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Train cleaners protest at King's Lynn station as union prepares for long pay fight



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Union leaders have hinted at the prospect of further strike action to come in a row over pay to cleaners working on West Norfolk's rail line.

Workers and supporters picketed outside Lynn's railway station on Saturday during a 48-hour walkout by members of the RMT union.

The stoppage was the second phase of industrial action in a dispute with the cleaners' employer, the Churchill Group.

Train Cleaners picketing outside King's Lynn Railway Station on Saturday 12th March 2022. (55417656)
Train Cleaners picketing outside King's Lynn Railway Station on Saturday 12th March 2022. (55417656)

It is a contractor of the area's main train operator, Great Northern, and several other franchises.

The RMT is demanding workers' pay to be raised to £15 an hour from the current minimum wage of £8.91 an hour, as well as sick pay and the right to be a direct employee of the railway itself.

However, it has been claimed that the employer has only offered an extra 20 pence an hour for workers in London and 10 pence an hour for those outside the capital.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said they will not back down until what he described as "pay justice" is achieved.

He said: "This strike by cleaners sends a clear message that our union will fight tooth and nail against super exploitative contractors who refuse to pay key workers properly."

Independent borough councillor Jo Rust, who joined the Lynn picket line, added: "These cleaners lost pay to take strike action, pay they can ill afford to lose.

"But they get action was needed and I was proud to stand alongside them in solidarity.

"Times are incredibly hard for ordinary people at the moment. Is it really too much to ask that those reaping huge profits off the backs of those doing the toil, should accept a bit less profit and instead share the spoils so these workers can afford to pay their increased heating costs, increased NI contribution, increased fuel costs and food?"

The Lynn picket was part of a weekend of action with strikes affecting journeys across the country.

Mr Lynch said: "‎We know that there are further attacks coming down the pipe and we are preparing to escalate the fightback across the sectors where we organise.

"Transport workers of all grades must not be lined up to take the hit to their jobs, pay, conditions and livelihoods for a deepening cost of living crisis that is not of their making."

The Lynn News has again asked the Churchill Group for comment on the dispute, but has yet to receive a response.

Govia Thameslink Railway, the parent company of Great Northern, said it had nothing further to add to its previous statement on the issue.

It said the walkouts would have "minimal" impact on services and insisted passengers could travel with confidence.



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