Cleaners in the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT) have struck on six contracts in the widest coordination of cleaners' strike action in recent labour movement history.
ISS cleaners' picket line at King Cross station, London
ISS cleaners on London Underground and East Coast mainline, Churchill cleaners on Tyne & Wear Metro, Initial cleaners on London Underground, and Carlisle cleaners on the Docklands Light Railways and First TransPennine Express have struck to win living wages and equal terms and conditions. ISS cleaners on London Midland had been due to strike, but suspended their action after the employer more than doubled their pay offer.
On many contracts, cleaning companies were reported to be exploiting legal loopholes to allow them to use agency workers to minimise the impact of the strike. On some services, bosses took on two agency workers to cover the work of every one striker, at significant expense to themselves. So desperate are they to make strikes appear ineffective that they are prepared to spend large amounts of money to hire extra staff.
The RMT now plans a lobby of Parliament on 11 December, with more strikes - potentially involving more cleaners from other train companies and services - being discussed for the new year.
For the Workers' Liberty bulletin for the strike, click here.
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