COMMUTERS travelling from Taunton to London by train this morning (Thursday) were greeted by this group of striking workers.

The Servest cleaners have downed mops in a dispute with Great Western Railway over pay and 'workplace justice'.

These workers were pictured today at Paddington Station.

The RMT union's general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT’s cleaner members on GWR will not stand by while they are mercilessly exploited by privateers and while rail companies fill their coffers and fares soar through the roof‎.

"The strike action is rock solid this morning and its about time Great Western stopped washing their hands of this low-pay and exploitation scandal on their doorstep and stepped in to sort it out. "

The train and station cleaners walked out for two days before Christmas over a number of issues including pay, parity with GWR staff, annual leave, provision of safety clothing and an agreement for a permanent workforce and an end to the use of agency workers.

The RMT union says it want current agency workers to be made GWR members of staff to end what it views as a two-tier workforce.

The issues have come to a head as a result of the failure of members terms and conditions to be safeguarded when they were transferred over to Servest UK from Mitie on the GWR contract.

Servest Group began a three-year cleaning contract in August to provide cleaning services to 102 stations, including Taunton, and 150 trains for the GWR franchise.

A GWR spokesman told the County Gazette last month that it did not expect the industrial action to affect its services and called for both parties to sit down for talks to resolve the dispute.