The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

ABM Accused of Risking Tube Staff’s Safety Whilst Doubling Profits 

ABM Accused of Risking TfL Staff’s Safety Whilst Doubling Profits 
15 December 2020
 

London Underground's cleaners have been left overstretched by cutbacks to staff numbers and do not receive the same pension provision as TfL colleagues, according to the RMT.

In a letter to The Guardian newspaper, the General Secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) Mick Cash has accused ABM UK, who holds the cleaning contract for the London Underground, of doubling their yearly profits at the expense of staff safety.

The letter states that cleaners on the London Underground do not receive the same pension provision as their Transport for London (TfL) counterparts and they are not entitled to free travel on the network they clean. 

It also says that “their workloads have soared as the company has cut back their numbers every year since the contract began, leaving them desperately overstretched during the pandemic.”

Cash added: “Meanwhile, by shaving costs off the contract in this way, ABM has doubled its profits in the last year. This is no way to treat heroic workers who have been on the frontline of the fight against the virus. It’s not fair, and it’s toying with the safety of the tube.”

John McPherson, ABM UK's Managing Director told ThisWeekinFM in a statement: "Our priority is always to provide a clean and safe underground network for our team and commuters. 

McPherson also denies that there have been any cut backs to staff numbers:

"Since the pandemic began, we have been working closely with TfL to deliver a comprehensive cleaning and disinfectant programme that goes beyond normal cleaning procedures. As a result of this approach, there have been no job losses during the pandemic."

 

"London underground cleaning is outsourced to a company called ABM. The cleaners do not receive the same pension provision as their Transport for London counterparts and they are not entitled to free travel on the network they clean. Their workloads have soared as the company has cut back their numbers every year since the contract began, leaving them desperately overstretched during the pandemic."

–Mick Cash

General Secretary, National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

 

RMT Urges London Underground Cleaning Contract to be Brought In-House

 

ABM’s contract, awarded for five years in 2017, includes the cleaning of tube stations and trains, bus depots, head office buildings and the London Transport Museum.

Cash is urging Sadiq Khan to bring this contract in-house, when it comes up in 2022.

It is one of six facilities management contracts that have been consolidated from 50 as part of TfL's work to deliver the mayor's plans to improve public transport whilst reducing day-to-day operating costs and delivering the best possible value for money.

In a TfL press release at the time of the announcement, it was revealed that the new contract included a commitment to pay employees the London Living Wage as well as a reduction in the number of agency workers throughout the lifetime of the contract.

 

"Our priority is always to provide a clean and safe underground network for our team and commuters. Since the pandemic began, we have been working closely with TfL to deliver a comprehensive cleaning and disinfectant programme that goes beyond normal cleaning procedures. As a result of this approach, there have been no job losses during the pandemic."

–John McPherson

Managing Director, ABM UK

 

 

ABM UK employs just over 5,500 people, and is a facilities management provider specialising in custom facility solutions.

Current customers include major international banks and law firms, retail and leisure venues, concert halls, public buildings, transportation centres and airports.

ABM UK is a subsidiary of ABM, a leading provider of facility solutions with revenues of approximately $5.5 billion and over 130,000 employees in 350+ offices throughout the United States and various international locations. 

Picture: a photograph of the interior of a London Underground station

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 15 December 2020

Share



Related Articles

Editorial Review | Cleaning & Security Staff – Key Worker Status and Mitigating Coronavirus Risk

Join the Editorial Team for their February FM review. Daisy, Bailey and Ella discuss the key worker vaccination debate, in light of calls for cleaners to...

 Read Full Article
Priority COVID Vaccines for Cleaners – Industry Reactions

With the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the cleaning sector inaugurated, how do the facilities managers who employ cleaners feel about the vaccine debate? The Joint...

 Read Full Article
British Library Extension to Include Commercial Office Space

The British Library is to have an 800,000 sq ft extension to its King’s Cross site, with construction beginning in 2023. There will also be 100,000 sq ft of new...

 Read Full Article
Cleaning Industry APPG Launches to Recognise Cleaners as Key Workers

The proposed All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the cleaning and hygiene sector has been inaugurated.   A total of 53 MPs and three Members of the...

 Read Full Article
Transport for London Travel Advice for Construction Workers is “Dangerous”, Says Unite

Advice from Transport for London that urges construction workers to avoid public transport and cycle instead is being criticised by Unite. Unite, the UK’s...

 Read Full Article
A Third of Workers Miss Commuting

After working from home for almost a year, a third of UK workers say they miss their morning and evening commute. Recruiter Randstad UK, asked home workers how they...

 Read Full Article
Parliamentary Group Calls for Key Worker Status and Vaccines for Cleaners

A proposed All-Party Parliamentary Group for the cleaning and hygiene industry will push for key worker status for cleaners, for the vital work they are doing in tackling...

 Read Full Article
British Cleaning Council Urges Public To Respect Rules to Protect Hygiene Operatives

The Chair of the British Cleaning Council is asking the public to respect the “hands-face-space” guidelines to protect cleaners working at the forefront of...

 Read Full Article
COVID Vaccine – Have Frontline Cleaning and Security Staff Been Missed?

The FM industry is urging the government to prioritise cleaning and security staff in the COVID vaccine rollout. In the current programme, drawn up by The Joint...

 Read Full Article
BCC to Create Cleaning Sector Parliamentary Group

The British Cleaning Council is sponsoring the creation of an All-Party Parliamentary Group to represent the cleaning and hygiene sector in the Houses of...

 Read Full Article