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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 January 2010

London Underground: Battle lines are drawn

RMT members on London Underground are justifiably annoyed at the paltry pay award. We were awarded only 1.5%, and at the same time Transport for London (TfL) have increased fares in the capital by record amounts.

Some fares, which affect the poorest sections of society, have gone up by 20% whilst tube Oyster fares in central London have gone up by 12%. Overall bus fares have risen by 12.7% and tube fares by 3.9%.

This is justified by Mayor Boris Johnson with the argument that the 3.2 billion budget deficit has to be plugged. Our bosses will look for further savings by attempting to cut services and jobs. Leaked proposals indicate that up to 144 ticket offices will be closed and up to 1,200 jobs will be axed.

Already scores of jobs around the combine are left vacant, with no intention by management to fill them. Many outlying stations are regularly left unstaffed, which is a health and safety risk for the travelling public - who are already faced with the costliest transport system in Europe.

Our members are faced with a major battle to defend jobs and services. We showed last year that we were willing to take action to defend jobs and we won that battle, despite the efforts of the leaderships of the other rail unions TSSA and Aslef to undermine our strike. Many rank and file members of both unions respected our strike.

We need to prepare to take action again to defend every single job. The money is there to provide a well staffed, cheap and world class tube service for the capital. The government found 100 billion for the banks in 2009 alone.

TfL is in financial crisis because of the vast sums of money wasted on Public Private Partnership schemes.

We will not allow management to dismantle our promotion structures, job security, pensions or safe working conditions.

Unity is strength.

Reg Johnston, RMT

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