Rail cleaners to strike in March affecting services across London and south east including Eurostar

A member of staff cleans ticket machines at London Bridge station in London, as train services increase as part of the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions (cropped).
The workers who clean London and south east stations and on trains are going on strike. Credit: PA

Railway cleaners are to stage a fresh strike within weeks in a dispute over pay and employment status.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) who clean trains and stations across London and the south east will walk out for 48 hours on March 11.

The cleaners, employed by contractors Churchill, are campaigning for a wage rate of £15 an hour and to be made direct employees of the railways.

It will be the second bout of strike action, affecting Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern, Southeastern, Eurostar and HS1 services.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Churchill’s treatment of cleaning staff who have risked their health and safety to work throughout the pandemic is a disgrace.

“Workers on low pay are much worse off now than 12 months ago.

A quiet Eurostar check-in area at London St Pancras. Credit: AP

“We will not stop campaigning or taking strike action until there is a just settlement and these outsourced workers are bought on to the railways as direct employees of the train operating companies.”

The latest announcement on industrial action comes as RMT Tube workers stage a string of walkouts this week.

The London Underground strikes brought Tube lines across the capital grinding to a halt on Tuesday.

Another 24-hour Tube strike will take place across all lines on Thursday.

A separate ongoing Night Tube strike affects the Victoria and Central lines overnight on Friday and Saturday.