Socialist Worker

Solid maintenance strike on Jubilee and Northern Underground lines

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2218

RMT union members who maintain trains on the Jubilee and Northern lines in London held a rock solid 24-hour strike from 7pm on Sunday over pay.

The strength of the feeling was shown when around 20 workers picketed their employer Alstom’s depot at Stratford Market depot on Sunday.

Clive Murray, RMT health and safety rep at the depot, told Socialist Worker, “Management have had a 12 percent pay rise and there are record dividends for shareholders, but we only get a 2 percent pay offer.

“This comes after staff across London Underground won a 4.2 percent rise.”

While the tube and Alstom workers disputes are over separate issues, strikers saw links between the fights.

“Transport for London wants to make major cuts,” said Clive. “It wants to increase the time between maintenance checks on trains—so it won’t need so many people doing the work.

“It may be station staff losing their jobs now, but it will be others soon. We all need to stick together.”

Workers are also angry as bosses offered people double time pay to break the strike while claiming that they cannot afford a decent pay rise.

But this had little impact and the strike affected the running of the Northern Line.

Workers now plan to work to rule and also to strike again from 7pm for 24 hours on Saturday 2 October, Monday 1 November and Saturday 27 November.

“Management say they’ve got enough staff but whenever you go in there’s lots of overtime on the board,” said Clive. “The strikes are a show of strength and the overtime ban will hit them hard.”

The union was pleased with the level of support for the first action across the firm for a number of years.

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Article information

Tue 7 Sep 2010, 17:52 BST
Issue No. 2218
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