North East Transport Cleaners “rock Solid” In Strike Against Poverty Pay As RMT Steps Up Pressure On Labour-controlled Transport Authority

TRANSPORT UNION RMT said this morning that support from cleaners for a 48 hour strike against poverty pay and the victimisation of a colleague on the Tyne and Wear Metro, which started last night, is rock solid with pickets and protesters out in force at key points.

RMT reported fantastic support from the public as union members leafleted stations and key central locations this morning explaining the background to the dispute – 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 that Churchill’s has in fact 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.

Tomorrow, RMT members and supporters will be lobbying a “Community Roadshow” organized by Labour-controlled transport authority NEXUS at 11am at Haymarket in Newcastle where the union will demand that the Labour Party stand with the cleaners and demand pay justice from their contractors.

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.”