TRAIN DRIVERS on the Gatwick Express were set to strike on Christmas Eve and again on New Year's Eve as Socialist Worker went to press. There have already been two strikes by the 60 drivers in the Aslef union over pay.
National Express, which owns the Gatwick franchise, has been able to get some service on previous strike days by getting managers to scab. Doing that over the holiday period will certainly demoralise managers.
However, the surest way to put pressure on the company is to call longer strikes, making it much more difficult to run a scab operation.
London Underground drivers on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines were also due to strike on Christmas Eve in a dispute over a colleague who was sacked for following doctors' orders over how to get fit to return to work after an injury.
London Underground's bullying sickness procedures mean one in three workers are spied on if they are off sick. There has already been one successful one-day strike on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines.
Activists are aiming to build on the general feeling over the issue to get support across the underground for the dispute.
Unions representing workers on the Tyne and Wear Metro called off a strike planned for last Saturday after winning last minute concessions from management. The dispute centred on an agreement by management under last year's pay deal to reduce the working week from 37 to 35 hours.
But the threat of action last week forced Nexus, the private company that runs the Metro, to offer to reduce the working week immediately to 36 hours, with an extra day's holiday and a one-off £100 payment. Workers are now voting on the new offer in a ballot.
Drivers on the Eurostar are to vote on strike action in the new year after management imposed a pay rise of 3.2 percent this year and 0.5 percent above inflation next.