Sadiq Khan: meet delegation of “amazing” tube cleaners
  • RMT calls on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to meet delegation of “amazing” tube cleaners as new survey shows majority of cleaners believe their employer is putting profit before safety during coronavirus crisis

TUBE UNION RMT has today called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to personally meet, via video conferencing, a delegation of tube cleaners to discuss their employment concerns as a new survey shows a majority of cleaners believe their employer, cleaning contractor ABM, is putting profit before safety during coronavirus crisis.

Despite playing a vital frontline role in the fight against Coronavirus, outsourced cleaners are furious that they are being treated as second class citizens by being denied staff travel cards which allow travel across the TfL network, despite other tube workers receiving this benefit. Cleaners who have been furloughed are also only receiving 80% of their pay whilst other Tube staff are receiving 100%.

In its letter, the union points to what it calls the ‘double-speak’ being employed around cleaners.

Responding to a question in the London Assembly last week, the Mayor said:
“Given the current challenges of Covid-19, the work of ABM’s staff on London Underground has never been more important. They are doing an amazing job in these extraordinarily difficult times and I thank each and every one of them for their commitment and service to our city”, but RMT pointed to the contrast between this praise and the treatment of cleaners on the ground.

In addition to refusing to give the cleaners staff travel cards, TfL refers to them as ‘non-core’ and has outsourced them to a US company called ABM. The union revealed that in a recent survey, more than 50% of Underground cleaners said they believed the company put profits before safety.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said,

“The hypocrisy towards tube cleaners is breath-taking. On the one hand they are told by the Mayor and others they are doing a amazing job and they’re vital to the fight against coronavirus, then in the same breath they’re told you can’t have all the same basic conditions of employment as other tube staff, not even free tube travel.

“Grand public statements are worthless unless there’s a change in the way these cleaners are treated. I know Sadiq Khan gets this because he had himself photographed with Underground cleaners employed by ABM as part of TfL’s response to the Coronavirus.

“I’ve written to him today calling on him to reverse this shameful decision not to give cleaners free travel and arrange a meeting with our cleaning members so he can hear from them directly.”

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