Socialist Worker

Tube Lines is a fight for job security

by Julie Sherry and Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2208

The solid strike last week by Tube Lines maintenance workers on London Underground rocked management.

The 48-hour strike by RMT union members on three tube lines was over jobs, pay and working conditions.

Other tube workers refused to work on safety grounds, as the Emergency Response Unit was hit by the dispute.

Bosses want to make tube workers bear the cost for the failure of tube privatisation.

Boris Johnson, London’s Tory mayor, recently brought Tube Lines back in-house after the private consortium’s failures.

But the attacks are continuing against the workforce with job losses being driven through across the tube network.

Workers at Tube Lines are concerned about job security as over 500 jobs at the firm are under threat.

They are demanding a one-year pay deal, no job losses, no imposition of rosters and parity with workers at the Metronet maintenance firm.

There was a good spirit on picket lines.

Workers realise they are in a dispute that will determine the balance of forces in the battles to come.

“We are on strike to protect our jobs and conditions – it’s not about the money,” said Michael Keown, an RMT rep at Cockfosters depot.

“We want job security, parity and to protect the travelling public,” said Peter a health and safety rep at the same depot.

“We are fighting to defend the service against bosses’ proposed changes, which will have an adverse impact on health and safety.”

Adam, an RMT rep at Stratford. said, “Management intend to bring in changes that will enable them to make the workforce more flexible.

“Not having set rosters is a key issue for us. We want acceptable working conditions.

“Imagine how you would feel if you were told that in order to keep your job you could potentially never have a weekend off again.”

Many RMT activists were disappointed that the union called off a strike by workers at Serco Docklands, which was due to take place at the same time as Tube Lines workers took their action.

The union received a new offer on payments for increased workloads. Workers are meeting to discuss and vote on the offer.

Tube Lines’ workers are set to take action for 48-hours from 7pm on Wednesday 14 July.

Activists need to step up the fight for solidarity, and more staff must refuse to work on the basis of health and safety rules.

The RMT launched a cross-London Underground industrial action ballot against job losses this week.

This must be won and acted upon.

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