More than 1,000 railway cleaners strike for pay

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The cleaners will become the latest group of railway staff to strike for pay, after more than 1,000 members of the railway, shipping and transport (RMT) union voted in support of the industrial action.

The RMT is calling for pay to rise to £15 an hour with improved pensions, company sick pay and holiday entitlement from private contractors including Churchill, Atalian Servest and Mitie.

The union’s national executive committee will decide next week on which days the strike action will take place.

It will be the first national strike of cleaners enrolled in the RMT. They join Royal Mail workers, nurses and other railway staff who have announced a strike in recent days.

This week, the RMT announced a series of 48-hour strikes in an ongoing dispute over jobs, pay and conditions. This will cause inconvenience for passengers on December 13th and 14th, and again on December 16th and 17th in the pre-Christmas period. Other dates are planned for January.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said Network Rail had failed to deliver a better offer after two weeks of negotiations and the Rail Delivery Group withdrew from the discussions on short notice on Monday. Lynch said the government is blocking a deal.

Related: NHS, Royal Mail, Railways: How will winter strikes affect the UK?

Workers have already gone on strike in June, July, August, October and November. The industrial action scheduled for September was postponed after the Queen’s death.

The announcement came as members of the train drivers union, Aslef, went on strike on Saturday.

It meant most intercity trains running on mainline routes from London to Scotland and Wales were cancelled, with no services running on operators including Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, CrossCountry, Northern and Southeastern.

The train drivers were also voted for an additional six-month window for potential strike action.

Staff on special requirements teams at seven London Underground stations went on strike over pay on Thursday, while around 1,000 Abellio bus drivers in London who are Unite members went on Friday on a 10-day strike over a pay dispute.

Lynch said: “This is a historic achievement and I congratulate the cleaner members of the entire transport network.

“It is outrageous that multimillion-dollar companies are earning profits without paying cleaners properly.

“RMT will fight every step of the way to end the overexploitation of contract cleaners and will not stop until these greedy companies pay up.”

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