27 November 2013
MEMBERS OF rail union RMT working for sub-contractors Mitie on First Great Western will strike again in two phases from Friday morning in a fight for a Living Wage and workplace justice.
As the union ratchets up the battle on the lucrative Great Western franchise FGW Mitie Paddington and Old Oak Common members have been instructed not to book on for any shifts between:-
• 06:00 hours on Friday 29th November 2013 and 05:59 hours on Sunday 1st December 2013.
All other members on the FGW franchise will not book on for any shifts between;
* 06:00 hours on Friday 29th November 2013 and 05:59 hours on Saturday 30th November 2013.
Following three previous rock-solid phases of strike action the company have come back with a marginally improved pay offer in response but the package falls well short of tackling the core issues of poverty pay and decent working conditions for the staff doing some of the dirtiest and most anti-social jobs on the rail network.
Mitie is a wealthy company and can easily afford to lift its staff out of poverty pay and the appalling working conditions that they are being told to put up with. The most recent company accounts show that Mitie Group PLC for the year 2012-13 made pre-tax profits of £58.8m, paid out dividends to shareholders of £20.6m (a 11.9% increase) with the highest paid director pocketing £1.374m (a 7.4% increase).
Despite the boardroom being awash with cash, and top bosses and shareholders enjoying soaring pay and dividends, the staff who make those profits are expected to endure a regime of poverty pay without proper sick pay and other decent working conditions like properly applied enhancements for overtime, weekend, bank holiday and shift working.
Meanwhile, First Group, who have just secured a two year extension on the Great Western franchise worth tens of millions in taxpayer-supported profits, have attempted to wash their hands of the cleaners that their approved contractors, Mitie, expect to work in appalling conditions for a pittance. RMT will continue to expose the activities of both First and Mitie who have joint responsibility for the blatant exploitation taking place on the prestigious and lucrative Great Western services.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“The long-running battle for pay and workplace justice by the RMT Mitie cleaners on the Great Western franchise has become a set-piece confrontation with national implications in the wider struggle between low-paid workers and the cheapskate, facilities and outsource operations that this Government promotes at every opportunity.
“ Mitie RMT members on First Great Western have shown guts and determination throughout this long fight and continue to pull in strong support from across the labour movement and this latest phase of action will ratchet the dispute up another notch.
“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 a tribute to our RMT members on FGW that they have had the courage to take them on and expose them, and their supporters in the Government and the rail companies, for just what they are – greedy opportunists making a fast buck out of public contracts at their workers’ expense.
“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 boardrooms are 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 Mitie/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.”