Socialist Worker

Transport workers: ‘We want 48-hour strikes’

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2224

More RMT transport union branches are backing the call to extend the strikes on London Underground in the battle for jobs and safety.

Camden and Finsbury Park branches last week both unanimously supported a motion calling to increase the length of the strikes to 48 hours.

The motion also calls for London Underground unions to coordinate their action with the firefighters. Five of the largest RMT branches on London Underground now back the motion, which is putting pressure on union leaders.

Bosses want to slash 1,600 jobs on the tube. This would have a severe impact on the quality of service and safety.

Two powerful 24-hour strikes by RMT and TSSA union members have shaken bosses. It is encouraging that there is now a mood to step up the action.

On the tube, 24-hour strikes are planned to begin in the evenings of 2 November and 28 November, while firefighters are to strike for eight hours on Saturday and 1 November (see back page).

“Management is upping the stakes by announcing more job losses,” said one tube activist. “The unions have to respond in kind.”

RMT members who maintain trains on the tube last week voted by 88 percent for industrial action short of a strike over cuts.

The vote, on a turnout of over 50 percent, puts further pressure on management.

It comes days after the extension of maintenance schedules on the District Line led to the withdrawal of the entire fleet due to the cracking of key parts.

Ballot

The RMT Bakerloo branch wants a ballot for strike action against a sacking.

Bosses sacked RMT health and safety rep Eamonn Lynch last week.

He made an error while driving after following instructions from the Network Rail signaller and the Bakerloo Line control room. The sacking panel said he should have refused those instructions.

So he was sacked for not refusing to work on the grounds of health and safety, a right that London Underground management threatened to withdraw from workers this year.


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News
Tue 19 Oct 2010, 18:53 BST
Issue No. 2224
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