Socialist Worker

Stoppage shunts the tube bosses

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2157

Tube workers on the picket line at King’s Cross station two weeks ago (Pic: http://www.guysmallman.com/» Guy Smallman )

Tube workers on the picket line at King’s Cross station two weeks ago (Pic: » Guy Smallman)


The powerful 48-hour strike by London Underground and Transport for London workers two weeks ago has forced management back to the negotiating table.

Talks between the RMT union and management are set to take place at the Acas conciliation service this week. London Underground workers are adamant that the company must concede to their demands or face further strikes.

The reality of management’s aims were laid bare last week when it announced that it will make £60 million worth of cuts on lines previously maintained by the private Metronet consortium.

As a result of the group’s failure, which could cost up to £410 million, London Underground wants to slash £26.1 million from track and signals, £18.9 million from fleet and trains and £18.5 million from stations over the next three years.

This will have a huge impact on passenger safety.

RMT members are fighting against thousands of jobs cuts, a five-year pay deal that will mean a cut in wages in real terms, and management bullying.

They are demanding that bosses withdraw their threat to tear up a 2001 agreement with the RMT and Aslef unions which guaranteed no compulsory redundancies.

An RMT member at the Stonebridge Park depot told Socialist Worker, “The company wants to make millions of pounds worth of cuts, and its main outlay is on workers.

“We cannot allow these plans to go through. The company says that the people who will lose their jobs are ‘backroom’ staff, but the union believes they are all valued workers.

“We need to keep the guarantee on compulsory redundancies, and we need a fair pay rise.

“Support for the fight is not wavering among members. Their view is that they are prepared to go out on strike again.

“Management are already taking away vacant job posts, meaning that we have fewer people to do the job than in the past.

“If these cuts go through then the travelling public will suffer, as there will be an impact on safety.

“There are reports that some members of the Aslef train drivers’ union are unhappy at the role of their leaders, who instructed them to work as usual during our strike.

“This was against basic trade union solidarity. What would happen if the construction workers at Lindsey and other sites did this? We need unity to win our fight.

“Our union is in a strong position and we can’t afford to waver. If the talks do not reach a resolution then we will need a further bout of strikes.”


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Tue 23 Jun 2009, 18:19 BST
Issue No. 2157
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