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Rail workers welcome support of prospective Labour candidates

RAIL workers today welcomed the support of prospective Labour candidates for the London Assembly elections to support the RMT’s campaign against Sadiq Khan’s privatisation of cleaners on London transport.

The rail workers’ union published a list of candidates in the May elections who have supported a statement for the union’s campaign to press the Mayor of London into bringing 2,000 outsourced cleaning workers into direct employment.

Transport for London’s (TfL) handing of cleaning operations on the Underground to the multinational corporation ABM, while the Vinci employment agency recruits workers to clean the Overground, was criticised in the statement.

The statement said that the collapse of companies such as Carillion and Interserve proved that outsourcing is “inefficient and unfair,” and also highlighted the “less favourable” treatment that agency cleaners receive compared to their colleagues employed by TfL.

An overwhelming majority of workers can’t make ends meet and want to be directly employed by TfL, a recent survey of ABM cleaners conducted by the RMT revealed.

The issue was raised in Parliament by Poplar and Limehouse Labour MP Apsana Begum in January, and 94 Labour councillors called on Mr Khan to bring the workers into direct employment earlier this month.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Londoners rely on the hard, dirty and hazardous work of these 2,000 cleaners to keep the network clean, hygienic and safe to travel on.

“Yet shamefully TfL has outsourced these workers to a company that’s cutting jobs and making them work harder while it doesn’t give them sick pay or decent pensions. 

“We’re calling on the Mayor to make a commitment to bring these workers in-house now.”

Candidate Liam Young, who signed the petition, told the Morning Star: “We’ve seen over the last few years how destructive outsourcing can be — both to public services and to workers individually and collectively.

“Outsourcing cleaning staff on the Underground and the Overground is a dangerous move, and one that I am completely opposed to.

“I hope the Mayor will act on this ahead of the election and further demonstrate that Labour in London is on the side of working people.”

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