First Great Western Mitie cleaners stand firm on the picket line at Paddington Members of rail union RMT working for sub-contractors Mitie on First Great Western at Paddington and Old Oak Common picketed at Paddington Station in London a today on the l …

First Great Western Mitie cleaners stand firm on the picket line at Paddington

First Great Western Mitie cleaners stand firm on the picket line at Paddington

Members of rail union RMT working for sub-contractors Mitie on First Great Western at Paddington and Old Oak Common picketed at Paddington Station in London a today on the last day of a solid three day strike in their fight for the London Living Wage and workplace justice.

The strike is a result of a derisory pay offer from a company that can well afford to pay its workers properly.

As well as a below inflation offer they also rejected the union’s claim for sick pay and travel facilities in line with First Great Western rates, shift and weekend rates, overtime and bank holiday rates and an end to zero hours contracts.

The wealth of both Mitie and First Great Western has been achieved only by the hard work and dedication its workers.

The workers are taking this stand to put an end to the company’s shocking attitude towards its employees and to help  stamp out poverty pay across the board. We hope you can support the fight.

Show your support

Please show your support for the strike by taking a leaflet from the picket line on to the train and leaving it on the table. This will help get the message home to FGW that they are profiting from poverty pay and conditions. First’s decision in March to bail out three years early from the Great Western franchise saved them £830 million in payments to the Government – nearly 75% of all premium payments under the terms of the contract. After this, First agreed a 23 month extension to September 2015 with the Government so now First both has the contract and a massive bonus. They can afford to pay a living wage to their staff!

How you can help

You can support us by letting Mitie and FGW company bosses know how you feel about the treatment of their workers.

 Background

Mitie is a wealthy company that can easily afford to lift its staff out of poverty pay and the appalling working conditions that they are being told to put up with. The most recent company accounts show that Mitie Group PLC for the year 2012-13 made pre-tax profits of £58.8m, paid out dividends to shareholders of £20.6m (a 11.9% increase) with the highest paid director pocketing £1.374m (a 7.4% increase).

Despite the boardroom being awash with cash, and top bosses and shareholders enjoying soaring pay and dividends, the staff who make those profits are expected to endure a regime of poverty pay without proper sick pay and other decent working conditions like properly applied enhancements for overtime, weekend, bank holiday and shift working. The London Living Wage is the very least that they can match to recognise the contribution and hard work of the FGW cleaners.

Meanwhile, First Group, who have secured a two year extension on the Great Western franchise worth tens of millions in taxpayer-supported profits, have attempted to wash their hands of the cleaners that their approved contractors, Mitie, expect to work in appalling conditions for a pittance. RMT will continue to expose the activities of both First and Mitie who have joint responsibility for the blatant exploitation taking place on the prestigious and lucrative Great Western services.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“RMT Mitie cleaners on the Great Western franchise have again shown with the current solid three-day strike that the issue of poverty pay will not simply go away. Our members are determined to be paid properly and will continue their fight until they are given the London Living Wage.

“With each successful action Mitie RMT members on First Great Western are pulling further support from across the labour movement. The London Living Wage is the very least these staff deserve.

“Mitie are key players in the driving down on wages and working conditions for some of the lowest paid workers in Britain and it is a tribute to our RMT members on FGW that they have had the courage to take them on and expose them, and their supporters in the Government and the rail companies, for just what they are – greedy opportunists making a fast buck out of public contracts at their workers’ expense.

“First Group landed a jackpot rollover with a two year contract extension on Great Western that will make them and their sub-contractors a fortune but while the boardrooms are awash with cash, exploitation at the sharp end on this prestige, inter-city rail contract is rife. Justice says that now is the time for the cleaners out there day and night on Mitie/First Great Western to get their fair share through a Living Wage, decent sick pay and benefits and an end to the evil of zero hours contracts.”


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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