Socialist Worker

Rail workers fight back over outsourcing

Issue No. 1981

The consortium that runs two-thirds of London Underground’s infrastructure has agreed not to outsource current work in the face of a threatened three-day strike.

The RMT union has called off the strike by 1,800 Metronet workers securing concessions over outsourcing, redundancies and pensions.

But the union is continuing to ballot station staff on London Underground over the company reneging on an agreement to introduce a 35-hour week.

“Metronet has agreed that there will be no outsourcing of current work to subcontractors and that there will be no compulsory redundancies of our members,” says RMT general secretary Bob Crow.

“We have agreed on how voluntary redundancies will be handled, and we now have a commitment from the company for the full implementation of the 35-hour week.

“The company has also agreed to set up a commission on new employees and the company’s final salary pension scheme.”

The retreat by Metronet is welcome. But many tube workers fear that the company will seek to outsource new work. That would be a further stage of privatisation under New Labour’s PPP scheme.

And there is a danger it will try to create a two-tier workforce by driving down the pension arrangements for new workers.

London Underground station staff in the RMT could strike on New Year’s Eve if management continue to insist that the introduction of a 35-hour week will come at the expense of hundreds of jobs. Members of the TSSA union have told their leaders that they also want industrial action over the same issue.

Docklands Light Railway ballot

Around 250 RMT union members on the Docklands Light Railway in London are voting on strikes after the company reduced an already insufficient pay offer. The ballot ends on 22 December.

Dispute at GTRM over restructuring

Technical staff working for GTRM rail company are voting on an indicative ballot for industrial action over restructuring of the workforce. No deal should be accepted that does not benefit all technical staff and we must campaign for a strong yes vote to get management to put a serious offer on the table.

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Sat 17 Dec 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1981
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