Socialist Worker

Tube cleaners' fight for pay justice continues

Issue No. 2116

The threat of coordinated action on the London Underground between Tube Lines workers and cleaners saw management make a new offer in both disputes.

The mainly migrant workers who clean the tube are in dispute with their four employers – the ISS, ICS, Initial and GBM contractors – and have struck for 72 hours over pay and conditions.

Cleaners on the Metronet lines, which is most of the network, will get the London living wage of £7.45 an hour from September this year.

Cleaners at Tube Lines were offered an extra 60p from September, then the rest in April next year to take them up to the London living wage.

The RMT union called off a 48-hour strike set for Thursday of last week on the basis of this offer. But since this and the Tube Lines' strike were called off, management have been attempting to row back on this offer, and have also stepped up their attacks on the cleaners.

Clara Osagiede, the secretary of the RMT cleaners' grade, told Socialist Worker, 'The companies' attempt to delay the implementation of the London living wage is not acceptable.

'They have also launched a new onslaught on the cleaners. A number of workers have been suspended as there are allegations that their national insurance details are wrong.

'The companies are saying that everyone has to bring their documents to work, including their national insurance details, to prove they have the right to work in Britain

'They are determined to quell the uprising of the cleaners. They have been happy for us to work for them for years and to pay us the bare minimum. Now that we have struck they are demanding all these details. This dispute is not over and the union is continuing to fight.'

Phillip Mambuliya, the chair of the RMT cleaners' grade, told Socialist Worker, 'One of the most important issues we are discussing is the suspensions and how to do something about that.'

The union now faces more talks with the employers on Friday of next week to discuss all these issues. Trade unionists and campaigners need to continue to support the cleaners' fight for justice.

Protesters rallied outside GBM's offices in London on Thursday of last week following Socialist Worker's exclusive revelation of the deportation of two cleaners, and the arrest of another, in an operation on 3 July.

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