Tyne and Wear Metro cleaners walked out today for a 12th day of 24-hour strike action against poverty pay.
The RMT members, employed by contractor Churchill, lobbied transport bosses at the quarterly meeting of the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority.
About three dozen took up posts in the public gallery.
RMT said the workers' fight for pay and workplace fairness had become a symbol of its support for transport cleaners across Britain.
"This battle has taken on a national significance as part of RMT's campaign against low pay imposed by greedy contractors on cleaners and other essential transport staff," general secretary Bob Crow said.
"Our members have shown their resolve to keep up that fight until they win.
"Metro users have shown enormous sympathy to our members over the many months of this dispute, and we would ask them to raise the issue with their local councillors and MPs."
The strikers were out on the picket lines early today and were joined by RMT members who had travelled from Manchester.
A soup kitchen was also set up outside the Civic Centre.
During their demonstration PCS members, probably working on flexi-time, came out of the Civic Centre to give support.
At the meeting, RMT assistant general secretary Steve Hedley told committee members that the cleaners were on poverty pay and Churchill should end the exploitation.
Workers chanted "Low pay - no way" during the meeting and north-east regional organiser Craig Johnson said committee members took notice.
The group left and then went to demonstrate outside the local Journal and Chronicle newspaper offices.
Mr Johnson, who praised the RMT members who travelled from Manchester and the PCS supporters, said: "It was a really successful day. It was absolutely rock-solid across all three shifts."
Mr Crow said: "Our members have made it quite clear that they will press on with their fight until Churchill is forced, one way or another, to pay a fair wage and offer decent conditions to Metro cleaners.
"While our members have been handed real-terms pay cuts and get no sick pay or pension, the company has more than doubled its profits and its boss has seen his pay rise by 18 per cent to £160,000 over the last five years.
"That is a disgrace. These cleaners are employed as essential staff on a public service, and it is the moral responsibility of the bosses to insist that they get decent pay and conditions."
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