Socialist Worker

New industrial action set for London Underground

Issue No. 1988

Tube drivers in both the RMT and Aslef unions have voted by six to one for strikes over a range of attacks by management.

The unions have announced two strike dates, Tuesday of next week and Thursday 2 March.

The immediate issues in the dispute are policies on signals passed at danger, health and safety, bargaining arrangements, harassment, discipline, denial of representation rights and imposition of excessive punishments.

A separate ballot for strikes is also taking place among a further 5,000 RMT members on London Underground, involving all non-driver grades. It will close on Thursday of next week.

The new strike calls come after the dispute earlier this year over management imposing job cuts as part of a deal to achieve a 35-hour week for station staff.

The scale of the yes votes in the drivers’ ballots points to the anger felt by tube workers.

“This is not simply about the issues that we balloted over,” says Tony Collins, an RMT safety rep at the Edgware Road depot. “It has been one issue after another.”

“Now there are proposals to change industrial relations procedures in a way that would sideline the unions. It’s absolutely clear where management and London mayor Ken Livingstone want to go.

“The huge hikes in fares show how lots of people are going to priced off the tube. There’s the furore over unsafe stations at night, but management are moving to reduce staff further.

“The union stands for a decent transport system for all Londoners and for defending jobs and conditions. It’s a fight that we have to unite all tube workers behind.”

RMT general secretary Bob Crow says tube bosses “have for too long paid lip-service to the unions over our concerns regarding harassment and bullying of our members by management.

“Both unions will be working in conjunction to win a settlement and the coming days will provide an opportunity for talks before we enter the countdown for strike action.

“After months of trying to stop these attacks it has become clear that the only path left open to us is to ballot our entire Tube membership for industrial action.”


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News
Sat 18 Feb 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1988
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