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7 February 2018

DLR cleaners and security staff strike

Following a strike on New Year's Eve, RMT members working on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) in London went on strike on 1 and 2 February to force their employer, the outsourcing privateer ISS, to come back to the negotiating table. The strike involves cleaning and security staff.

The dispute is about the refusal of the management to adhere to agreed procedures and to respond to the union's pay claim.

The mood on the picket line was upbeat and determined. There had been a rock-solid response to the strike call, pickets reported to the Socialist. They also said that ISS had recently taken over the contract and probably hadn't come across unions before and so was taking an arrogant attitude.

The pickets were very interested to hear about the action last year at the London hospital nearby, when a similar situation arose of a new contractor trying to throw its weight around after taking over a contract. The summary abolishing of tea breaks led to a spontaneous walkout of cleaners; the management, Serco in this case, was forced into a humiliating climb down.

The workers were confident though that the bosses would be forced to back down in the face of a united response from the union membership. Anger is growing though over reports that ISS is paying scabs double pay, while withholding money owed to the workforce.

Pete Dickenson