Union representatives have urged London mayor Ken Livingstone and Transport for London (TfL) to raise the minimum wage for cleaners working on the London Underground to £6.70 an hour.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) set out a ‘Cleaners’ Charter’, demanding an immediate increase in the pay rate and more dignity at work, in a protest at TfL’s headquarters last week.
The charter also states that cleaners should earn additional pay for late night or weekend work, and be entitled to a fair sick-pay scheme.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow criticised contractors for making large profits on London Underground projects while paying “poverty wages” to staff.
“The mayor quite rightly says that no-one can survive in London on wages less than £6.70 an hour, but there are more than 2,000 cleaners working on London Underground getting far less than that,” he said.
“Research indicates that 90% of cleaners working on London Underground are paid less than £5.51 an hour, and that nearly 40% get no more than the rock-bottom minimum wage of £5.05, while their employers are raking in millions. That is disgraceful.”
A recent report by the Greater London Authority found that almost 75% of people working as contract cleaners on London Underground were recent migrants.