Socialist Worker

Tube workers’ union: don’t work on London fire strike days if it’s not safe

Issue No. 2224

RMT members working on London’s tube are being advised not to work during the firefighters’ strike in the capital this Saturday if their safety can’t be guaranteed.

In a development that has the potential to shut down the city, every member on the tube has been sent a form to fill in that invokes London Underground’s “Refusal to work on the grounds of Health & Safety” procedure.

The email, signed by RMT general secretary Bob Crow, suggests the firefighters’ strike on Saturday will have “implications” for union members.

And he adds that members can use the form to “invoke… safety procedures in the face of any threat to members’ health and safety”.

On the form, designed for tube workers to fill in and hand it to their manager, it then states: “I am genuinely concerned for the safety of myself and others due to no London Fire Brigade coverage between 10am and 6pm on Saturday, 23-10-10.

“I further believe that by carrying out my normal duties I would be placing both myself and others in serious and/or imminent danger.”

Once a manager gets the form, a procedure then begins to establish whether union health and safety reps agree that “adequate contingency plans” for fires and other emergencies are in place.

Fire bosses’ planned scab force, running 27 fire engines compared to London’s usual 169, clearly does not constitute “adequate” fire cover.

If enough tube workers refuse to work under these unsafe conditions, the Underground network could be shut down in part or in full that day.

Working together in this way to keep London safe, both the tube workers and the firefighters are stronger.

Download the RMT's refusal to work form

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