Cleaners' historic strike

Submitted by Matthew on 28 November, 2012 - 9:00

Rail cleaners across several lines and contracts will take unprecedented strike action on Thursday 29 November, Friday 30 November, and Saturday 1 December.

The strike, organised by the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT) is the widest coordination of cleaners’ disputes in recent labour movement history.

Cleaners employed by ISS on London Midland, London Underground, and East Coast trains, Carlisle cleaners on First TransPennine Express and the Docklands Light Railway, Initial cleaners on London Underground, and Churchill cleaners on the Tyne and Wear Metro are all striking, demanding living wages, and pensions, sick pay, and travel pass equality with their directly-employed colleagues. Carlisle DLR cleaners will strike on Thursday 29 and Friday 30, with cleaners on other lines striking on Friday and Saturday. Rallies will be held in all major towns affected by the strike, with a London rally taking place at 7pm on Thursday 29 November in Conway Hall.

A London-based solidarity committee is planned to help mobilise for rallies and picket lines, and cleaners in other sectors – such as the Tower of London and Barbican cleaners, organised by the Industrial Workers of Great Britain, and the University of London cleaners, whose “3 Cosas” (“3 Causes”) campaign recently won the backing of their Unison branch after a hard struggle – are discussing coordination with the RMT.

As Solidarity went to press, the “3 Cosas” cleaners were due to demonstrate at the University of London’s flagship Senate House building on Wednesday 28 November, to coincide with the University’s prestigious “Foundation Day” (due to be attended by Princess Anne), and cleaners at the headquarters of the British Medical Association, who are fighting for living wages through their union, the Industrial Workers of the World, were also planning a Wednesday demonstration as part of their ongoing campaign.

Broadcast union BECTU, which organises at the BBC, has also launched a campaign for justice for BBC cleaners.

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