Tube cleaners’ union RMT has demanded an end to “appalling intimidation“ of members involved in a 48-hour strike for a living wage on, one on July 1st-3rd. Tube cleaners also engaged in a 24-hour strike on June 25th-26th.
The union is gathering evidence that cleaners have been bullied, harassed and threatened with the sack and with illegal punitive deductions from their wages if they take strike action.
“Reports coming in from picket lines over the last 36 hours indicate that the employers are so desperate that they are resorting to gangster-style intimidation and using the worst sort of fear tactics to stop more people joining the strike, “ RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.
“That is testimony to the effectiveness of our 700 members’ solid action and the fact that RMT membership has grown since the strike began, but it also underlines the scale of the problems our members have to endure down there.
“Managers have been threatening people with the sack if they join the strike and telling them that they will have sums deducted from their wages that are way above what they could have earned during the strike.
“Others are being told blatant lies, such as they are not allowed to join the union after the strike ballot.
“At Stratford seasoned reps are telling us that they are appalled at the level of intimidation they have seen and at the squalid conditions ISS cleaners there have to endure, with men and women having to change for work together in a tiny store-room with no privacy.
“This is also where workers have to race each other to work in the morning because managers allow the number they require to book on and send the rest home without pay.
“That is disgusting wherever it happens, but on one of the world’s most prestigious metro systems it is inexcusable, and we hope Londoners will join us in demanding an end to the disgraceful exploitation that is taking place in their name, “ Bob Crow said.
The 48-hour strike by 700 tube cleaners working for cleaning subcontractors ISS, ITS, ICS and GBM on London Underground began at 18:50 on Tuesday evening and ended at 19:00 on Thursday evening. The cleaners' demands are a wage increase - to bring their wages up to the London Living Wage of £7.20 rather than the £5.50 many find themselves on now - as well as 28 days holiday, sick pay, decent pensions and travel facilities, and an end to the barbaric practice of ‘third-party sackings’ in which cleaners can be dismissed, with no disciplinary hearing or right of appeal, at the behest parties other than the employer - a device used to get rid of union activists.