The Tyne and Wear Metro cleaners’ struggle for living wages, sick pay, and travel pass equality is now one of the longest-running disputes in the British labour movement.
They began a two-week strike on 9 July, and have so far struck for 19 (not all consecutive) days in their dispute.
Casualisation and outsourcing effects cleaners particularly badly, as it gives the bosses several layers to hide behind. The cleaners are employed by Churchill, who can pass the buck up to DB Regio, who run the Metro on a contract from its owners Nexus (who are still formally accountable to the local authority).
The exploitation that always accompanies outsourcing of this kind shows why we need publicly-owned, integrated transport systems where workers have the same employer.
London Underground cleaners employed by ISS are balloting for action short of strikes to oppose the introduction of biometric fingerprinting machines.
ISS wants workers to sign on using the machines. ISS has a history of using workers’ precarious immigration status to intimidate them out of taking action, and has used deportation raids against union activists during industrial disputes.
The workers will ballot for a boycott of the fingerprinting machines.