Rmt calls for end to outsourcing as ABM doubled profits in last financial year

Underground outsourcing company doubles its profits while cutting safety-critical cleaners jobs in midst of COVID crisis.

TUBE UNION RMT today called on the Mayor of London to take back control of the Underground cleaning and put an end to the outdated dogma of outsourcing, after it emerged that the outsourcing company ABM has doubled its profits in the last financial year while cutting the number of cleaners working to keep Londoners safe on the tube.

RMT says it's a scandal that staff in the front line of keeping the tube clean and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic are facing job cuts while their employer is rolling in cash.

ABM’s annual accounts show that the company posted pre-tax profits of £4.5 million for 2019, almost double what it made in 2018 (£2.39 million). Meanwhile, figures released by the Mayor in July reveal that the company has cut the equivalent of 139 full time cleaners jobs since it took over the contract in 2017, leaving the capital under-resourced and under-prepared for the pandemic.

RMT warned in July that the outsourcing contract was not fit for purpose, pointing to clauses in the contract that commit the company to seeking savings every year and it pointed to research in the hospitals sector which demonstrates that outsourcing cleaning is less safe in terms of public health than employing cleaners in-house.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“The Covid-19 crisis has once and for all nailed the lie that cleaning is ‘non-core’ and can be safely outsourced to the profiteers. It’s time we started to treat cleaning and cleaners like the essential service they are. ABM have been driving up profits by cutting cleaners jobs, leaving the Underground less safe as a result. We need a totally new approach to cleaning in public transport and Sadiq Khan needs to show a lead by bringing this contract in house when it expires in 2022.”

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