Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/865/21135
Back tube strikes
John Reid, RMT executive member
All four London Underground unions are planning a new shutdown of the tube network on 5-6 August. United action by Aslef, RMT, TSSA and Unite stopped every train and closed every station on 8-9 July. This followed over 50% of members voting - over 90% for strike action.
Station staff are having their agreements ripped up and will have to work anytime, anywhere, any place. This is a result of the decimation of station staff with 850 jobs planned to go. All despite a record number of passengers being carried on our trains.
We are fighting for a fair deal on pay and night tube working, now being introduced.
MP's have accepted a 10% pay increase and the richest thousand people in Britain have seen their obscene levels of wealth double in the last four years. All we are asking for is for our terms and conditions to be protected and for our pay increases to rise with inflation as a minimum.
Management has offered a new 1% 'increase' for the first year, and 1% or RPI inflation (whichever is the higher) for years two and three. In the first year there would be a recurring payment of £500 for all staff, plus £500 one-off payment for all staff, except drivers, who work on lines carrying out night work. For drivers working nights the offer is £2,000.
It's an attempt to buy them off for giving up their hard-won agreements for regular weekends off and rosters that allow a life-work balance.
Under the proposed new agreements staff will work more weekends and more nights. These payments are also divisive - with only one-third of staff being offered the bonus.
Already, assaults on staff are up. So are crime on the tube and sexual assaults on female passengers. Job cuts potentially affect the safe running of the tube too, with all-night engineering hours being cut.
Even if we did sell our agreements for a pot of gold we would be condemning our staff to working practices that would strain every sinew of their body and suck out their lifeblood.
We want a safe, affordable service that is fully staffed, publicly owned, with all outsourced work being brought in-house. We also believe the wages and conditions of our members should be protected. These hard-won conditions should be the norm for workers in all industries and across the public sector.
These attacks are politically inspired by the pro-austerity measures of the government, which wants to cut £4.2 billion from the transport budget. They also want to shackle our unions by making it harder to take strike action. We will resist this on London Underground - we have already built joint action with every union.
We will fight for as long as it takes and take whatever action is necessary to defend our members' terms, conditions and pay. United we are strong, united we can win.
In The Socialist 29 July 2015:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
The Socialist, reader's comment