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Eurostar cleaners strike

PUBLISHED: 16:07 20 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:01 23 August 2010

PASSENGERS will travel on dirty trains at the weekend as Eurostar cleaners plan to strike over pay on Bank Holiday Monday. More than 120 workers who clean trains and stations, including Ebbsfleet International, Thames Way, Northfleet, are expected to sta

PASSENGERS will travel on dirty trains at the weekend as Eurostar cleaners plan to strike over pay on Bank Holiday Monday.

More than 120 workers who clean trains and stations, including Ebbsfleet International, Thames Way, Northfleet, are expected to stage a 24-hour strike.

The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is calling for a basic wage higher than the current £6.37 an hour for staff who work for contractor OCS.

Bob Crow RMT general secretary, said: "Eurostar trades on its ethical reputation and claims to tread lightly on the planet, yet it seems happy for OCS to stamp all over the people who keep their trains and stations clean.

"OCS are already paying poverty wages and the paltry 25p an hour they have offered our members is well below inflation and would drag their living standards down even further.

"Neither OCS nor Eurostar can be in any doubt about how angry our members are, because not one vote was cast against taking strike action, and dozens more cleaners signed up to the union since the ballot began."

He added: "OCS is raking it in on the backs of our members' work and Eurostar has never had it so good, so there is no excuse for either of them."

RMT and OCS have clashed for some time over cleaners' wages and RMT threatened to strike in 2006, demanding at least £7.20 an hour, but called it off.

The Greater London Authority regards £7.20 as the minimum rate a worker can live on to provide a decent standard of living for themselves and their family in the capital.

Union officials said cleaners, who returned a 100 per cent vote for action, are not paid extra for working bank holidays.

Bob Crow also argued there was no pension, sick pay and only the 'bare minimum legal holiday entitlement'.

OCS was unavailable to comment but a Eurostar spokeswoman said services would be as normal and contingency plans would be in place if necessary.

Ebbsfleet International was opened by double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes in January this year.

elizabeth.thornton@archant.co.uk

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