Every day, more than 3,000 cleaning workers clean stations, depots, trains, and other facilities to ensure London Underground can run.
These workers are low paid and in unstable employment. Cleaning work on the Tube is outsourced, and the contractors – such as ISS and Interserve – sub-contract to agencies such as AGS, who pressure workers into registering as "limited liability companies".
Recently, both major cleaning companies have made significant cuts. Many Interserve cleaners have gone from cleaning one station to cleaning four.
They have no access to staff travel passes or proper sick pay or pension arrangements. Short payment is endemic, with many cleaners being short paid in every single pay packet.
The transport union RMT is campaigning for justice for cleaners. The union organised the rally outside City Hall to take the message to the Greater London Authority – which ultimately is responsible for the running of London Underground – and the cleaning companies themselves to demand:
• Reverse the cuts: restore staffing levels; no cleaner should have to cover four stations!
• Pay £10 an hour;
• Staff travel passes for cleaners;
• End short payment: pay in full, on time, every time;
• Direct employment for all cleaners.
The union’s ultimate demand is for cleaning to be taken back in house and for cleaners to be employed directly by London Underground/TfL rather than outsourced contractors.
Meanwhile cleaners at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden were happy to announce on Monday that they had just won the London Living Wage for the cleaners and porters at London Transport Museum.