Carlisle’s Virgin Train cleaners call off strike after landing big pay rise
Last updated at 12:36, Thursday, 10 November 2011
A two-day strike by train cleaners in Carlisle has been called off after a “groundbreaking” 10 per cent pay deal.
The wage rise victory is being hailed as a fantastic achievement by their union and halts a long-running dispute.
Around 30 cleaners working for the Carlisle Group on the Virgin West Coast Mainline were due to walk out for 48 hours from tomorrow .
Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union officials say staff with Carlisle Cleaning and Support Services (CCSS) just wanted to earn a “living wage”.
The RMT executive approved the pay deal late yesterday following talks with the support services firm.
The pay rise will be phased in over the next 10 months, including five per cent immediately.
Craig Johnston, RMT Carlisle-based regional organiser, said they were “absolutely delighted” with the deal that had been struck.
“The figures we are talking about are ground breaking in current economic circumstances,” he said.
The deal comes after workers in Carlisle staged a 24-hour strike on October 28, picketing outside the city’s train station.
Mr Johnston added: “The solidarity that was shown across the West Coast network when we were on the picket lines was fantastic. Our members have been successful.
“They do a very difficult job, it’s a very dirty job and they do it well. They deserve a reasonable re-numeration for it.
“I’m pleased the company has seen sense, they came back to the negotiating table and we got a good deal.
“I’ve spoken to some of the workers and they are very happy. I’m sure they are going to have a better Christmas.”
General secretary Bob Crow praised the courage of the Virgin West Coast cleaners. He said: “We have moved the cleaning contractors from a one per cent offer to a 10 per cent settlement and in the current climate that is a fantastic achievement.”
He added that the deal means that since last June, the RMT has moved the cleaner’s rate of pay from £5.80 to £7.12 per hour by September 2013 – a 23 per cent increase.
A Virgin Trains spokesman told the News & Star this morning: “We are pleased that this dispute has been settled and there is no longer a threat of further strike action.
“It has been a matter between CCSS as an employer and their employees.”
Around 300 workers nationally took part in the industrial action last month affecting the West Coast Mainline.
The workers then took their campaign against the train cleaning company into a new phase, refusing to empty effluent tanks or refill fresh water on Virgin’s Pendolino fleet.
Carlisle Cleaning’s owner, Impellam Group, part of Lord Ashcroft’s business empire, has increased its profits by almost 30 per cent to £16.2m in the past year, says the RMT.
First published at 11:28, Thursday, 10 November 2011
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
A step in the right direction.
could it be that further down the line this "fantastic achievement" that bob crow is crowing about,turns out to be unsustainable,resulting in a reduction in the workforce to pay for it!
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