Cleaners begin second day’s action on Tyne and Wear over poverty pay and victimisation


RMT members and supporters are today lobbying the Labour Party to demand it supports cleaners taking their second day’s strike action on the Tyne and Wear Metro.

The union says yesterday’s action, against poverty pay and the victimisation of a colleague, was “rock solid”, and they are today lobbying a “Community Roadshow” organised by Labour-controlled transport authority NEXUS at 11am at Haymarket in Newcastle.

The dispute was sparked by an attempt by contractor Churchill’s to demand de-facto pay cuts through a zero % pay offer to staff already on minimum wages while the company rakes in millions in profits.

RMT research shows Churchill’s has doubled its profits in the past five years and has extracted nearly £7 million from the exploitation of essential cleaning staff on the most basic pay and conditions including no sick pay, no pensions and none of the travel concessions rights enjoyed by other NEXUS workers.

While the company is trying to enshrine poverty pay amongst the staff who deliver vast returns for the shareholders, its own highest paid director has had a salary increase of more than 18% in the last 5 years to nearly £160,000 making a nonsense of their claims that they can’t afford a decent offer to the front-line cleaning staff.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “We have heard reports this morning that Churchill’s are offering bribes of double money to anyone prepared to scab on this strike showing that the company are awash with cash.

“It is a disgrace that this company are being allowed to get away with a poverty-pay attack on this group of key workers while the Labour-controlled transport authority sits back and does nothing.

“This exploitation has to stop and RMT intends to drag the Labour Party into the spotlight – they’ve got the power to call a halt to this scandal and it’s about time they used it.”

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