Socialist Worker

Mood among tube workers hotting up

by Tony Collins
Issue No. 1867

TUBE DRIVERS in the RMT union at Edgware Road, London, will ballot for strike action over the sacking of a colleague.

Chris Barrett was sacked while recovering from an injury. Managers accused him of deliberately making his injury worse, despite his GP confirming that he was following medical advice.

This is the latest in a series of attacks on workers on the tube. Management is coming down hard at every opportunity.

Morale across the underground has sunk over the last year. Every driver has a story about attacks by managers, designed to undermine unity and make tube workers scared to stand up for themselves.

One driver was disciplined after taking a day off because his uniform shoes caused him so much pain. He was told, 'You put the shoes on despite knowing they would blister your feet. You deliberately injured yourself.'

When another had a 'near miss', managers stopped her wages, claiming she'd made it up.

But in the words of one driver, 'Things are warming up. There is a good feeling that if we stand together we can win this dispute.'

The day after Chris was sacked, 15 drivers caught 'summer colds', severely disrupting the Circle Line.

Other drivers have needed to take toilet breaks at the same time which, tragically, have caused even more disruption.

London Underground directors have had meetings with local managers. They're worried about what we might do next.

No one should say, 'We'll definitely win the ballot.' But if activists work hard, we can turn the feelings of anger into action-and into a defeat for management.

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Article information

Sat 6 Sep 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1867
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