RMT reveals Tube cleaning contract puts cost-cutting and profits before safety

The RMT has revealed Transport for London’s contract with outsourcing company ABM shows the contractor is scored more for how successful they are in cutting jobs than in cleaning trains and stations.

The performance measurement matrix used by TfL shows only 8% of the company’s quarterly score is based on how well it cleans the seats, hand rails, hangers, arms rests and floors of trains or how well they clean station platforms, seats and floors.

By contrast, 30% of the company’s score is judged according to how much effort goes into cutting money from the contract and how much is saved. The proceeds of these savings are split equally between TfL and ABM.

The documents reveal the contact is designed to incentivise the company to cut costs from the cleaning contract. A ‘Contract Innovation Efficiency’ clause commits ABM to seeking to cut 1% from the contract costs every year. TfL documents acknowledge that around 85% of costs on the Underground contract are accounted for by labour – cleaners’ jobs. ABM cut hundreds of cleaners’ jobs in 2019, while its staff receive inferior pensions and sick pay and do not have access to TfL travel passes, unlike other TfL employees.

The RMT has called on Sadiq Khan to follow the example set by the Welsh Labour government last week when it agreed to work with RMT to bring cleaners working on the Wales and Borders Franchise into direct employment with Transport for Wales.

RMT senior assistant general secretary Mick Lynch said: “At this time when we’re battling a global pandemic, when the essential importance of cleaning has never been more apparent, it can’t be right that the Underground is being cleaned by a company who are being rewarded more for cutting costs than cleaning trains and stations.

“This contract is a sackers’ charter and we know from the NHS that cutting jobs and employment costs makes cleaning less effective and less safe. We urge Sadiq Khan to follow the example set by the Welsh Labour government and sit down with us to work out how to bring this service in-house again. when the contract ends in 2022.”

  • Like this story? Please support our work here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.