Support Carlisle Cleaners on Strike at Eurostar

The picket will be between St Pancras and Kings Cross, about 100 yards down from Euston Rd. The strike is for shifts that book on between21:59 hours on Thursday 17th September 2009 and 21:59 on Saturday 19th September 2009.

The main book-on times are 08.00 and 14.00, so a good time to be there is Friday 7.30 am and 13.30 and the same on Saturday. Shift start times are 2200; 0600; 0800; 1400; 1530 so there should be pickets in place before those times, if not all day.

Carlisle gives Cleaners 14.3% more! (But only to scabs!)

A source at Carlisle cleaners has informed RMT that the company is actively recruiting a workforce of scabs to work at Eurostar during the 48-hour strike and that these strike breakers will receive £8 per hour, over 14% more than the cleaners on the contract.

Carlisle is also actively seeking strike action rather than wanting to negotiate as it wants to break the RMT at Eurostar and other Carlisle contracts. In an email to Carlisle managers, Simon Wisdom the Business Transport Manager says:

“in truth we welcome the strike, we want the union to come to us cap in hand, it gives us the opportunity to break the union and its stranglehold at Eurostar and other Carlisle contract.”

“Contract managers are to run their contract light of staff so that they can be deployed to Eurostar St Pancras for which we will pay £8 per hour.”

So Carlisle’s other clients will be subsidising Carlisle’s dispute while being left short of labour during the strike. Eurostar itself seems content to go along with Carlisle’s tactics. The scab workforce will get paid 14% more than the Eurostar workforce, while many that will be brought to the contract may be on minimum wage of £5.73 normally.

It is disgraceful that Carlisle should spend time, effort and money like this in trying to break RMT organisation for low paid cleaners. But our cleaner members are determined to stand up to this bullying employer and determined to win decent pay and conditions.  


• A failure by the company to make any offer of a pay increase for 2009 and an underhand attempt to push back the pay settlement date by nine months into 2010.

• The announcement of 14 compulsory redundancies amongst Eurostar cleaners at St Pancras International despite the fact that the service is under-staffed and already struggling to cope.

• Continuing pressure on staff to use “Orwellian” finger printing machines at St Pancras International, which have replaced traditional clocking in machines, with some staff being coerced into using the finger printing machines despite a clear vote by RMT members to boycott their introduction.

• Victimisation of Mohammed Yellow , an RMT representative, who has been suspended for ten weeks on charges that RMT believes to be false. RMT also has a catalogue of other cases of bullying and harassment of staff.

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said:

“Staff working for Carlisle Group, cleaning the modern and high tech Eurostar trains at St Pancras International, have been subjected to some of the most draconian working conditions in the entire UK transport industry. It’s like a cross between the Dark Ages and 1984 and RMT has decided that enough is enough.

“We cannot have a situation where cleaners preparing the high profile, flagship Eurostar fleet of trains are treated by the private cleaning company engaged by Eurostar in this disgraceful way. We will begin balloting for strike action on 25th August 2009 and will be calling for public support and particularly from the Eurostar passengers who benefit from the hard work of the cleaning crew.”