First Great Western Mitie cleaners to strike again in fight for Living Wage and end to zero hours contracts
MEMBERS OF rail union RMT working for sub-contractors Mitie on First Great Western will strike again for 24 hours from Friday morning in a fight for a Living Wage and workplace justice.
As the union ratchets up what is seen as a set-piece battle with implications for hundreds of thousands of British cleaners on poverty pay and zero hours contracts, FGW Mitie members are instructed not to book on for any shifts between:-
06:00 hours on Friday 25th October 2013 and 05:59 hours on Saturday 26th October 2013.
The latest phase of action follows a rock-solid 24 hour strike which kicked off on the morning of the 11th October and which saw pickets out in force at key locations across the franchise with a major, high profile protest at London’s Paddington station.
The matters at the heart of the dispute are simple – the fight for pay and workplace justice for the lowest paid groups of staff on the lucrative First Great Western service and an end to the poison of zero hours contracts. The strike comes against the backdrop of First being awarded a massive, multi-million pound two year extension of their contract which nails the lie that there is no money available to pay their cleaners a living wage on secure contracts with decent working conditions.
In the ballot of members for both strike action and action short of a strike it was made clear by an overwhelming majority that the companies derisory offer on pay and the failure to move on core issues like zero hours contracts and sick pay was not acceptable to RMT members and that anger was reinforced in the rock-solid action two weeks ago which is set to repeated this Friday and Saturday. RMT will be out leafleting the public calling for their support and asking them to put pressure on both First Group and their contractors’, Mitie.
Mitie are renowned for trying to keep a low profile while swallowing up public “facilities” contracts that make them a fortune off the backs of thousands of low paid, casualised workers. Fresh from winning a 20% pay increase for cleaners on the North East’s Metro service in similar circumstances, RMT is geared up to take Mitie on.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“ Mitie RMT members on First Great Western have shown guts and determination throughout this long fight for workplace and pay justice and we expect strong support from across the labour movement as we move into this second phase of industrial action. Mitie are key players in the driving down on wages and working conditions for some of the lowest paid workers in Britain and it is time we all stood together to take them on and expose them for just what they are.
“RMT will be making it clear to the public that this battle on First Great Western is about achieving a Living Wage and ending the scandal of zero hours contracts on a rail franchise which is multi-million pound money-spinner for the private companies bleeding it dry, while those doing the dirty jobs to keep the services clean are treated with pure and utter contempt.
“First Group landed a jackpot rollover with a two year contract extension on Great Western that will make them and their sub-contractors a fortune but while the boardroom is awash with cash exploitation at the sharp end on this prestige, inter-city rail contract is rife. Justice says that now is the time for the cleaners out there day and night on First Great Western to get their fair share through a Living Wage, decent sick pay and benefits and an end to the evil of zero hours contracts.”