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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 April 2009

London Underground: Set a new strike date

THE RAIL union RMT received a massive democratic mandate from the 41% of members who voted in our recent strike ballot at London Underground. 84% voted for strike action to defend our jobs, pay and conditions at work.

Reg Johnstone

Our bosses found a few minor errors in our voting procedures and went running to the courts, threatening to use vicious anti-working class laws which effectively nullify our right to strike.

London Underground bosses were frightened of the workers' angry determination to defend our conditions, reflected in the huge vote for action. No doubt the Mayor of London and others who fear our power to bring the capital to a standstill are egging them on.

We cannot let our strike be derailed by the courts. RMT activists must work for an even bigger turnout and an even bigger 'yes' vote in the re-ballot.

But once we get that yes vote, we must refuse to back down in the face of injunctions or threats. We must name a 48-hour strike and go ahead regardless. If they threaten to use the courts, we should mount a legal challenge of our own to show workers the undemocratic nature of these laws, with huge demonstrations of trade unionists outside the courts.

Our strike will show our members and other workers that in a recession we will not pay for the capitalist system's failures. We will take action and urge rank and file members of other transport unions to walk off the job as well. If they try to attack our union's assets, we must up the ante and bring all our members out, shutting down the entire train network of Britain.

We do not want to go on strike, all we want is a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies, a 5% pay rise with the proviso that no employee will earn under 26,000 a year and the honouring of agreements including job security.

We want a one-year pay deal. Management put forward a five-year deal, with a 1.5% pay offer plus RPI for the first year, then 0% plus RPI for the next four years, 1,000 redundancies have also been put forward. The real rate of inflation is over 3% and last year we saw spiralling price increases in food, gas, electricity and other basics that hit our pockets.

We will not agree to a hidden pay cut, or to a single job loss. Members have shown willingness to fight to defend their conditions, we must go into battle.

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In The Socialist 15 April 2009:

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Sri Lanka: Stop the war - fight for democratic rights

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Socialist Party election campaign

European elections: Why No2EU?


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London Underground: Set a new strike date

Fury at John Lewis' trickery

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Marxist analysis: history

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Deceptive denigration of Lindsey strike


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