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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 December 2012

RMT cleaners: 'Prices are going up - but we get nothing extra'

Elaine Brunskill
RMT train cleaners from Churchill and ISS, who have taken strike action, protesting at Newcastle Central station, photo Elaine Brunskill

RMT train cleaners from Churchill and ISS, who have taken strike action, protesting at Newcastle Central station, photo Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

Train cleaners from Churchill and ISS, rail union RMT members, have taken further co-ordinated strike action against their unscrupulous bosses.

At Newcastle Central station strikers got a good reception. Transport users stopped to say they thought it was a disgrace that big businesses were giving massive bonuses out and evading taxes, while workers, such as the striking cleaners, were on the minimum wage.

One of the Churchill cleaners told the Socialist: "This is our ninth day of strike action. We're co-ordinating the action with workers from cleaning and security companies.

"It will culminate in a lobby of parliament on 11 December, where RMT general secretary Bob Crow and the RMT's parliamentary group convenor, John MacDonnell will be speaking."

The cleaner went on to say a north-east Labour MP had: "suggested we go to ACAS. I said the RMT don't do ACAS."

RMT train cleaners from Churchill and ISS, who have taken strike action, protesting at Newcastle Central station, photo Elaine Brunskill

RMT train cleaners from Churchill and ISS, who have taken strike action, protesting at Newcastle Central station, photo Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

The cleaner told us of Churchill's shenanigans: "They originally offered double time to all staff working bank holidays.

Then they said if we wanted an increase in our basic pay they would give us an extra 5p an hour, but only if we received single time rather than double time for bank holidays. We would lose out by this supposed offer!"

"Then they said this was their final offer - but they always say this until the next offer."

For ISS cleaners this was their fifth day of strike action. One of the ISS strikers commented: "We still have no answers.

"We're on 6.19 an hour, the minimum wage. The only time we get a pay increase is when the minimum wage goes up.

"There's workers on the picket line who've been working here for 8 or 9 years on the minimum wage. Prices are going up - but we get nothing extra."

The ISS cleaner ended by saying: "The company have posted up huge profits. They thanked us and asked us to keep up the good work. This was like a kick in the teeth."

The co-ordinated strike action of ISS and Churchill's has given the cleaners the chance to share their experience of fighting worsening conditions and highlight's the necessity of stepping up action against scrooge bosses.

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In The Socialist 5 December 2012:


 

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