Socialist Worker

Tube strikes are in the pipeline as disputes come together

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2179

RMT transport union members on London Underground this week started a ballot for strikes over pay – just as Unite union members voted for action short of a strike over the issue.

Management has offered a two year deal, with 1.5 percent from 1 April this year.

Year two would be the RPI rate of inflation plus 0.5 percent or just 0.5 percent – whichever is the greater – from 1 April next year.

Workers in Unite and the RMT have overwhelmingly rejected the deal. The RMT ballot ends on 21 December.

When the 10,000 RMT members struck in June over pay, bullying and job cuts it had a huge effect on the tube network, and had the result of bosses reducing the proposed pay deal from five to two years.

A number of other disputes are currently taking place on the underground.

The RMT began balloting four groups of workers for strikes last week. These are:

  • EDF Energy Powerlink where a reballot of members in support of this year’s pay claim is taking place after bosses used the anti-union laws to overturn a five to one vote for action in an over 80 percent turnout. Unite members have also voted for strikes at EDF.
  • Hammersmith depot drivers are in dispute over the imposition of rosters and duty schedules without the agreement of local representatives.
  • Stratford Market Depot and Alstom Metro Trains where there was a failure to agree on harmonisation of terms and conditions.
  • Willesden Green Group station staff are angry over the dismissal of Colleen Johnston, a station supervisor.

Signalling workers in the Wales and the Marches Operations area are balloting for industrial action over the imposition of rosters at the new South Wales Control Centre, which is due to open in January.

The ballot of RMT members is set to end on Thursday of next week.

Bob Crow, the RMT general secretary, said, “Our members are furious at the attempt to bulldoze through these rosters, which we believe are all about saving money and which unilaterally rip up existing agreements.

“RMT maintains that the existing 12 hour roster is tried and tested and that the eight hour roster that Network Rail is trying to impose will have damaging consequences.”

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Article information

Tue 24 Nov 2009, 18:05 GMT
Issue No. 2179
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