Just the threat of strike action meant RMT members beat London Midland bosses, photo RMT

Just the threat of strike action meant RMT members beat London Midland bosses, photo RMT   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

RMT member

Train guards have faced down bosses at London Midland in a dispute over the use of outsourced security guards on trains.

Managers had failed to reach agreement with RMT reps over the introduction of security guards, eventually deciding to introduce them regardless.

Safety and security on trains is a major issue for rail workers. However, these security contractors are poorly trained and non-unionised agency workers. They enjoy none of the hard-won benefits of working for a train operating company such as free travel and a final salary pension.

Casualisation and outsourcing of work was recommended in New Labour’s McNulty report which is the blueprint for the present day attacks on rail jobs and conditions.

This left the union with no choice but to ballot its membership for strike action. In the run up to this management pumped out propaganda in emails and newsletters claiming that safety and security was its number one priority, trying to justify its use of the contractors.

From the day the ballot papers arrived at members’ homes management cancelled all paid release for RMT guard reps – they were playing hardball.

Then on 30 January management suddenly announced that following discussions with staff at the depots they had listened to their concerns and decided to remove all security guards from trains with immediate effect.

This once again proves the value of being prepared to strike in defence of jobs and conditions. In this case the mere threat of action was enough to force the bosses into a u-turn.

This willingness to fight will be vital in the upcoming battle against ‘driver-only operation’ on London Midland.