RMT announces strike action on Eurostar

RAIL UNION RMT announced today that cleaners working for the Carlisle Group on their Eurostar contract will strike forty eight hours next week in a long-running dispute on a range on pay, conditions and bullying issues. RMT members voted 100% for action.

The strike will run from 21.59 hours on Thursday 17th September to 21.59 hours on Saturday 19th September.

The issues at the heart of the strike action are:

* A failure by the company to make any offer of a pay increase for 2009 and an underhand attempt to push back the pay settlement date by nine months into 2010.

* The announcement of 14 compulsory redundancies amongst Eurostar cleaners at St Pancras International despite the fact that the service is under-staffed and already struggling to cope.

* Continuing pressure on staff to use "Orwellian" finger printing machines at St Pancras International, which have replaced traditional clocking in machines, with some staff being coerced into using the finger printing machines despite a clear vote by RMT members to boycott their introduction.

* Victimisation of Mohammed Yellow , an RMT representative, who has been suspended for ten weeks on charges that RMT believes to be false. RMT also has a catalogue of other cases of bullying and harassment of staff.

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said today:

"Staff working for Carlisle Group, cleaning the modern and high tech Eurostar trains at St Pancras International, have been subjected to some of the most draconian working conditions in the entire UK transport industry. It's like a cross between the Dark Ages and 1984 and RMT has decided that enough is enough.

"We cannot have a situation where cleaners preparing the high profile, flagship Eurostar fleet of trains are treated by the private cleaning company engaged by Eurostar in this disgraceful way. This is a clear case of first class cleaners being treated like third class citizens.

"We expect this strike announcement to force the company back to the negotiating table and we will be calling for support from Eurostar customers who benefit daily from the hard work of these cleaning staff."

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