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Press Release

Press Releases

RMT: 72 hour strike for Tyne and Wear Metro cleaners

RMT press release

TRANSPORT UNION RMT confirmed today that cleaners working for Churchill's on the Tyne and Wear Metro will take a further 72 hours of strike action from Sunday 23rd December in their battle for pay and
workplace justice:

Members are instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between:-

* 22:30 hours on Sunday 23rd December 2012 and 22:29 hours on Wednesday 26th December 2012.

The latest phase of action follows rock solid support for previous days of strikes in the dispute over continuing and long-running attempts by the company to impose poverty pay and cuts to standards of
living.

The Churchill's cleaners' battle, part of national RMT fight for justice for transport cleaners, is over an attempt by the highly-profitable company to impose zero per cent pay awards on a workforce already on the bare minimum wage. On previous strike days RMT has been told that Churchill's have attempted to recruit scabs on a far higher hourly rate of pay, proving that the money is there when it suits the company.

Despite extensive talks and pressure from the union Churchill's, following discussions with their client DB Regio, have continued 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:

"RMT members have shown guts and determination through a long and hard campaign this year of rock-solid strike action in the fight for workplace and pay justice. This battle is now seen as having national significance in the campaign against low pay and exploitation by greedy companies and RMT will continue to ratchet up the pressure for fairness for this important group of North East transport staff as
part of our national cleaners' campaign.

"In the face of the insulting zero pay offers from the company our members have had no option but to fight back in the battle to eliminate poverty pay. RMT members have shown rock solid unity and courage in the industrial and community campaign 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. This dispute in a mirror-image of all that wrong in this country with greedy company bosses on one side and low paid cleaners providing essential public services on the other - forced to strike to protect and improve their standards of living and their working conditions.

"It remains a scandal that the regional passenger organisation NEXUS, and the operating company DB Regio, have still 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. NEXUS and the City council cannot wash their hands of this dispute and RMT is stepping up the call for them to intervene with Churchill's to help force a solution."


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