A solid strike by thousands of members of the RMT transport union at London Underground and Transport for London severely hit tube services from 7pm tonight.
The workers are striking for 48-hours demanding decent pay, and an end to management’s planned job cuts and the bullying of staff.
Pickets and supporters gathered outside Kings Cross and Liverpool Street stations. Workers will also picket their workplaces and depots over the next two days.
While the bosses and the media claim that the union is solely to blame for the strike, RMT activists have the opposite story to tell.
Many believe that management have provoked the strike in an attempt to weaken the union—and management’s behaviour in the run-up to the strike will not have increased workers’ faith in their good will.
Steve Hedley, the RMT London regional organiser, told strikers at Liverpool Street tonight, “There was a document agreed by both sides tonight that would have seen an agreement reached that would have meant the strike was called off.
“But then management got a call and they said they couldn’t sign the agreement. They said that this advice came from lawyers, but the RMT believes that it was from City Hall—the office of London mayor Boris Johnson.
“We say to commuters that we’re sorry and we tried our best to resolve the dispute, but somebody intervened to stop an agreement. And we say to Boris Johnson get out of your bunker and get into negotiations.”
RMT members are determined to win on all three issues.
Clare Reilly, an RMT member at East Ham station, told Socialist Worker, “Management need to realize that they need to sit down seriously and talk to us. We will not be bullied into doing what we don’t want to.
“If there is no movement from management we will need to go for strikes again. We have no intention of backing down. They always assume that everyone is against us, but it’s not true. There are many people who wish they had a union that would fight for them.
“Maybe our fight can inspire other unions to stand up for their members.”
The strike continues until 7pm on Thursday.