by Tim Lezard Cleaners employed by Interserve at Waterloo Station are today back on strike in a dispute over racism after a manager was overheard telling a member of staff the company should not employ black people. The RMT says bosses have refused to …

Tim Lezard UK, Rail, Transport (ITF), RMT, Racism

RMT Waterloo cleaners' strikeby Tim Lezard

Cleaners employed by Interserve at Waterloo Station are today back on strike in a dispute over racism after a manager was overheard telling a member of staff the company should not employ black people.

The RMT says bosses have refused to address the allegation through agree procedures. The union also says Interserve has underpaid wages, as well as victimising, bullying and harassing staff.

Following two walk-outs last month, the cleaners are taking action from 3pm today, with a picket line and protest throughout evening rush hour at Waterloo Station Exit 5 – opposite the old Eurostar terminal.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT and the entire trade union movement salutes the rock solid strike action of the Interserve workers last month and their determination to secure workplace justice.

“Due to the intransigence of the company we now have no option but to declare a third wave of action. As travellers are heading home today full of festive bonhomie they should stop and talk to the station cleaners about their shocking working conditions.

“The appalling treatment of cleaners at the busy and iconic Waterloo Station is nothing short of a disgrace and has led to a complete breakdown in industrial relations which left RMT with no option other than to ballot for strike action. This union has rarely come across a more vindictive and aggressive approach to low-paid staff, doing some of the most under-valued work on our railways, and the situation at Waterloo shames London.

“The overwhelming vote for action shows clearly that this determined and organised group of staff are not going to put up with the outrageous culture of racism, bullying and harassment and they deserve the full support of the entire labour and trade union movement..

“These staff are doing dirty jobs in often appalling conditions and the very least that they can expect is to be treated with dignity and respect. Not only are our members being denied the most basic levels of fair treatment and workplace rights but they are being subjected to a daily regime of bullying, victimisation and harassment which includes disgraceful incidents of racist abuse.

“Interserve, and Waterloo Station itself, cannot sweep this situation under the carpet. RMT is demanding workplace justice for the cleaners at Waterloo and the union remains available for talks aimed at securing that.”

The RMT understands Interserve has resorted to using agency workers from around London in an effort to provide a skeleton service and undermine the strikes, raising grave concerns about the possible impact on health and safety during the strike action. The union has informed Interserve that if they continue to use agency labour during legitimate strike action then they will be breaking the law.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
Author avatar

Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

Read All Articles

Related Articles

Thu Jun 2014 /

Doncaster challenges UKIP and the rise of the Right

‘DONCASTER 4 ALL’ – POSITIVELY CHALLENGING UKIPs SEPTEMBER CONFERENCE! A number of local people have come together to organise a multicultural festival in Doncaster. The event is to take place on Saturday 27 September at Doncaster Town Fields and will coincide with the UKIP conference taking place at Doncaster Racecourse. John Westmoreland, spokesperson of the newly formed […]

Read More
Fri Sep 2014 /

Asylum seekers protest inhuman conditions

Asylum seekers have locked out the management of Kinsale Road Accommadation Centre which is a privatised direct provision centre. Residents are protesting at the poor and unfair conditions that they are being forced to live in. Asylum seekers are denied the right to work and study and forced to live on €19.10 per week.   […]

Read More