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Railway cleaners on ‘poverty pay’ campaign for living wage

RMT is calling for Mitie workers in Glasgow and Edinburgh to be given the Real Living Wage.

Railway: RMT has launched a campaign. <strong>Pixabay</strong>
Railway: RMT has launched a campaign. Pixabay

A transport union has launched a campaign to boost the pay of railway cleaners in Scotland.

RMT is asking for the public’s help to back a petition calling for Mitie workers to be given the Real Living Wage.

Leaflets will be handed out at Glasgow Central on Tuesday between 4pm and 6pm, and at Edinburgh Waverley on Wednesday between 4.30pm and 6pm.

The campaign will then move on to other Network Rail-managed stations in England.

RMT is arguing that Mitie Group – which has the cleaning contract at Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley – paid nearly £49m to its shareholders in dividends in the last five years, “but it won’t pay its cleaners the Real Living Wage”.

However, Mitie claims it is “fully supportive of initiatives to pay our staff the Real Living Wage”.

A recent RMT survey of Mitie workers showed that 50% of respondents said they struggled to make ends meet.

General secretary Mick Cash said: “It is a scandal that the staff employed by outsourcing giant Mitie who clean stations for Network Rail, doing some of the dirtiest work in the rail industry at all hours of the night and day, are struggling to make ends meet and are paid below the Real Living Wage.

“A company that can pay nearly £49m to its shareholders in dividends in the last five years for doing nothing can afford to pay its cleaners a decent wage for the work that they do.

“Mitie’s cleaners have had enough and are fighting for a Real Living Wage, but they need the help of the travelling public and I would urge passengers to sign the petition and help us to persuade Mitie and Network Rail to put an end to this scandal.

“RMT will be doing all it can to support Mitie cleaners, cleaning up the vomit, human waste and the rest of the filth at our stations, in their fight to make this wealthy company do the right thing and pay its workers a Real Living Wage.”

A Mitie spokesperson responded: “Mitie is fully supportive of initiatives to pay our staff the Real Living Wage.

“We know how difficult it is to maintain a decent standard of living and take care of a family on the National Living Wage, which is why we have worked with most of our top clients to move to Real Living Wage.

“We are in regular dialogue with Network Rail regarding pay and conditions, and will do all we can to work closely with them, and with other stakeholders such as the Business Services Association and unions where appropriate, to obtain a move to the Real Living Wage for our staff.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Pay rates for employees is always a matter for the employer, but we have worked for some years with our cleaning contractors to lift salaries so that at least the national living wage is paid.”

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