LEADING RMT activist Glenroy Watson has been downgraded from his job as a tube driver to a station assistant in what the RMT rail union sees as a clear example of victimisation. Glenroy, a driver on the Victoria Line, has been an active union member for 20 years.
He has sat on the Victoria Line health and safety committee and been a branch secretary. He is currently a health and safety rep and holds a position on the TUC race relations committee.
Incredibly, he has been disciplined after he took steps to ensure the safety of a cleaner who had been left on a train after it was 'stabled' at Walthamstow on 21 December 2002. Union activists on the Victoria Line and across London Underground were preparing to launch a major campaign in his defence unless he was reinstated.
They are also fighting another case, concerning Tunvir Singh, which they also see as an attack on the union.
GUARDS ON 12 train operating companies are set to strike for 48 hours next Tuesday and Wednesday, with a further 48-hour strike on 27 and 28 May. The action, called by the RMT union, marks an escalation in the fight to restore the safety role of guards and head off the further introduction of driver-only operation.
'I'm really pleased the union is upping the action,' one guard on Virgin West Coast told Socialist Worker. 'But we shouldn't have to. It would cost nothing to settle this dispute. We are not fighting over pay, but over safety on the railway. Whenever passengers hear the truth, they support us.'
'It's right to stand up to those train companies that are refusing to protect safety,' said another guard from Central Trains. 'Other trade unionists should rally behind us and we need to look at ways to spread this dispute across the rail network. I make no apology for doing that. The government is spending taxpayers' money to bail out the train companies during strikes. We are talking here about the worst companies, as nine companies have settled.'