Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/797/18111
Stop the tube cuts: Support the strikes!
As we go to press the RMT and TSSA unions on the London Underground (LU) are preparing for two rounds of 48-hour strike action on 4 and 11 February.
All trade unionists in London and across the country must support this fight against an intransigent employer.
Meaningful talks at Acas proved impossible because LU refused to withdraw from implementing their cuts plan.
The unions were left with no choice but to fight to defend jobs, services and safety on London's transport network.
The response from the Tories and the right-wing media has been predictable. David Cameron blames RMT leader Bob Crow saying: "Bob Crow's strike is plain wrong and Bob Crow should call it off rather than inflict misery on hard-working families in London".
This is not 'Bob Crow's strike'. This is a strike that has been called by the workers on London Underground to stop almost 1,000 job cuts and the closure of all underground ticket offices.
The leaders of the RMT and TSSA need the agreement of their members to call strike action.
Did David Cameron or his underling in London Boris Johnson, consult with the workers or the travelling public about cutting jobs and closing a vital public service? Not a bit of it! In fact when Boris Johnson was seeking election in 2008 he promised to keep ticket offices open and blamed strikes on... ticket office closures!
"London Underground's insistence on closing ticket offices, against the wishes of staff and local people, has caused this dispute. This is why I have proposed to halt the ticket office closures..."
The truth is that it's Cameron, Johnson and their fellow Etonians in government who have been inflicting misery on hard working families for three years.
Up and down the country we have seen working class people fighting back against Con-Dem policies - hospital cuts, job losses, attacks on benefits and the destruction of public services.
The strikes by the RMT and TSSA unions on the Underground are part of that same fightback. These workers have the ability to inflict a real defeat on Cameron and Co.
A victory for the workers on London Underground will be a victory for everyone who has borne the brunt of the Tories' austerity policies for the last three years.
- No job cuts, no ticket office closures, no to increased risk to passengers' and workers' safety.
- Open the books - let workers and passengers see where the government grant and fare revenues are spent.
- Restore the subsidy - London Underground receives a small government subsidy by international comparison.
- In 2012 LU covered 91% of its operating budget with fare revenue - compared to 56% for the New York Subway (2009) and 40% for the Paris Metro (2007).
- No privatisation - all outsourcing should stop and all services be brought back in-house, including cleaning and maintenance.
- LU took on massive debts as a result of the mistaken privatisation of the tube's infrastructure. While LU aims to save £220 million by cutting jobs, pay and conditions on its stations, they happily wasted £500 million on consultants, who all said privatisation would work.
- Cut fares - build a cheap, efficient service - the RMT has exposed the fact that London Underground charges double the fare per kilometre travelled than the next most expensive by international comparison (Tokyo) and more than double the fare charged in New York.
In The Socialist 5 February 2014:
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