Tyne and Wear Metro cleaners struck for 72 hours on 23 December, and London Underground cleaners struck on 31 December and 1 January, as part of ongoing battles for living wages and equality with directly-employed colleagues.
Tyne and Wear Metro workers set up a soup kitchen in Newcastle city centre to highlight the poverty conditions into which low pay is forcing them.
The Industrial Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) won a victory on 28 December, when cleaning contractor CCM agreed to pay the London Living Wage to workers cleaning the Exchange Tower near Canary Wharf. IWGB is also continuing campaigns involving cleaning workers at the Schroders hedge fund, where workers are employed by contractor Peartree, and Barclays bank. It also faces a battle against union busting by the contractor Mitie, which has told IWGB members it employs it will not negotiate with IWGB and that they must join a different union.
Cleaners employed by Romec and Balfour Beatty, who clean Royal Mail depots, are considering an offer of a 3.1% pay increase over 15 months after threatening to strike in late December. They are members of the Communication Workers Union.