Govia Thameslink Railway contract out the work to Churchill for Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services, while Southeastern employs Wettons.
But the RMT union says it is balloting staff at both companies over industrial action in its ‘fight for workplace justice for cleaners on Britain’s railways’.
The ballots are due to open on Monday (September 4) and will be for both strike action and action short of a strike.
A spokesman for Churchill Service Solutions said: “We have been notified by the RMT that it will be balloting Churchill Service Solutions workers over rates of pay and working conditions.
“We will not comment further until we know the outcome of this ballot however Churchill Service Solutions takes its responsibilities towards staff and contractors very seriously and are committed to working constructively with all parties involved.”
Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said: “Rail companies are making a fortune out of Britain’s privatised railways. The travelling public will know full well just what an essential service the cleaning team plays on both the GTR and Southeastern routes.
“These two separate disputes have a common thread and that is the attempt to lock in low pay levels for cleaners and the continuing refusal to upgrade working conditions.”
He explained how the union remains available for talks, adding: “RMT will not allow Southern/GTR and Southeastern to wash their hands of these disputes and the issues at their core. They let these contracts to Churchills and Wettons.”
A spokesman for GTR said: “This is a matter for Churchill who won and operate this contract, and we would encourage both sides to seek a solution.”
A Southeastern spokesman said: “This is a matter for Wettons who operate the contract with Southeastern. We encourage both sides to get round the table and resolve the dispute.”