Striking cleaners picket in Paddington over rail dispute

Outsourced cleaners on First Great Western Railway (GWR) mounted a rowdy picket at 7am this morning to push for the firm to bring them in-house with parity of conditions with their colleagues.

The staff, currently with Servest, have been in dispute for months with ballots for strike action being overwhelmingly supported in December. The union met for talks with Severest on January 16th but despite offering to call off strike action if the firm improved its contract offer, bosses wouldn’t budge. RMT says the dispute is over a number of issues including:

  • Pay
  • Parity with GWR Staff
  • Annual leave
  • Provision of safety clothing
  • An agreement for a permanent workforce and an end to the use of agency workers.

And in a statement explained: “The union is calling for current agency workers to be made members of GWR staff to end the current situation of a two-tier workforce. The issues have come to a head as a result of the failure of members’ terms and conditions to be safeguarded when they were transferred over to Servest UK from Mitie on the GWR contract.”

GWR’s contract covers services running from London down the south coast, out to Wales and the tip of Cornwall. Another strike is due on January 21st. For an idea of how the above issues impact on the cleaners and why they’re so angry, check out this explanation form a striker last month.

Picture and video originally posted by RMT Paddington No.1 Branch. Keep an eye on them for updates.