31 July 2014
Cleaners working on the St Pancras station and Eurostar contracts for high-profile facilities company Interserve will be striking on Friday (1st August 2014) in a fight over pay and workplace justice.
Like many contract cleaners, the Eurostar contract is subject to regular tender with cut-throat cleaning contractors competing to win the work. Staff get transferred from one contractor to another like pieces of meat, but the business model of the companies is all the same – hacking back on pay and conditions to maximise profit while offering the workforce as little as possible.
Interserve won the St Pancras/Eurostar contract from Network Rail in exactly this fashion – through a massive cut in the price for the work. In order to protect the company profits and hand-outs to shareholders Interserve have imposed 30% job cuts on their cleaning workers. This means massive pressure on the staff making up for the people who have been cut.
Staff are also sick of the workplace culture – continual aggression and bullying from the employers who expect the same standards of work and output, but with a third less staff. As RMT says “They call it efficiency – we call it harassment.”
As a result staff have had enough and are making a stand by taking 24-hour strike action from 5am on Friday. The workforce already suffer from low pay, no sick pay and get only the statutory minimum from our employer, but they are not prepared to be intimidated anymore. The workloads that Interserve is imposing are too much and will not be tolerated in the culture of bullying and harassment that is rife at the prestigious Eurostar, St Pancras International terminal.
The RMT union demands are simple:
• An agreement with our union on staffing levels at St Pancras/Eurostar;
• A fair and reasonable workload for cleaners at St Pancras/Eurostar;
• To be treated with dignity and respect.
Mick Cash, RMT acting general secretary said.
“It is a disgraceful stain on London as a world-class capital city that staff at the prestigious Eurostar/ St Pancras International terminal are being treated like dirt by a company, Interserve, whose sole motivation is profit.
“RMT will not tolerate a situation where these cleaners are kicked from pillar to post behind closed doors and on Friday their fight for pay and workplace justice will spill out onto the streets around this station and will be the first thing that many visitors to London will see on their arrival.
“RMT remains available for talks aimed at resolving this shocking injustice which is another example of the gap between rich and poor in this wealthy City.”