Socialist Worker

London Underground strike lays basis for London ballot

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2149

Striking Victoria Line workers (Pic: Leslie Watts)

Striking Victoria Line workers (Pic: Leslie Watts)

London Underground drivers shut down the whole of the Victoria Line in a 24-hour strike from 9pm on Tuesday of last week.

The strike, by RMT transport union members, saw significant solidarity from members of the train drivers’ Aslef union.

The dispute is over management’s failure to install correct door side enabling equipment on trains on the line.

This is a fail-safe mechanism that prevents doors on the side of the train facing away from the platform being opened when a train is in the station. It has been installed on trains on every other underground line.

Workers are also angry about the sacking of train driver Carl Campbell, after an incident that the equipment would have prevented, and the victimisation of RMT activist Glenroy Watson.

Glenroy told Socialist Worker, “The strike was undoubtedly solid. All drivers on the line acted in solidarity, irrespective of what union they were in.

“People can only be pushed so far. We haven’t got the right equipment, and management have resolved to sack people.

“We have yet to have a discussion about what our next action should be. We’re going to assess what’s happening with the London-wide reballot first.

“Management now want to talk to us about the safety equipment, where I also hope we will be talking about the driver that they have sacked.”

Some 10,000 RMT union members across London Underground and Transport for London are preparing to be reballoted over strike action about job losses, pay and management bullying.

The workers voted overwhelmingly for action last month, but bosses used the anti-union laws and picked on minor discrepancies to

challenge the ballot. The RMT national executive then made the decision to reballot, which is expected to start next week.

Activists are mobilising to win an even bigger yes vote this time and are preparing the ground for a major battle, which could mean defying the law if bosses again resort to the anti-union laws.

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Article information

Tue 28 Apr 2009, 19:01 BST
Issue No. 2149
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