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Railway cleaners launch first national strike over pay and conditions


R

ailway cleaners have launched their first national strike in disputes over issues including pay.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) employed by a number of private contractors cleaning trains for several rail operators are involved in the industrial action on Saturday.

Across the railway network, more than 1,000 contracted-out cleaners went on strike in the first national action of its kind.

Cleaners on the Docklands Light Railway in London also went on strike in a separate row over pay, rosters and conditions.

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The railway cleaners are campaigning for a wage of £15 an hour, sick pay, better holidays and pensions.

The union said rail companies that use contracted-out cleaning providers such as Avanti West Coast, GWR, LNER and TransPennine Express were affected by the industrial action.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This is the first time cleaners have been taken out on strike across the rail network.

“It is a testament to our members’ fearlessness and determination to see justice done on pay and working conditions.

“These multimillion-pound companies who super exploit workers who were rightly hailed as heroes during the pandemic should be removed from operating in Britain if they do not come to a negotiated settlement on our members’ modest demands.

“It is a national disgrace that many languish on the minimum wage, with no company sick or holiday pay, while doing such an important job of keeping our stations and trains clean.

“These cleaners’ strikes are just the beginning of our industrial campaign for the most exploited workers on our railways.”

Planned strikes earlier this month were suspended but there has been no breakthrough in the dispute.

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