Socialist Worker

Fight to defend every job on the underground

by a tube worker
Issue No. 2214

The result of the strike ballot of RMT union members over job cuts on London Underground was due on Thursday of this week.

The RMT and TSSA unions are balloting against cuts that would see 800 workers on stations and platforms sacked.

Both unions have agreed to plan a joint rally to determine co-ordinated strike dates.

Management are threatening to up the stakes by ripping up agreements, including one that guarantees no compulsory redundancies.

The declared job losses are just the tip of the iceberg with further phased cuts planned. Management are using the recession to push through cuts, reorganise the workforce and increase the workload.

The unions are right to fight and only determined strike action can stop London Underground’s plans. However, there are dangers ahead.

Management claim that there are no job losses—no one is to receive a P45 as the losses are just positions.

This is false. Lost positions are job losses. Additionally, the number of disciplinaries and sackings has increased.

The danger is that the unions’ delay in balloting—the announcements were made in April—could mean that management have already stacked up enough vacancies to achieve their target.

We could now be in a position of a rearguard fight over roster changes and safety implications resulting from a trimmed workforce.

We need to fight hard to defend the no compulsory redundancy agreement.

But the battle against compulsory redundancies is not the same as that against all job losses.

The employers often offer financial packages to existing employees as a means to avoid a fight.

As unemployment rises, the employed must fight against the bosses’ attempts to make us pay for their crisis. We must ensure that we don’t pull up the ladder from unemployed people’s right to work.

A victory proclaimed under a no compulsory redundancy agreement can often disguise the fact that jobs have been sold through the back door.

We need to take a principled stance against all job losses—even where we fail to achieve our full demands. This is vital to rally the rank and file for the fights to come.

Drivers in the Aslef union were to strike on Wednesday of this week on the Metropolitan line. They are in dispute over the dismissal of a driver in Rickmansworth.

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