Socialist Worker

London Underground cleaners walk out as Olympic games begin

Issue No. 2313

RMT picket line at Ealing  (Pic: Raymie Kiernan)

RMT picket line at Ealing (Pic: Raymie Kiernan)

London Underground cleaners in the RMT union are striking today, Friday, to demand a living wage.

The strike started at 5.30am and is set to continue for two days, hitting the Olympics opening ceremony and the first days of the Games.

The cleaners won the London Living Wage after a strike in 2007. But their employers, private contractors ISS and Initial, have not given them the annual increases that were agreed.

“We work very hard,' Venetsiya Reshetarova, RMT cleaners’ rep at the Ealing Common depot, told Socialist Worker on the picket line. “It’s only fair we receive a decent wage for the job we do.

» Clara Osagiede: Why Tube cleaners are striking

“It’s right to strike during the Olympics. If not now then when? If we don't agree to our demands then we must strike again.”

Petrit Mihaj, an RMT health and safety rep, also joined the picket. He said, “This is about multi-million pound companies exploiting the lowest-paid workers on the Underground.

“So while London’s putting on the biggest show on earth, cleaners are being exploited. With the eyes of the world on London we're exposing that reality.”

In Cockfosters, Dean O’Hanlon, an RMT shop steward, praised the cleaners’ fightback. “The cleaners had been left at the bottom of the heap. But for five years now they have been getting organised.”

Thanks to Phil Tsappas, Raymie Kiernan and Charlie Kimber

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Fri 27 Jul 2012, 10:01 BST
Issue No. 2313
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