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Transport strikes round up: Solid action by cleaners on Avanti West Coast

There has been trade union action this week on rail, London Underground and buses
Issue
Striking cleaners on the Avanti West Coast train line protest in London

Striking cleaners on the Avanti West Coast train line protest in London last week. Picture: Guy Smallman

Train cleaners working on Avanti West Coast trains and employed by Atalian Servest Ltd have held two 48-hour strikes for pay. Despite large and lively picket lines, bosses have refused to make a pay offer that would raise pay above the Real Living Wage rate of £9.90 an hour. The last offer made was a tiny 6p per hour for most staff.

Atalian Servest Ltd is a multinational outsourcing company. The striking cleaners are paid just £9.68 per hour and have no company sick pay. Bosses keep wages low while they pay huge dividends to the firm’s parent company. Last year over £10.8 million was handed over.

Workers must be ready to walk out again. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said, “Not only should these companies cough what our members are owed, they should be stripped of their lucrative rail contracts and all outsourced staff bought back on the railway as direct employees.”

“The fact that some of our members are on minimum wage with no right to company sick pay is a scandal.”


Trains and London Underground

Picket lines continue to assemble at stations and depots in a fight to protect the Night Tube drivers’ grade. Drivers in the RMT union on the Central and Victoria lines have been striking every Friday and Saturday night causing massive delays to the services.

After several weeks and separate action across the whole Underground network workers must start building for a reballot and not pause the action.

Meanwhile, train conductors continue to strike every Sunday across Transpennine services whilst refusing to digitally scan passengers’ tickets. The workers in the RMT union are battling against attacks on pay and enhancements. There are many more Sunday strikes planned but workers should consider escalating to beat back the bosses.


All bets are off during the Cheltenham bus strike

The threat of strikes disrupting the Cheltenham horse racing festival has won Stagecoach West bus drivers a 12 percent pay rise. The 380 drivers accepted the pay deal for 2021 and 2022. Bosses were forced to give the offer as the Cheltenham shuttle bus service is a huge contract they didn’t want to miss out on.

The dispute was the first time ever that the drivers, who are based at the Bristol, Cheltenham, Coalway, Gloucester, Stroud, and Swindon depots, had ever voted for strike action.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “This is a great win for our members who, by standing together collectively, have ensured that Stagecoach made a vastly improved pay offer.”

Meanwhile, around 1,000 bus drivers employed by Arriva in London are set to strike for 24 hours on Monday with a further 48-hour strike planned for 28 March. Workers are determined to walk out as the firm refuses to make an acceptable pay offer. The current offer which has been rejected is just 1.5 percent, way below the 7.8 percent inflation mark.

Depots in Brixton, Croydon, Norwood and Thornton Heath, that operate routes across south and central London will be affected.

The Unite union says that if there is no breakthrough then further industrial action will be announced. There must be no deal less than inflation. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Arriva’s pay offer is pathetic and it is an insult to bus drivers who continued to work throughout the pandemic risking their health to ensure London could continue to function.”

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