Metro cleaners protest for living wage

Transport cleaners on the Tyne and Wear Metro are to protest for the living wage.

The employees, who are backed by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), will gather outside a meeting of the Churchill Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority at the Newcastle Civic Centre on 25 July.

The living wage is a voluntary rate of pay, which is designed to enable workers to afford a basic standard of living.

The rate is currently set at £8.30 an hour in London and £7.20 an hour elsewhere in the UK. This compares to the national minimum wage which currently stands at £6.19 an hour.

The workers are discontent with their pay conditions from cleaning organisation Churchill, which is contracted by rail contractor DB Regio.

DB Regio operates the Tyne and Wear Metro on behalf of the Transport Authority.

The dispute, now more than a year old, is thought to be one of the longest running industrial disputes in the UK.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT, said: “While some Labour politicians have supported the living wage and the RMT campaign in the north east, their colleagues on the Transport Authority have institutionalised poverty pay for Metro cleaners through privatisation and contracting out.

“This fight for justice for this determined group of workers, whose only demand is a living wage and decent working conditions, will continue to rage on.”

Sharon Kelly, director of customer services and operations at DB Regio Tyne and Wear, which operates the Metro on behalf of Nexus, said: “This is a matter for Churchill to resolve with its staff. We have contingencies in place so passengers will not notice any change to services during the action.”