Pay strike by cleaners comes amid continuing dispute involving Metro train drivers

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Cleaning staff on the Tyne and Wear Metro have begun 48 hours of industrial action in a bitter dispute over what the RMT describes as ‘poverty pay’ and the victimisation of a member of staff.

RMT accuses the employers of attempting to impose a 0% pay award on a workforce already on the minimum wage.

Last week, Metro drivers took strike action in a separate dispute over a sub-inflation pay offer.

The RMT says the cleaners’ employer, Churchill’s, has been in discussion with Metro operator DB Regio over the pay talks.

The union says the company has doubled its profits in the past five years and has extracted nearly £7m from the ‘exploitation of essential cleaning staff’.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “In the face of the insulting zero pay offer from the company we have had no option but to strike in the battle to eliminate poverty pay and to improve our member’s standard of living.

“Our members voted 100% to strike in a magnificent show of unity and determination to end this exploitation by a company whose boardroom is awash with cash and whose top bosses are raking it in at our members’ expense.

“It is a scandal that the regional passenger organisation NEXUS, and the operating company DB Regio, have not lifted a finger to stop this exploitation and poverty pay scandal on their own doorstep and RMT has no intention of letting them off the hook.

“This fight is about securing pay justice for the cleaners on Tyne and Wear Metro. It’s as simple as that.

“RMT remains available for talks and we are geared up to make the battle to stamp out poverty pay in the North East a cornerstone of our national campaign for pay justice for cleaners.”

The RMT says Churchill’s highest-paid director has had a salary increase of more than 18% in the last 5 years to nearly £160,000.

It says the cleaners receive no sick pay, no pensions and none of the travel concessions enjoyed by other NEXUS workers.

NEXUS is the owner of the Tyne and Wear Metro system.


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