Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/199/8146
29 March Tube Strike
Solidarity For Tube Safety
AS WE go to press, London Underground (LUL) are attempting to stop the tube strike on 29 March. But rather than negotiate seriously, during earlier negotiations with rail union RMT, they threatened to take legal action against the union for their losses from the strike.
Bill Johnson, RMT member and London Underground worker
Whatever happens with these talks and threats, station staff, drivers and engineers on the tube have already shown their determination to fight for a safe underground system.
During the last strike, the majority of workers refused to back down in the face of a High Court judgement. Management weren't able to do anything about workers taking unofficial action, respecting picket lines and bringing the tube network almost to a standstill.
LUL claim to have settled the dispute with the other rail union, ASLEF but what is on offer would still mean privatisation. The proposed safety committee would not be able to function effectively alongside private firms with their many sub-contractors.
Disasters on the mainline railways, like those at Paddington and Hatfield have shown what happens when safety is sacrificed to big business profits.
Recent reports, including from the Health and Safety Executive, have exposed poor safety on the underground as it is. So any deal which falls short of keeping maintenance in-house with the current staffing levels under present terms and conditions is unacceptable and unsafe.
Indeed, massive public investment is needed immediately to bring the tube up to minimum acceptable safety levels. There is a potential disaster waiting to happen on the Underground, even without privatisation.
The new tube supremo, Kiley plans to cut maintenance jobs, so the best way to show him he can't get away with this is for a solid strike on 29 March.
- Support the tube workers, stop privatisation of the underground.
- No jobs or depots to be transferred to the private sector.
- All routine maintenance to be done in-house.
- One unitary London transport authority under democratic control to co-ordinate investment, safety and the service.
- Cheaper fares. Run the underground as a public service not a business.
- Renationalise all rail companies under democratic workers' control and management as part of a unified country-wide public transport system.
In The Socialist 30 March 2001: