Page last updated at 08:05 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 09:05 UK

Tube cleaners' strike under way

Tube platform
Nine London MPs have backed the strike

A 48-hour strike is under way by cleaners on the London Underground in a row over pay and conditions.

More than 700 cleaners employed by four sub-contractors walked out at 1850 BST on Tuesday. The strike follows a 24-hour stoppage last week.

The members of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union want hourly rates to be raised from 5.50 to 7.20 plus improved holidays and pensions.

Transport for London (TfL) called the strike action "completely unnecessary".

The union wants the cleaners' pay to be set at 7.20 an hour, which is the London living wage.

This figure is recommended by the Greater London Authority, and is a minimum hourly rate for a full-time employee to cover the basic costs of living in London.

'Solidly supported'

A TfL spokesman said: "Following the transfer of Metro net to TfL, we will be working with Metronet and its sub-contractors to ensure that they pay their employees who work on the Tube the London living wage.

"We have already reassured all interested parties, notably the trade unions, that we are taking this commitment forward."

But RMT leader Bob Crow said negotiations had hardly begun.

He said three cleaning companies with contracts with Metronet are currently in talks with TfL and "paying the London living wage isn't even on the agenda".

A RMT spokesman said: "We expect the strike to be solidly supported as the last one was."

Last month, 24 London MPs backed an early day motion tabled by Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell supporting the cleaners.


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