Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/796/18075
Support the tube workers' strikes
No closure of ticket offices - stop job cuts - no compromise on passenger safety
The battle lines are being drawn ahead of the tube strikes which start on 4 February. It promises to be the most polarised industrial dispute in London for decades.
Tory London Mayor, Boris Johnson, wants to axe 950 tube workers and close all Underground ticket offices (having previously campaigned against closures), regardless of the safety implications and the service provided to the travelling public.
But the unions have come out fighting. RMT and TSSA have voted for action by big majorities. And they have enormous potential power - transport workers can bring London to a halt.
The planned strikes will show the whole country that workers can resist austerity. So we have a duty to support them.
The right-wing, red-baiting press have been trying desperately to find ordinary people prepared to denounce the RMT and the TSSA but without much success.
What they can't understand is that most working class people and even many middle class commuters have been hammered by the Tory cuts, including massive train fare rises, and are glad that someone is prepared to fight back.
The daily rush hour experience of millions who crowd onto the Underground is one of packed city centre trains and stations where there isn't enough staff now.
At Victoria station, for example, commuters are forced to queue in sections to get into the Underground station and then again onto the platforms.
When trains or signals break down, it's management who are rightly blamed, not the workers. After all, it was London Under-ground management's decision to outsource a £350 million contract for the fitting of new signals to Bombardier which, despite pulling out part way through, will still get paid £85 million.
Because of the incompetence of the privateer-loving management, it has now been admitted that £100 million of taxpayers' money has been lost!
The National Shop Stewards Network and the Socialist Party give their full support to the tube workers' fight. We are confident that millions of workers will be firmly behind them as well.
Back in November 2011 the public responded positively to the mass strikes and trade union protests to defend workplace pensions.
It showed that people will support workers and their unions who are prepared to fight back against cuts imposed by the bosses and this government.
But the trade unions can go a step further. This strike is about facing up to yet another tranche of government austerity cuts.
Before Christmas teachers, lecturers, probation workers and civil servants all took action to defend jobs, pay and the essential public services they provide.
We call on all unions, particularly those in dispute, to immediately meet with the RMT and TSSA unions to discuss how industrial action can be coordinated.
The rail transport unions must link up with the bus drivers who also, in effect, work for Transport for London and who, through a solid strike, won a bonus payment for extra work during the 2012 Olympics.
In this strike, perhaps more than any other since this government of the fat cats came to power, it's time to decide: 'Whose side are you on?'
We're clearly on the side of the tube workers. We call on the rest of the trade union movement to make that stand as well and ensure that they don't fight alone.
In The Socialist 29 January 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Stop London Underground cuts
Socialist Party workplace news
The Socialist readers' comments
Fight all cuts!
Socialist Party reports and campaigns