Cleaners on Eurostar trains began a ballot for strike action this week over attacks on their pay, conditions and their RMT union rep.
The mainly migrant workers at St Pancras International have organised the union from the grassroots up. They struck for the London Living Wage in August last year against their previous employer OCS. To their joy, it then lost the cleaning contract at St Pancras.
The cleaners are now employed by the Carlisle Group. But since it took over it has pushed through a number of attacks on the workers. It has failed to offer a pay increase this year and attempted to push back the settlement date into next year.
It has also announced 14 compulsory redundancies and introduced fingerprinting machines, which have replaced clocking-in machines.
Carlisle also suspended Mohammed Yellow, the RMT rep at St Pancras International, over 13 weeks ago. “I still don’t have any charges against me,” he told Socialist Worker. “The company still hasn’t taken any decision on my case.
“Carlisle is against the RMT, which all the workers are members of. It seems that it wanted to remove the union rep while attacking the workforce.
“If I had been at work many things would not have happened.
“We definitely have to strike. All the staff are unhappy.”
Donia Walters told Socialist Worker, “I was made redundant a few weeks ago, along with others. We all wanted to get rid of OCS and now this has happened to us. How can they treat us like this? Since Carlisle came in people have had to do more work.
“There was a shortage of staff before people were made redundant. People are fed up. We won’t let Carlisle get away with this.”
The ballot closes on 8 September.