TRANSPORT UNION RMT confirmed today that following a 100% vote in favour, strike action in a dispute over pay and workplace justice by Churchill’s cleaners on the Tyne and Wear Metro will go ahead from Sunday night.
All members are to take 48 hrs of strike action by not booking on for any turn of duty commencing between the hours of 22:30 hrs on Sunday 10th June 2012 and 22:29 hrs on Tuesday 12th June 2012.
All members are to take action short of strike by not working any form of overtime or additional hours between the hours of 22:30 hrs on Sunday 10th June 2012 and 22:29 hrs on Tuesday 12th June 2012.
The action is over an attempt by the highly-profitable Churchill’s company to impose a zero per cent pay award on a workforce already on the bare minimum wage, and over the victimisation and sacking of a colleague.
Despite extensive talks and pressure from the union, Churchill’s, following discussions with their client DB Regio, have decided to offer no increase in basic pay whatsoever even though the company 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:
“In the face of the insulting zero pay offer from the company we have had no option but to strike in the battle to eliminate poverty pay and to improve our members’ standard of living. Our members voted 100% to strike in a magnificent show of unity and determination to end this exploitation by a company whose Boardroom is awash with cash and whose top bosses are raking it in at our members’ expense.
“It is a scandal that the regional passenger organisation NEXUS, and the operating company DB Regio, have not lifted a finger to stop this exploitation and poverty pay scandal on their own doorstep and RMT has no intention of letting them off the hook.
“This fight is about securing pay justice for the cleaners on Tyne and Wear Metro: it’s as simple as that.
“RMT remains available for talks and we are geared up to make the battle to stamp out poverty pay in the North East, a cornerstone of our national campaign for pay justice for cleaners.”
There will a protest and public leafleting in support of the Churchill’s cleaners at 8am at Haymarket Metro Station on Monday 11th June – 1B Haymarket, Newcastle upon tyne NE1 7PF