Socialist Worker

Strike three! Tube bosses whacked by action

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2227

Tube workers picket Finsbury Park station during the strike (Pic: Terry McGrath)

Tube workers picket Finsbury Park station during the strike (Pic: Terry McGrath)

The capital was brought to a halt again last week as London Underground workers joined the third in a series of 24-hour stoppages.

The strike, which began on 7pm on Tuesday of last week, is part of a fight for jobs and safety.

The action was at least as successful as the previous two. Once again, every line was affected with part and full suspensions and special ­services in place, while scores of stations were closed.

Despite bosses’ claims to be running a service, they were forced to cancel over 50 percent of trains on their special strike timetable, which was already much less than usual.

Around 10,000 members of the RMT and TSSA unions are fighting plans to slash 1,800 jobs across the tube network—which would hit the levels of safety and service.

There was a defiant mood on the picket lines with more workers turning out to picket than previously.

This followed the magnificent solidarity shown by more than 100 tube workers, including those in the drivers’ Aslef union, when they refused to work on safety grounds during the firefighters’ strike.

One picket told Socialist Worker, “We need to support union members everywhere, even if we are in different unions, as it is all part of the same fight.

“I think that every union should get together to strike, like they’ve been doing in France.

“The 7/7 inquest has shown how important tube staff are. We’re the ones that went into the tunnels to help people. Station staff are also important when people fall or throw themselves under a train.

“If they cut these jobs, who’s going to be there when there are major incidents?

“My position is one of those that has been ‘displaced’ so I don’t know if I’ll have a job in February. The managers aren’t telling me anything. So it’s good to see the guys here on the picket line backing me up.”

Another 24-hour strike is set to begin at 7pm on Sunday 28 November, and union members are discussing how to win the dispute.

A number of RMT branches passed a motion calling for the action to be extended to 48‑hours and to be co­ordinated with the firefighters.

While the second plank of this strategy no longer applies, many activists are still arguing for the length of the strikes to be increased.

“With a month’s gap between the strikes there is a danger of losing momentum in the dispute,” said another striker. “The union needs to come up with a positive plan to take it forward.

“There was an announcement that there would be no tube strikes over Christmas last week, without any discussion.

“The overtime ban is having an effect with managers running around trying to plug gaps in the service, but the union needs to push this dispute forward.”

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Article information

Tue 9 Nov 2010, 18:50 GMT
Issue No. 2227
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