A sacked rail worker told trade unionists today how she spent four years running Tube stations on half normal pay rates before heartless bosses laid her off at Christmas, leaving her homeless.
Activists at the RMT union's black and minority ethnic (BME) conference in Glasgow called for a national solidarity campaign following an emotional speech from ex-agency worker Alexis Bailey.
Ms Bailey, one of the "Bakerloo 33" group of sacked agency workers who say they have been victimised by London Underground (LU), told delegates she had begun working on the line four years ago as a temp for contractors Train People.
Some agency staff had been there for up to five years, she said, and even wore identical London Underground uniforms - but all were on rolling six-month contracts with wages of as little as £6.75 an hour.
London Underground pays its permanent employees between £15.36 and £18 an hour for the same work managing ticket gates and platforms.
Then in December London Underground axed Train People's contract - and told its 40-strong workforce their jobs had been externally advertised.
"This isn't just a job for me, this is my life," a tearful Ms Bailey said.
"I got evicted from where I was living, I've been homeless since the seventh of December.
"It's the campaigning and being around my colleagues that's kept me going."
Ms Bailey told the Morning Star she had sat a "role play" interview, but she and five others were still waiting for the response.
But others had not even made it as far as the interview.
"We're not begging for jobs - we just want the jobs we already had. Don't put us in your bloody uniforms if we're not good enough," she said.
Finsbury delegate Petrit Mihaj said it was "no coincidence" that 39 of the contract's 40 workers were people of colour.
"We're clearly against agencies, but not against agency workers. These people were used and abused and re-abused again.
"They've been doing this job for five years and now they've been failed. If they've been good enough to do that job for five years they're good enough to keep going," he said.
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