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Reports round-up: No more delays—the RMT must call more tube strikes

Arguments over the London Underground dispute, and a possible win for health workers after a strike ballot
Issue 2799
Eight pickets in Brixton during the London Underground strike, March 2022

On the picket line in Brixton. south London, during the tube strike in March (Picture: Guy Smallman)

The RMT must call more London Underground strike dates now to save jobs and conditions. Strikes on the 1 and 3 of March cost bosses £13 million in losses—but attacks on pensions are still on the table.

London Underground bosses want to make cuts worth £500 million. This will mean sackings and an increased workload for those who are left.

Strikes did force bosses to delay announcements of further cuts across different functions of the network. They also pushed bosses to claim that pension reforms could be delayed.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the RMT would call more strikes. But he said he would only announce new dates “once we have received the outcome of the pension review on 31 March to fight against any imposition of damaging proposals.” That delay in calling action could have lost a lot of momentum.

Meanwhile workers got an email saying London Underground will go ahead with a local consultation on cuts in four areas—Victoria Centre, Jubilee South, Heathrow and Kings Cross.

There must be no more delays. The union must call strikes as soon as possible—and be ready to follow those up with more.

Possible victory after ballot at Croydon hospital

Cleaners and porters at Croydon hospital in south London appear to have won a significant victory over hated outsourcing firm G4S.

The GMB union members were this week set strike over pay and sick pay after winning a ballot for action. But the walk out was called off after the union won a “massive” 24 percent pay rise, with back pay and an occupational sick pay scheme. Workers accepted the offer.

Union organiser Helen O’Connor, said, “The GMB has long said that every hospital worker should have an occupational sick pay scheme, so workers can afford to take time off work and not come in when sick and present a cross‑infection risk to colleagues and patients. 

“These workers have seen when they come together as a collective and are properly organised they have far more power to change their own lives and those of their families.”

It was unclear as Socialist Worker went to press whether the headline pay offer is part of a multi‑year deal.

Strike ballot after gay writer cancelled

Teachers at John Fisher Catholic school in south London are balloting for strikes following the diocese’s decision to cancel a visit by Simon James Green, a gay author, on World Book Day.

The diocese also sacked several school governors who supported the event. Many workers wanted the author’s event to continue, triggering the diocese to impose an interim executive board.

The Education Commission of Southwark Archdiocese said the event was “potentially offensive to parents, past pupils and wider members of the Catholic community.” It said the planned talk had “brought the school, the Church and all its historic legacy into disrepute”.

NEU members at the school voted by 92 percent on an 87 percent turnout for a strike ballot which closes on the 13 April. They have received a lot of support from parents who launched a campaign to reinstate the governors.

Escalation could be the ticket to victory

TransPennine Express conductors continue to strike for 24 hours each Sunday in a fight over pay and Sunday working. Bosses have so far refused to increase pay for staff coming in on their days off and Sundays.

The RMT union claims there is a large discrepancy in pay levels for conductors and other train crews for doing the same thing. The workers are fighting for enhanced flat payments of £250 for rest day working and £275 for working Sunday—which conductors previously received—are fully restored.

But despite hitting the trains each Sunday the strike hasn’t achieved the results  that the workers are striving for. Escalating action can win.

More strikes at an east London school

Teaching staff at Walthamstow Primary Academy in east London plan new strikes after Easter with five days of action. The workers are fighting for better pay, against workload and bullying.

The school is run by one of the largest academy trusts, United Learning Trust. Workers are adamant on fighting for better working conditions.

NEU reps claim that bosses have only offered them slim negotiation time slots, which end in 30 minutes before making any progress.

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