Socialist Worker

Tube drivers’ union leaders fail the test

Issue No. 2156

Leaders of the Aslef train drivers’ union told their members to continue to work as normal during the strike.

The fact that Aslef members crossed picket lines, along with managers working overtime, meant that bosses were able to keep some of the tube network running.

Keith Norman, the Aslef general secretary, told the Evening Standard newspaper, “Our members are not involved in this dispute. We believe this dispute can be solved through negotiation.

“The fact that so many Aslef drivers have turned up for work today is highly significant.

“In the past Aslef drivers would have refused to cross picket lines in support of a rival union. This however is evidently not the case today.”

Despite this, a number of Aslef members defied their union leaders and management, and refused to cross picket lines.

This was a reminder of the solidarity that has been forged on the tube over the last few years.

RMT members refused to cross Aslef picket lines in 2001, helping to win the agreement on compulsory redundancies that management are now trying to steamroller.

More recently Aslef members have shown solidarity with RMT members on the Victoria Line who have struck for two days over safety and the sacking of drivers.

The call by Aslef leaders last week for the crossing of picket lines was a breach in the unity of workers and the traditions of solidarity,

An RMT member said, “If Aslef had come out with us it would have strengthened our position and we would have won by now. We should all be fighting for the same things.

“Our struggle is taking place in the biggest recession since the 1930s. Anything that makes scabbing respectable must be stamped on.”

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