get paid just over £6 an hour?

Issue No. 2114

How many people know that the plush Eurostar trains and stations are cleaned by people who get paid just £6.37 an hour? And that rate stays the same however long you stay in the job, and whether you work nights or days.

This poverty pay is one of the major issues in our current strike ballot. The result is due out this week, and we are expecting a strong vote for action.

We work for OCS – One Complete Solution – which is the contractor to Eurostar. OCS is a major multinational with a turnover of £674 million and 60,000 employees.

We have to work bank holidays for no extra pay. And if you say you want to take these days as holidays you are normally told that you can’t.

There is a very harsh atmosphere at work. If you are injured and go home you are not paid for that time.

A colleague had a needle in his hand recently when he was cleaning, but he did not leave work for fear of losing money.

If some of the workers don’t turn up for a shift then we are told that the rest of us must cover, and if we don’t like it we can get out.

The workforce is around 100 and nearly everyone is in the RMT union. We are fighting for justice – £7.45 an hour, 28 days holiday, sick pay, pensions and other normal rights.

The workforce is mostly African. There are big issues about the way we are treated.

I earn £205 a week after tax for 40 hours. Nobody can live on that, especially in London. We all have to share rooms.

It is very pleasing that tube cleaners and other tube workers might be striking at the same time as us. We need to be together.

lEmail messages of protest to and the chief executive at Also email Eurostar at

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Article information

Tue 12 Aug 2008, 19:15 BST
Issue No. 2114
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