Career guide & advice: what to look for in train cleaning jobs in Birmingham, London and other major cities in the UK

Let’s face it—many people would rather not work as train cleaners. Part of the reason why this is the case is because some train cleaning companies behave as though they don’t want to pay cleaners their wages at all! These companies pay workers below-inflation rates and are quick to cut the wages at the slightest excuse. They forget that the country’s train service would be a total mess without the cleaners.

According to RMT (www.rmt.org.uk), the union that leads the fight for fair pay for railway industry cleaners, this behaviour is unacceptable. Here’s what RMT recommends you should look for when considering train cleaning jobs in Birmingham, London and other UK cities.


Look out for train cleaning jobs in Birmingham, London and other cities where hiring companies have a clear pay and grading structure. A company that has a clear pay and grading structure will usually also have a clear promotion route for workers.

RMT advocates for at least a national living wage starting pay for entry level cleaning positions. This should increases to £10 per hour as cleaners gain additional experience and/or qualifications. At the cleaning supervisor level, appropriate salary should also be awarded. Also, look out for companies that offer unsocial hours payment as compensation for any night, weekend or bank holiday work.

Sick pay

Many cleaning service companies only give their workers the statutory sick pay. Consider the sick pay scheme of hiring companies. RMT says railway cleaners should have a proper sick pay scheme similar to what other railway employees in Network Rail and train operating companies get. Consider different hiring companies until you find one that satisfyies this criteria. Similarly, try and find companies that offer cleaners decent pension. This will ensure dignity in old age.

Working hours

The majority of railway workers in the UK have a basic working week of 35 hours. RMT says there is no reason cleaners should be denied a similar basic working week. Look out for companies where cleaners are not required to work longer hours. Try and find companies where you can work a basic working week of about 35 hours without loss of earnings.

Bottom line

Cleaners deserve dignity and respect at work. If you secure train cleaning jobs in Birmingham, London or any other city in the UK, join RMT. As a member of RMT you will be entitled to an RMT representative in all grievance and disciplinary hearings with managers. The union will fight to improve and protect your wages and working conditions.

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