Northern TUC joins RMT in lobbying Tyne and Wear Metro for free transport

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Cleaners working for Churchill Contract Services on the Tyne and Wear Metro are today lobbying the Integrated Transport Authority at Newcastle Civic Centre to press for the right to free travel on the transport system they keep clean.

Their union, RMT, has the support of the Northern TUC, which last week declared that it was “appalled” to learn that workers paid the minimum wage to clean Metro trains and stations had to pay to travel on the very network they service.

Northern TUC secretary Kevin Rowan said: “It is scandalous that a group of low-paid workers who play a crucial role on Tyne and Wear’s publicly funded Metro system should have to pay to travel to work on it, and the Northern TUC, which represents workers across the region, is 100 per cent behind this campaign.

“We will be applying pressure on Tyne and Wear ITA and Churchill Contract Services until this unfair anomaly is put right.”

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “It wouldn’t cost the transport authority a penny piece to put end this injustice, and it simply isn’t good enough for Tyne and Wear ITA to try to wash its hands of the issue and blame it all on a subcontractor.

“Tyne and Wear ITA has a moral responsibility to ensure that all workers who help keep the Metro running are treated fairly, and it is ludicrous that the lowest-paid staff are expected to pay to gain access to their own workplace.

“Churchill has no excuse either, and for a company that increased its pre-tax profit by 81 per cent between 2009 and 2010 to expect its minimum-wage employees to pay these fares is simply immoral.”


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