Low-paid workers at Avanti West Coast have taken strike action today, Friday 23 September 2022, to demand a decent pay rise.
Despite the cost of living crisis, runaway bills, and soaring inflation, workers are left with a pittance of just £9.90-an-hour – while Avanti and private contractors pay out tens of millions to shareholders. Richie Venton spoke to RMT Regional Organiser Gordon Martin:
Richie Venton, SSP National Trade Union Organiser
“Low-paid cleaners on Avanti West Coast trains were on strike today – fighting for survival as prices rocket, on a pittance pay rate of £9.90-an-hour.
These workers risked their lives to keep trains hygienic throughout the Covid pandemic, but they literally get NO company sick pay!
The privatised rail network is cursed by profiteering capitalist ownership, where workers come last, in a system of multi-tiered profiteering.
Avanti paid out £11.5m in dividends to shareholders last year.
Avanti contracts Alstom – who handed out £58million in dividends to shareholders last year.
Alstom in turn contracts Atalian Servest to clean Avanti West Coast trains – and Atalian Servest handed out £15.8m in dividends to their French owners in 2020 and 2021.
Meantime, these train cleaners have to strike to win an increase on their paltry £9.90-an-hour! And for sick pay!
That’s the sickness of capitalism summed up.
I interviewed RMT Regional Organiser Gordon Martin at the picket line about the spreading strikes for survival by several groups of rail workers: