Members of the RMT rail union working for Metronet are being balloted for strike action.
Metronet is responsible for two thirds of the maintenance on the London Underground network. Since taking over after the government brought in the public private partnership, the company has attacked workers’ terms and conditions.
It was also responsible for the farcical sacking of six workers when empty cans of beer were found near where they worked.
The latest dispute is over job losses, outsourcing and pensions. Metronet has plans to transfer all its train maintenance staff out to the firm Bombardier. The RMT believes Metronet has long-term plans to outsource all its staff and become a contracting company.
In addition, Metronet has announced 300 job losses without negotiation, and, having refused to allow new staff to join the London Transport pension scheme, is now refusing to honour an agreement to give the same contributions to the new scheme that it gave to the old.
If Metronet workers are forced to strike this will inevitably compromise the safety of the tube. Drivers will be balloted for action short of a strike. They will refuse to drive trains that haven’t been checked, or drive over track that hasn’t been checked.
King’s Cross, never again
Firefighters and tube workers have come together to call a demonstration against moves to dilute safety regulations on the underground.
The government is proposing to scrap rules brought in to guarantee staffing levels after the 1987 King’s Cross fire, which killed 31 people.
The RMT and other unions moved quickly last year to stop the government scrapping the regulations then, but ministers look set to try again.
Defend fire safety rules
Saturday 26 November, assemble 11.30am, King’s Cross Station, London.
Speakers include Bob Crow (RMT), Keith Norman (Aslef), Matt Wrack (FBU), John McDonnell MP and Mick Connolly (South East region TUC)