Metro cleaners set for Christmas strike

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CLEANERS on the Tyne and Wear Metro are set to walk out again over Christmas in the latest stage of a long-running pay dispute.

The workers are locked in a row with employer Churchill Cleaning Services, which the RMT union says is trying to impose a pay freeze on staff already on the minimum wage.

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.

The union says Churchill has refused to improve its offer despite talks with Metro operator DB Regio.

It also claiemd that employees receive no sick pay, no pensions and none of the travel concessions enjoyed by other Nexus workers, and that its highest paid director has had a salary increase of more than 18 per cent in the last five years.

The Echo was unable to contact Churchill for a comment.