The cleaners will become the latest group of railway workers to strike over wages, after more than 1,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union voted in favor of industrial action.
The RMT is calling for pay to be increased to £15 an hour with improved pensions, sick pay and furlough from private contractors including Churchill, Atalian Servest and Mitie.
The union’s national executive committee will decide next week on strike days.
This will be the first national strike by cleaners who are members of the RMT. They join workers, nurses and other Royal Mail rail staff who have announced a strike in recent days.
This week, the RMT announced a series of 48-hour strikes in an ongoing dispute over jobs, wages and conditions. This will mean disruption for passengers on December 13 and 14, and then on December 16 and 17 as Christmas approaches. Other dates are planned in January.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said Network Rail had failed to deliver an improved offer after a fortnight of negotiations, and the Rail Delivery Group pulled out of short-term talks on Monday. Lynch said the government was blocking a deal.
The workers have already been on strike in June, July, August, October and November. The industrial action scheduled for September was postponed after the Queen’s death.
The announcement came as members of the train drivers’ union, Aslef, went on strike over wages on Saturday.
This meant most direct intercity trains on the mainlines from London to Scotland and Wales were canceled with no services running at all on operators including Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, CrossCountry, Northern and Southeastern.
Train drivers were also elected to a new six-month window for a possible strike.
Staff from special demands teams at seven London Underground stations were on strike over pay on Thursday, while on Friday around 1,000 Abellio bus drivers in London, members of Unite, began a 10-day strike in a wage dispute.
Lynch said, “This is a historic result and I commend the cleaners across the entire transportation system.
“It is outrageous that multi-million pound businesses are making top notch profits without paying cleaners properly.
“RMT will fight every step of the way to end the overexploitation of contract cleaners and won’t stop until these greedy companies pay.”