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Industrial Tube cleaners in battle against nasty contracts call on London Mayor to intervene

A BATTLE to improve the terms and conditions of thousands of Tube cleaners reached Parliament and City Hall today.

Cleaners mounted a protest outside City Hall, urging London Mayor Sadiq Khan to intervene to end the scandal in his capacity as chairman of Transport for London (TfL).

Rail union RMT, which represents the 3,000 Tube cleaners, said that private contractor ABM had introduced new contracts attacking their sick-pay scheme.

In the Commons, 14 MPs — 13 Labour and one from the Scottish National Party — tabled an early day motion condemning the cleaners’ treatment.

The text states: “Despite working in dirty and hazardous conditions, frequently through the night-time and other unsocial hours, these hard-working and often vulnerable public servants only receive the bare minimum statutory sick pay, pensions and holiday entitlement.

“Such a high-profile, world-famous public service as the London Underground should be leading the way in providing decent working conditions for all its staff instead of exploiting vulnerable workers.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash has written to Mr Khan telling him that the “continuation of such low workplace standards and conditions shame the capital.”

His letter goes on: “MPs are saying what the London mayor should be saying — that it is unacceptable for a foreign global outsourcing outfit like ABM to be allowed to exploit 3,000 London Tube cleaners in this way.

“Instead, the mayor should be acting now to ensure these vulnerable but dedicated public servants receive the same basic conditions as other Tube staff.

“This should be a first step to ending the outsourcing of cleaning on the Tube and returning it to public ownership.”

MPs who signed the Commons motion include Kate Hoey, David Lammy, Jon Cruddas, Virendra Sharma, John Cryer and Catherine West.

A spokesperson for ABM UK said: "ABM UK is working closely with TfL on all aspects of the contract. As we are very much in the early stages, there is more work to be completed, but, as with any TUPE transfer, employees will receive terms and conditions that are at least as good as those they had previously."  

The Star had not received comment from TfL at the time of going to press.

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