Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/675/12224
The Socialist 15 June 2011 |
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Tube drivers prepare to strike
Tube strike: RMT strikers picket the London Underground, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
RMT tube drivers on London Underground (LU) will be striking on 19-20, 27-28 June and 30 June - 1 July. This is in defence of victimised tube driver Arwyn Thomas.
Arwyn and fellow driver Eamonn Lynch spoke at the National Shop Stewards Network conference on 11 June. The RMT have won reinstatement for Eamonn but LU management has refused so far to reinstate Arwyn.
Arwyn told the NSSN conference: "I was one of four RMT members who were summarily dismissed during the last RMT/TSSA strike in defence of 800 jobs and the subsequent downgrading of safety.
We've had local strikes in defence of myself and Eamonn Lynch. We had two days of strike action at my depot Morden on the Northern line and two days of strike action on the Bakerloo where Eamonn worked.
My depot was solid and the Bakerloo line was shut down completely for those two days.
On the Bakerloo line we have a minority of drivers, 60% are in Aslef. But the vast majority of Aslef drivers did not cross picket lines. That shows that you can take solidarity action if you are determined enough.
The two strikes were very successful but they weren't going to move management. So the RMT took the brave decision to ballot every train driver on the underground for two people. The vote was 2:1 in favour of striking.
The management signed a deal which meant the re-engagement of Eamonn, which is a terrific victory for the RMT.
Management reneged on the second part of the deal which was my reinstatement. Instead they tried to offer me money but I told them to stuff it."
Eamonn added: "For nine months LU have tried to claim my dismissal was nothing to do with trade union activities. Spending £250,000 of taxpayers' money to victimise two union reps...
We'll go on strike as long as necessary to get Arwyn's job back."