LU and ABM collude on cleaner job cuts

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Thu, 20/06/2019 - 13:02,

What an absolutely phenomenal piece of spin on the LU intranet, as the company scrambles to defend its collusion in cleaner job cuts.

A bulletin claims LU has “worked with ABM to review the way we deploy cleaners”, and “decided to switch the focus from the number of cleaners that are allocated to each location to the overall quality of the work they’re doing”. As a consequence, “you [i.e., the LU staff reading the bulletin] may have noticed different numbers of cleaners at different times of the day”. In other words: jobs have been cut.

This is misrepresentation bordering on lies. The “switch” from an “input” model for the LU cleaning contract, where the contract specifies how many cleaners will be provided, to an “output” model, where the contract simply specifies the work to be done and leaves the decision about staffing levels to the contractor happened years ago - before ABM even took over the contract. There is no recent contractual or operational reason for ABM to make job cuts, they’re simply trying to save money.

LU has form when it comes to this sort of propaganda and spin about cleaners. When ABM took over the consolidated cleaning contract, an article in LU’s staff magazine On The Move announced that cleaners “will now be paid the London Living Wage”, as if this was a new innovation LU was making out of the goodness of its heart. In fact, Tube cleaners have been paid the London Living Wage since 2008/9, after a campaign of strikes from RMT secured this concession.

LU and ABM are colluding to exploit cleaners, cut jobs, and then distort the reality of this exploitation and cuts in what they communicate to directly-employed staff.

Don’t fall for it. The reason there are fewer cleaners at your station or depot is because ABM, with LU’s approval, have slashed jobs.

We all need to stand together to demand that jobs are reinstated, and that LU properly fulfils its responsibilities to the workers who clean its stations, depots, trains, and facilities by employing them directly.

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