RMT tube workers will be taking a protest to Mayor Boris Johnson’s question time this Wednesday – 17th June – over his broken promises on the London Living Wage for some tube cleaners and over the docking of pay for staff who could not get into work on the snow day in February.
Boris Johnson has given a pledge that all staff working on GLA and TFL contracts will receive the London Living Wage which was recently upgraded to £7.60 an hour. However, staff working for ISS on Tube Lines are only getting £6.12 an hour as well as working in appalling conditions. The RMT have pointed out that Mayor Johnson himself is paid £78 an hour and that his Chief Executive has had an 11% increase taking him to £205,000 a year.
The cleaners are expected to clean up syringes and other waste left behind by drug users, deal with the aftermath of suicides and run the constant risk of exposure to diseases carried by rats. They work in filthy conditions down the tube tunnels. But despite that, they typically have no access to hot and cold running water to wash themselves and share primitive and cramped, mixed changing rooms.
The Mayor’s other broken promise is over snow day pay. In February, Boris Johnson said that he had “no intention of penalising anyone who failed to get to work because of the …exceptional weather.” Local managers have since reneged on that promise and staff have had their pay docked or been forced to take annual leave.
“It’s a scandal that some of our tube cleaners, who clean up infected syringes, the body parts from suicides and run the constant risk of exposure to infection, are paid just over six pounds an hour – nearly £1.50 an hour less than the London Living Wage,” Bob Crow RMT general secretary said today.
“London Underground is conniving in this exploitation. They have washed their hands of the cleaners appalling levels of pay and the failure to supply safe and appropriate working conditions, by saying it’s a matter for the private contractors. That’s a disgraceful way to treat key underground staff and the Mayor should intervene to stop it now.
“Boris Johnson should keep his promises on the London Living Wage and snow day pay,” Bob Crow said.