Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 January 2005

Tube workers win 35-hour week through strike action

RMT rail union members working at London Underground stations have voted overwhelmingly to accept an offer from management to introduce a 35- hour week. This has been an aim of the RMT for several years and London Underground has previously broken promises to introduce it.

Bill Johnston

Currently, station staff work 37.5 hours while train drivers already benefit from a 35-hour week. Under the new deal station staff will actually work for 37.5 hours and 'bank' the surplus 2.5 hours each week. These banked hours will then be rolled into the annual leave entitlement. With bank holidays included this comes to a total of 52 days' leave.

The London Evening Standard, for whom 'Smash the RMT' is a mission statement, has reported that tubeworkers will work 35 hours a week and get 52 days leave on top. While the tabloids have exaggerated the concession given by management, nevertheless, this deal represents a victory for RMT members and a vindication of last June's strike action.

Back then LU management said a 35 hour week could only be funded if unions agreed to massive job cuts on stations. They have backed down on this and have given a written assurance that introducing the shorter working week will not see a net reduction of staff.


However, some strings have been accepted by RMT. The most serious relate to ticket office staffing. While no-one will lose their job or grade as a result of the deal, 200 ticket office positions will be abolished. They will be replaced with new positions across several grades, mainly to provide cover for the extra days off given to all station staff.

RMT will have to be ready to protect individuals who face an unacceptable move as a result of their position being abolished. Potentially an even bigger problem could arise if promotion prospects are cut off as a result of reduced ticket office opportunities.

RMT has also agreed to allow LU to carry out an exercise in assessing future staffing needs across the network of stations. Critically RMT has not agreed to accept the conclusions of this exercise but management may try to use it to justify staff cuts in the future.

The potential implications of some of the productivity strings are serious but RMT has not agreed to accept any overall job cuts and lives to fight another day when management will undoubtedly come back with demands for staff cuts.

Overall the deal is a big step forward for station staff on LU but there are also regrets that more was not achieved, especially when strike action was first planned in May in the run-up to the London mayoral elections but the union's executive called the action off. Nevertheless, successful strike action occurred in June but despite the agreed position of a mass meeting for more strike dates the campaign was then called off for more talks. This has led to calls for more democratic involvement in key decisions over industrial action.

But when public-sector employers are attacking pension rights and demanding a permanent process of "reform" the RMT agreement shows an offensive struggle on wages and hours can still be won with good old-fashioned strike action.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 29 January 2005:

Iraq: Elections won't end crisis

Iraq: 'Elections' can't hide the deepening crisis

Bush's 'coronation': Stoking the fires of opposition

Immigration: Howard's desperate, hypocritical policy

Kilroy's brief encounter (part four)

Pensions - turn anger into action!

Vote Roger Bannister

Civil service pay victory

Tube workers win 35-hour week through strike action

French public-sector workers show their strength

Poverty adds to chaos in Aceh and Sri Lanka

After Zhao's death, where is China heading?

Slovakian trade union confronts Austrian multinational


Home   |   The Socialist 29 January 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Tube workers:

triangleTransport strategy: London's mayor is no visionary

triangleLondon Underground: RMT wins victory

triangleTube workers' strike shuts Piccadilly Line

triangleTube drivers shut down Piccadilly Line over bullying

35-hour week:

triangleHorror of health-wrecking toil for Polish migrants

triangleLong hours ruining health without lifting productivity

triangleMay Day 2014 - Step up the fight for a socialist world!

triangleAnswering the lies of the Con-Dems


triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot


triangleRMT strikes against removal of train guards spreads

triangleGig economy exploiter Uber loses London licence

London underground:

triangleJustice for Tube cleaners demo

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice