Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/15622
Train cleaners striking for decent pay and conditions
RMT cleaners from across four railway networks have been taking strike action against unscrupulous employers.
At Newcastle Central station a lively picket line handed out leaflets calling on transport users to support cleaners fighting for decent pay and conditions.
Steve Hedley, RMT Assistant General Secretary, told the Socialist: "These workers are on appalling wages of just £6.19 an hour, which isn't a living wage. They have no free travel, no pension scheme, no sick pay.
"Today's action is to highlight to the public what is going on with Churchill and ISS. These are companies that are making massive profits, and we are in a position where many of our members are having to claim benefits even though they're full time workers.
"Which means it is taxpayers who are picking up the bill for bad employers. These services should be brought back in-house and workers given decent terms and conditions and a career structure they can progress along".
One of the strikers from Churchill told us: "Our bosses have sent out a letter to all of us trying to undermine the strike and the union.
"In the letter they say they are concerned that any strike in the run-up to Christmas will cause financial hardship.
"To offset this they'll give 'time and a half' to anyone who comes in and breaks the strike".
The striker went on to say: "This is from a company who even manage to wriggle out of paying the minimum wage.
"They have found a loophole that if any increase to the minimum wage is set through the middle of a pay cycle, they don't increase it until the following month - but don't backdate the increase".
The coordinated strike action has given confidence to workers from both ISS and Churchill, giving them the opportunity to share work experiences, which underline the necessity of fighting profiteering bullies.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 2 November 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.