Eurostar cleaners fight for living wage

Submitted by Matthew on 15 February, 2012 - 12:44

Eurostar cleaners at the company’s flagship St. Pancras terminal will strike for two days on Thursday 16 February.

The workers, who are employed by cleaning contractor Initial, have not received a pay rise for four years. Their bosses’ most recent offer, an increase of just 13p, has been described by their union, RMT, as “insulting”.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “It is a shocking indictment of London as a city that the luxurious Eurostar terminal is cleaned by an exploited workforce on poverty wages and that Network Rail have done nothing to stop Initial from treating their staff like dirt.

“Last week another contractor on the Eurostar system, OCS, pulled back from strike action and raised the basic rate to a minimum of £8 an hour and improved conditions such as sick pay.

“Initial staff on the stations deserve similar recognition, not a kick in the teeth and a pathetic £6.76 an hour. RMT is determined to fight for justice for the Initial cleaners and action from Network Rail on this stain on the fabric of St Pancras.

“Pickets and supporters of this brave group of workers will be out in force on Thursday morning demanding a living wage.”

The 48-hour strike on 16 February will be followed by a further two-day walkout on 1 March if bosses refuse to meet workers’ demands.

The strike is the latest in a series of significant struggles by cleaning workers in the railway industry. Workers employed by Carlisle Cleaning and Support Services on Virgin West Coast Mainline won a 10% pay increase after a 24-hour strike in October and the threat of a further 48 hours of action in November.

Cleaning workers in Newcastle have also launched a fight to win free travel passes (which all other workers are entitled to) for the Tyne and Wear Metro.

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