Political support for Merseyrail cleaners in dispute over pay and conditions

A Merseyrail Rail train travels through Hunts Cross Station in Liverpool. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images

Railway cleaners involved in long-running disputes over pay and conditions have welcomed support for their case from a group of politicians.

A cross-party coalition has written to Merseyrail boss Andy Heath calling on him to step in to help resolve disputes on two of the train operator's cleaning contracts.

The letter, signed by seven Labour MPs, Liverpool mayor Joanne Anderson and 49 Labour, Green, Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors from across Merseyside, criticise the treatment of cleaners employed by contractors.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "Our members will welcome this fantastic support from Merseyside's politicians.

"Outsourcing has seen the super-exploitation of low-paid essential workers in search of profit.

"Merseyrail need to get a grip on this situation, put their hands in their ample pockets, sort out the disputes and bring their cleaners in house."

Andy Heath, managing director of Merseyrail, said: "We value the work of the cleaning teams who deliver an important service on our network with a great degree of pride, particularly during the challenges we have faced due to Covid-19.

"Both cleaning contracts in question are delivered by third parties Mitie and Stadler and like many organisations we work with trusted partner organisations to deliver such services.

"In relation to the current disputes, we have worked closely with Mitie to support a revised offer being made to the RMT.

"Discussions between Mitie and their employees continue and we are hopeful of a positive outcome.

"We remain committed to working with both Stadler and Mitie with the aim of resolving these disputes as soon as is possible."