Socialist Worker

Underground workers to strike over jobs, pay and Night Tube

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2487

Striking against Night Tube last year

Striking against Night Tube last year (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Workers on London Underground were set to strike on Tuesday of next week for 24 hours.

Tube workers are fighting to defend a safe service in the face of a management hell bent on imposing their will without negotiation.

Talks continued as Socialist Worker went to press. Bosses had refused to contemplate negotiations until strikes were called.

The dispute involves the RMT, Aslef, TSSA and Unite unions and is over conditions, jobs and pay.

It also includes the introduction of Night Tube, first earmarked to start in September last year.

But united, effective and well-supported walkouts by all four unions last summer forced Tory London mayor Boris Johnson into a humiliating retreat.

Night Tube has been delayed ever since.

Tube worker Glen Hart told Socialist Worker, “When we stand united we can stop the employers imposing things on us—so it’s really good that we’re coming out together again.”

Bosses’ cavalier attitude towards safety is highlighted by a growing number of disputes and incidents on the network recently.

It also shows why workers are right to fight back.

Last week passenger doors opened on a moving train on the Picadilly line.

Union members rightly refused to work until assured that trains were safe. But bosses tried to blame delays on a shortage of drivers.

The RMT’s engineering branch is also balloting members over safe track access following the imposition of a new rule, which the union says plays “fast and loose with our members’ lives to save a few pounds”.

And there has been a concerted effort by Tube bosses to undermine union organisation.

Glen, an RMT rep who has fought tirelessly to oppose Tube bosses’ attacks has been victimised for his trade union activities. He says it is a pattern seen in many industries and must be resisted.

RMT members should vote yes in the strike ballot in Glen’s defence that was to start on Thursday of this week and ends on Thursday 4 February.

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