Tube workers in London were set to strike on Monday after a magnificent vote for action to stop privatisation wrecking health and safety. Tube bosses were threatening to go to the courts to try and undermine the action as Socialist Worker went to press.
Members of the RMT union voted by over 90 percent for strikes. In the ASLEF drivers' union the vote was 73 percent. 'No one takes strike action lightly, but lives are at stake,' said tube driver Oliver New. Strikes cannot come a moment too soon. The government is this week pressing ahead with plans to privatise and break up the tube in the same disastrous way as has happened on the mainline rail network.
'I've worked for London Underground for 12 years. I started not long after 31 had died in the King's Cross fire. Since then I've seen Southall, Paddington and Hatfield on the mainline rail service, and I don't want it happening on the tube.'
Tube driver, Seven Sisters, north London
Press smears won't wash
Tory newspaper owners are spreading lies about the tube workers' action. The London Metro, part of the Daily Mail empire, claimed last week that tube workers were fighting for 'jobs for life', not safety. 'Everyone knows privatisation will lead to an appalling drop in safety standards as it has on the railway,' says Louise Christian, a solicitor representing victims of the Southall and Ladbroke Grove rail disasters.
'It's a dirty, lying propaganda campaign,' one tube worker at Liverpool Street station told Socialist Worker. 'I don't think it will work. Passengers have been telling me that they are pleased we have voted to strike. They hope the action will kill privatisation.'
'We need support'
'This is a fight that we cannot afford to lose,' says a driver on the Northern Line. 'That's why we need solidarity.' Meetings to organise solidarity have already taken place in north, east and west London. Strikes have been called for Monday 5 February and on the following two Mondays, 12 and 19 February. Everyone in London should be organising solidarity.