Socialist Worker

Cuts to staff on tube put us all at risk

Issue No. 2086

Station staff on London Underground’s Bakerloo Line struck for the sixth time on Friday of last week in their fight against plans to cut safety on the tube.

Members of the RMT rail workers’ union have been fighting plans to cut the number of station staff who ask passengers to get off when trains terminate and then check that carriages are empty.

Workers ensure that passengers are not accidentally carried into a sidings or a depot, sometimes overnight, which in the past has even led to people dying.

But some passengers resent being asked to get off a train, particularly when it is being taken out of service early, and can become abusive or violent.

Management wants just one worker to do this, instead of the two who do this currently, reducing safety for both passengers and workers.

London Underground took over the running of some of the stations last November, and now wants to push through cuts.

This is all despite London mayor Ken Livingstone’s pledge to improve safety on the tube.

London Underground is pushing through cost-cutting plans across the tube.

It wants to close ticket offices, introduce agency staff and security guards into the workforce, and attack safety standards.

In order to ram through the cuts, both management and Ken Livingstone want to weaken the RMT – particularly in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

In such a climate, action such as that by the workers on Bakerloo Line is essential to keeping the tube safe for all.

Respect’s Lindsey German says, “I want to bring back conductors and guards on all transport to make it safer and more pleasant.

“And I want all stations to be staffed when they are open.

“I want good wages, conditions and training for all who work on transport, and full recognition of union rights.”

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