“HEROIC” train line cleaners’ jobs risk being axed, a leading union has warned.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Worker (RMT) has taken aim at Trenitalia parent company of c2c, claiming it is set reduce its cleaning contract by 500 hours a week, leading to job losses.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has warned “heroic” cleaners who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep commuters safe are set to lose their jobs – c2c decline to comment.
Bidvest Noonan which supplies the cleaning services on Trenitalia C2C train services has said that they are reducing the cleaning contract by 500 hours a week, RMT says, with cleaners already living hand to mouth amid the cost-of-living crisis.
Writing to secretary of transport Grant Shapps, Mr Lynch said: “I have had it reported to me that Trenitalia c2c have been instructed by your Department to cut their cleaning costs, creating a threat of job cuts among cleaners employed by Bidvest Noonan on Essex Thameside services.
“Far from cutting cleaning costs on any contract, we should be properly funding them to create better cleaning jobs on what is now widely recognised to be an essential service. Heroic cleaners who put their lives on the line throughout the pandemic deserve better than to be threatened with job cuts and passengers on c2c services should know what is being done on their trains and stations. I look forward to your reply at the earliest opportunity.”
The Department of Transport has been contacted for comment.
Cleaners employed by c2c have been working hard throughout the pandemic to keep stations and trains clean, with extra cleaning on frequent touch-points using Covid-killing disinfectant.
Calling on Mr Shapps to protect their jobs, Mr Lynch referenced research published by Transport Focus which found passengers felts cleanliness was vital in restoring post-pandemic confidence in rail travel.
He said: “This report was unequivocal in reporting its view that ‘cleaning will remain even more important than it was during the pandemic’ and in its recommendations that ‘it will be important for the railway to maintain the improved levels of cleaning and to use all available channels to communicate their efforts to both passengers and non-users to build confidence.”