Cleaners will become the latest set of rail staff to strike over pay, after more than 1,000 who are members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) voted in support of taking industrial action.
The RMT is asking for pay to rise to £15 an hour with improved pensions, company sick pay and holiday entitlement from private contractors including Churchill, Atalian Servest and Mitie.
The union’s national executive committee will decide next week which days strike action will take place.
It will be the first national strike by cleaners who are members of the RMT. They join Royal Mail workers, nurses and other rail staff who have announced strike action in recent days.
This week, the RMT announced a series of 48-hour strikes in an ongoing dispute over jobs, pay and conditions. It will mean disruption for passengers on 13 and 14 December, and again on 16 and 17 of December in the run-up to Christmas. Other dates are planned in January.
The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, has said that Network Rail has failed to give an improved offer after a fortnight of negotiations, and the Rail Delivery Group pulled out of discussions at short notice on Monday. Lynch has said that the government is blocking a deal.
Workers have already been on strike in June, July, August, October and November. Industrial action planned for September was postponed after the Queen’s death.
The announcement came as members of the train drivers union, Aslef, were on strike over pay on Saturday.
It meant that most direct intercity trains on mainlines from London to Scotland and Wales were cancelled, with no services running at all on operators including Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, CrossCountry, Northern and Southeastern.
Train drivers have also been balloted over a further six-month window for potential strike action.
Staff in the special requirement teams at seven London Underground stations were on strike on Thursday over pay, while on Friday about 1,000 Abellio bus drivers in London who are members of Unite began 10 days of strikes in a pay dispute.
Lynch said: “This is a historic result and I congratulate cleaner members across the transport network.
“It is scandalous that multimillion-pound companies are making hand over fist profits while not paying cleaners properly.
“RMT will fight every step of the way to end the super-exploitation of contracted-out cleaners and will not rest until these greedy companies pay up.”