Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/776/17235
On your bike, Serco
RMT members working for Serco, which operates the London bicycle hire scheme ('Boris Bikes') started 48-hour strike action on 12 August.
The action is against the imposition of a 2% pay increase, which is nearly 1% less than RPI inflation, meaning that it is, in reality, a pay cut.
To rub salt into the workers' wounds, the salaries of Serco directors have increased by over 60% in the last seven years.
But this injustice isn't the only reason for the workers voting unanimously for the strike. On top of an imposed pay rise, management have also imposed changes to rosters and hours.
RMT pickets told the Socialist that they have also been the victims of constant bullying, harassment and general disrespect from management.
The bicycle workers feel that the strike is absolutely necessary to stand up to Serco management.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow addressed the strikers along with John Reid, the London Transport regional secretary.
Bob praised the strikers for taking this action. This dispute is the first strike by workers after enduring three years of management attacks. "I want to tell you that you're not on your own.
"I'm bringing the full support of the whole 80,000 members of our union", said Bob Crow.
Socialist Party members and NSSN supporters were at the Serco picket line in Islington at 5am and then got to London Bridge for 8am to support the protest by the 'J33' workers who were 'released' ie sacked by London Underground (LU) when the agency Trainspeople lost its contract earlier this year.
Although 200 jobs were subsequently advertised by LU, 33 of the former Trainspeople workers were denied further employment, despite some of them working on a variety of LU duties for up to five years.
The RMT has backed their jobs campaign with continuous protests, which have been reported in the Socialist.
The sacked J33 workers marched from London Bridge to the Mayor's office down the middle of the road, without police permission.
After a loud protest, they then moved on to visit their striking RMT comrades in Serco to show solidarity.
Both of these struggles are difficult disputes, facing vicious managements, by workers new to the trade union movement. But the RMT has shown that it is prepared to fully represent their members.
The recent victory by the RMT at an employment tribunal by Churchill cleaners on the Tyne and Wear Metro, after a protracted dispute, shows that workers can win victories, even when the odds seem stacked against them.
In The Socialist 14 August 2013:
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