By Raymie Kiernan
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Tube power deal betrays strength of workers’ action

This article is over 7 years, 6 months old
Issue 2412

London Underground (LU) power control room operators (PCROs) have narrowly voted to accept a deal and end their two-week strike.

The strength of the Unite, RMT and TSSA union members’ action, and the threat of escalation forced bosses into some concessions. But it is clear more could be won and many PCROs knew it.

The bosses’ scabbing operation was under pressure and costing them millions. 

One worker told Socialist Worker, “The scabs were getting tired and mistakes were being made. Extending to four weeks would have won it.” There were “mixed emotions” about the deal. 

All workers now have their length of service recognised, and voluntary severance is now on offer for some where previously it wasn’t. “Some guys will benefit from that and are very happy but not everyone,” the PCRO said.

Extra payments for training are now not contingent on cuts but the payment is less than it was.

The PCRO said, “Our aim was to get a new grade with consolidated pay—we didn’t get that. That’s why I voted against the deal.

“But if we hadn’t struck we wouldn’t have won anything at all. The lesson is strikes can force London Underground bosses back.”

PCROs were frustrated the unions couldn’t produce a leaflet explaining their dispute. Their strike found the LU bosses’ operation wanting. 

If action was spread to other operational grades victory could have been swift, giving confidence to every other Tube worker.

More than 1,000 workers at Transport for London (TfL) struck on Thursday of last week against bosses’ plan to freeze wages and cut pensions.

The workers are in the TSSA, RMT and Unite unions. TSSA rep Catherine Poole told Socialist Worker, “We’ve had a good turnout again and this time we had agency workers asking to join our action.”


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