London Labour politicians call for public ownership of London Transport cleaning services
  • As Omicron crisis grips the capital London Labour politicians call for public ownership of London Transport cleaning services.

Senior London Labour politicians have today made the case for the full public ownership and control of London Transport cleaning services on grounds of safety and efficiency.

The MPs and Peers made the plea in a letter to Transport for London boss Andy Byford where they also called on him to seize a ‘historic opportunity to do the right thing’ for London’s Underground cleaners and put a final stop to the outsourcing that sees them struggle to make ends meet as they battle to keep the Tube safe during the current Omicron crisis gripping the capital.

The letter, which was signed by senior Labour movement figures like former TUC general secretary Lord Monks, former Labour Party general secretary Lord Whitty, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, 11 serving London Labour MPs and 9 London Labour peers, notes that ‘London’s transport cleaners, the majority of whom are from Black, Asian and ethnic minority and migrant worker communities, have been overlooked and outsourced on the mistaken assumption that they were ‘non-core’ to transport operations’.

The letter goes on to say that ‘the pandemic has shown beyond doubt however that our cleaners are vital to the safe and efficient operation of public transport in London’ and calls on TfL Commissioner Andy Byford to ‘seize this opportunity’ to do the right thing and ‘set a new standard in the treatment of cleaners’.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said:

"As we approach the festive period we needed to remember the vital role of our poorly paid overworked London Transport cleaners who are putting their lives on the line to keep our network safe as the Omicron crisis deepens.

"‎We welcome this political support for our cleaners and the campaign to return transport cleaning to public ownership. A London underground which is kept clean on the basis of public safety and not private profit is surely what a Labour Mayor should be putting in place.

"It is a scandal that London’s tube cleaners, who everyone knows are essential frontline workers, are outsourced and exploited. This is a workforce of low paid mainly Black, Asian and ethnic minority and migrant workers and TfL have sweated them for too long already.

"TfL and the Mayor now have the chance to start to make amends. History won’t forgive them if they turn their backs yet again.”

 

The Letter

To Andy Byford, Commissioner, TfL

Dear Commissioner,

We welcome Transport for London’s decision to review its outsourced cleaning contract with ABM and to consider bringing in-house the heroic cleaners who have put their lives on the line to keep London’s transport system clean and safe during the Covid -19 pandemic.

For too long, London’s transport cleaners, the majority of whom are from Black, Asian and ethnic minority and migrant worker communities, have been overlooked and outsourced on the mistaken assumption that they were ‘non-core’ to transport operations. The pandemic has shown beyond doubt however that our cleaners are vital to the safe and efficient operation of public transport in London.

We believe there is a strong safety, efficiency and equality case for ending the outsourcing of public transport cleaning in London, bringing these essential workers in-house and integrating them with other core publicly operated Transport for London functions. With this review, you have a historic opportunity to do the right thing by this workforce and London transport passengers and in the process set a new standard in the treatment of cleaners. We urge you to seize this opportunity.

Marsha DeCordova MP
Barry Gardiner MP
Apsana Begum MP
Dawn Butler MP
Jon Cruddas MP
Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP
Rt Hon John McDonnell MP
Rt Hon Diane Abbott MP
Virendra Sharma MP
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP
Rupa Huq MP
Kate Osamor MP
Baroness Blower of Starch Green
Lord Boateng of Wembley
Lord Davies of Brixton
Lord Giddens
Lord Haworth
Baroness Healy of Primrose Hill
Lord Hendy QC
Lord Monks of Blackley
Lord Whitty of Camberwell

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